17 Rex Peters
Few coaches have enjoyed a more auspicious start to a career than Rex Peters has at UC Davis. In 2003, he guided the Aggies to a 36-24 season and their first NCAA Div. II postseason berth since 1995. UC Davis swept through the West Region tournament - highlighted by back-to-back shutout victories - and advanced to the national tournament for only the second time in school history. For his part, Peters was honored as the ABCA/Diamond Sports West Region Coach of the Year.
Then the following year - as if in defiance to baseball's notorious sophomore jinx - Peters struck again. The Aggies finished with a 37-15-1 record, including a 32-7 ledger in the program's final year with the California Collegiate Athletic Association. Although no longer eligible for postseason play as part of its transition to Division I status, UC Davis finished atop the conference standings by better than a seven-game margin. Along the way, the Aggies enjoyed school-record streaks of 16 straight victories and 20 consecutive conference wins.
In 2008, the university's first year as an official Division I member, Peters guided the program to a 35-24 record and a berth in the NCAA Regional at Stanford. The season featured three different series sweeps, three victories against region rival Stanford, and resulted in a school-record seven players selected in Major League Baseball's first-year player draft.
Peters arrived at the UC Davis program after spending the previous nine seasons as head coach at Chapman University in Southern California, where he compiled a 248-131-2 overall record. He led the Panthers to three appearances in the NCAA Division III College World Series, including a third-place finish in 2000. Peters, the winningest coach in Chapman history - both in terms of wins and percentage - led the Panthers to the NCAA West Regional five times and three times was named West Region Coach of the Year. Additionally, he coached six All-Americans, two Academic All-Americans, nine Academic All-District players and 29 All-Region selections.
Combining his Chapman credits with his 178-158-1 mark at UC Davis, Peters now owns a career win-loss record of 425-289-3 (.595). He posted his 400th career victory on March 15 in the Aggies' doubleheader sweep against Santa Clara.
Prior to his head coaching duties, Peters served one season as the Panthers' assistant coach under Gary Henderson. Peters had spent the previous four years playing in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization after being drafted by the club in the 24th round of the 1989 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. While in the Dodgers system, Peters advanced as high as Double-A San Antonio before beginning his coaching career. In 1989, his first season in professional baseball, he was named the MVP for the Salem Dodgers.
Peters graduated from Cal State Fullerton in 1989 with his bachelor's in physical education. He was an honorable mention All-American for the Titans, helping lead them to a third-place finish at the 1988 NCAA Division I College World Series. He earned his master's degree in education, with an emphasis in physical education, from Azusa Pacific University in 1994.