Mitch Canham named Oregon State head baseball coach

Mitch Canham, an All-America catcher and two-time national champion, has been selected Oregon State's 21st head baseball coach in the 112-year history of the program, Beaver Vice President and Director of Athletics Scott Barnes announced Thursday.  

Canham was the captain for Oregon State's 2006 and 2007 College World Series champions and was a part of the 2005 Beaver club that started the most significant 15-year stretch in program history that has included five Pac-12 Conference titles and 13 postseason appearances.

"What an incredible day and a dream come true," said Canham. "Since stepping on the OSU campus in the summer of 2002, I felt a part of the Beaver family. The baseball program, Corvallis community, athletic department, faculty, donors, and fans have been a huge part in transforming my life and helping me become the man I am today. "I am eager to get back to Oregon State University and do OUR family of Beaver Nation proud. Coach Casey and everyone who has been involved over the years have created such a wonderful and life-changing program, and I look forward to not only continuing in this fine tradition, but helping the program grow even more. I want to thank Scott Barnes, the selection committee, and President Ray for this opportunity to lead the men of Oregon State's baseball program. "I am also forever grateful to the Seattle Mariners and a great mentor in Andy McKay. He and the Mariners  gave me the opportunity to learn while coaching their players."

"Mitch Canham is the type of person and coach who embodies what Oregon State University is about. His character and skill as a coach speaks volumes about why he has been so successful on and off the field in life, college and professional baseball," said Barnes. "Coach Canham has had an exceptionally quick upward trajectory as a baseball leader since his playing days concluded and he returns to OSU with an impressive resume. What stands out most is Coach Canham's commitment to excellence by being an exemplary leader, role model for young men, and his burning desire to continue the success of a program that he put so much energy into as a player.

"In addition, the outpouring of support from former OSU student-athletes and recommendations by high level baseball personnel in the college and professional ranks has been impressive. It reiterates what many of Beaver Nation already know as to the character of Coach Canham. Speaking for all of Beaver Nation, we are thrilled to bring Coach Canham home to Corvallis to lead our baseball program."

Upon making his announcement, Barnes said Canham's appointment is contingent on the completion of all university hiring processes.

Canham returns to OSU serving half a season as the manager of the Arkansas Travelers, the Seattle Mariners' Double-A affiliate in the Texas League. The club clinched a first-half division title on June 9.

A Richland, Wash., native, Canham was named an All-America catcher at OSU in 2007 after batting .326 with 10 home runs and 59 runs batted in. That same season, he was named to the Pac-10 First Team, a year after being selected honorable mention.

Canham played in 183 games during his four-year collegiate career after redshirting in 2004. Over his career, he batted .314 with 31 doubles, eight triples, 25 home runs and 152 RBI. The 152 RBI rank seventh for a career at Oregon State and his 25 home runs are tied for ninth. In his three playing seasons, the Beavers won 46, 50 and 49 games, respectively, claiming the 2005 and 2006 Pac-10 titles. Canham played on teams that went 27-6 (.818) in the postseason.

"Coach Canham is a winner plain and simple," said former OSU head baseball coach and current senior associate athletic director Pat Casey said. "He represents the culture that so many OSU coaches and players have created. He was a tremendous leader as a student-athlete on and off the field and I have no doubt that the future of Oregon State baseball is in great hands."

As a business administration graduate, he excelled off the field while at OSU earning 2007 Academic All-America accolades and three-time membership on the Pac-10 Academic team. The five-time OSU Dean's List member was also a leader on Oregon State's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and was presented the Beavers' Glenn Klein Award for his community service contributions.

Following his senior season, the Pac-10 honored Canham as OSU's male recipient of the 2007 Tom Hansen Award, presented annually to the outstanding senior student-athlete based on exhibition of the greatest combination of performance, and achievement in scholarship, athletics and leadership.

Canham's contributions to local communities have continued during his professional career and include founding and serving as the CEO of BASE By Pros LLC, an organization that provides personalized baseball instruction and mentorship to kids across the country.

Canham was a first-round selection by the San Diego Padres in the 2007 MLB First-Year Player Draft and spent four seasons with the Padres' organization, reaching as high as Triple-A Portland. He also spent time with the Oakland Athletics, St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals and Washington Nationals' organizations before ending his professional playing career with the independent Lincoln Saltdogs in 2015.

Following his playing days, he's has had a successful career as a manager in the Mariners' organization. He led the Clinton Lumberkings (Iowa) to the 2016 Midwest League playoffs and 86 victories before moving to Single-A Modesto (California) for two seasons. The Modesto Nuts won the 2017 California League title and Canham was named the league's Manager of the Year and its community service award recipient.

Canham is the first Oregon State letter winner to later serve as the baseball program's head coach since Gene Tanselli, who played for the program from 1949-51 and coached the team from 1967-72. He joins Jonathan Smith (football) and Scott Rueck (women's basketball) as current OSU graduates who serve as the head coach of a Beaver intercollegiate athletics team.

Canham and his wife, Marlis, have two children, Mack and Mya.

"None of this would be possible without my family. They have traveled all over the country, held me accountable, kept me humble, created endless amounts of joy. They are my biggest source of inspiration. Go Beavs!"

Oregon State athletics

June 13, 2019