Jose Cruz Jr. named Rice baseball coach

Former Rice star and longtime major leaguer Jose Cruz Jr. has been named head baseball coach of the Owls.

"Jose Cruz Jr. understands as well as anyone the trajectory of Rice baseball over the last three decades," Rice athletic director Joe Karlgaard said in the school's press release. "As a player, he gave us immediate credibility when he chose Rice. He saw the program grow into a perennial powerhouse through his brother playing on the 2003 CWS Championship squad, and he has felt our recent struggles as the parent of two players. He is passionate about leading the charge to bring Rice baseball back to the top of college baseball."

Said Cruz: "It is an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to come home to Rice, a place that has given me and my family so much over the years. Wayne Graham sold me on what Rice could become and he was right. It's up to me and my staff to return Rice baseball to the position we worked so hard to build."

Cruz played for the Owls from 1993-95 , a member of the school's first NCAA postseason team that began a run of 23 straight regionals under Hall of Fame coach Wayne Graham. He was a three-time All-American selection, finishing among the school's career leaders in batting average (.376), home runs (43) and RBIs (203).

He was the No. 3 overall pick in the 1995 draft by Seattle before being dealt to Toronto. He played for nine major league teams, ending his career with the Astros in 2008.

Cruz is in his first season as the Detroit Tigers' assistant hitting coach. His son, Trei, played for the Owls before being selected by the Tigers in the third round of the 2020 draft.

Rice athletics press release

June 9, 2021