Assistant Men's Baseball Coach: Brian Kitamura
News Release Date:
Friday, August 3, 2012
WALLA WALLA, Wash. — Brian Kitamura, now in his third season as an assistant coach in the Whitman College baseball program, has been building his coaching resume from the moment he graduated from Whitman in the spring of 2010.
That summer, Kitamura served as an assistant coach for the Walla Walla Bears, an under-19 youth team that posted a 22-18 win-loss record and won a pair of tournament championships.
Next, after finishing his first season as a Whitman assistant coach in the spring of 2011, Kitamura became the head coach for the Bears that summer, guiding his crew to a 26-13 record.
The summer of 2012 saw Kitamura and the Bears pile up more victories. They rolled to a gaudy 33-10-1 record, reaching the 30-win plateau for the first time in the program's recent history while winning the High Desert Classic for a second straight year.
In his three summers with the club, the Bears are 81-41-1. A total of 24 players from those teams have continued their careers at the next level.
Kitamura, who majored in psychology at Whitman, was a four-year starter in the outfield for the baseball team.
Sean Kinney, the first-year interim head coach at Whitman, says Kitamura will mentor the Missionary outfielders, coach first base during games, and play a more active role in off-season recruiting.
"Brian has an excellent understanding of the mental side of baseball," Kinney says. "That was clearly evident during his collegiate playing days and just as apparent with his coaching record to date.
"His track record of balancing academics and athletics at Whitman will greatly help our current and future players be successful on and off the field."
Kitamura's best season as a player came during his junior year, when he hit .285 while leading the team in runs scored and bases on ball. He started all but one game that spring and committed just one error in the outfield while handling 101 put-outs and contributing five assists.
Slowed be injury as a senior captain, he started half of Whitman's games that season and still topped the team in walks and on-base percentage (.451).
Kitamura, who registered a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage as a sophomore, committed just four errors in his four seasons.
Kitamura played his prep ball at Mercer Island (Wash.) High School, where as a senior captain he led the Islanders to their first playoff berth in seven years. He earned All-KingCo 3A Honorable Mention recognition as a junior and was named "Mr. Islander" as both a junior and senior.
Playing summer ball for the Honda of Bellevue Baseball Club, Kitamura led his 16-and-under team to the 2004 Northwest C.A.B.A. regional championship, earning all-region honors in the process. He played three seasons for Honda's 18-and-under team, helping that team capture the 2005 District 2 Senior American Legion title.
An a Whitman undergraduate, Kitamura focused his studies on sports pyschology and motivation. Throughout his coaching career, he has helped organize and run tournaments, coached youth teams and run clinics and try-outs. He also has served as a volunteer instructor at baseball camps and clinics in Walla Walla and Mercer Island.
While not on the baseball field, Kitamura works as an academic specialist for Washington State University's GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) at Sager Middle School in nearby College Place, Wash.
— by Dave Holden
Sports Information Director