FRIDAY, AUGUST 18, 2006
Tim Montez continues to produce Major League talent
Aug. 18, 2006
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville University pitching coach/recruiting coordinator Tim Montez could be considered the "King Midas" of college baseball. Considering his extensive resume and the number of players that have been drafted and eventually gone on to play at the major league level, it's hard to argue that everything he touches turns to gold. Now that number of pupils playing in "The Show" has increased by one as former Fresno State pitcher Matt Garza took the hill for the Minnesota Twins on Aug. 11, 2006.
Garza, who played for Montez at Fresno State, didn't have the magical beginning that everyone would like (2.2 IP, 7 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO), but he might hang around a while after allowing only three runs with five strikeouts in five innings of work on Aug. 17 against Cleveland. While at Fresno State, Garza was the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Pitcher of the Year as a junior after going 6-5 with a 3.07 ERA and 120 strikeouts. He was drafted by the Twins with the 25th overall pick in the first round.
"It was a pleasure to see Matt progress from a 40-something round draft pick out of high school to a first rounder," said Montez. "He worked hard, had a great work ethic and showed great perseverance as he matured over his years at Fresno State. He is a solid individual, a great family man and I look forward to watching him grow as a big-league pitcher."
In 15 seasons as an assistant coach at the Division I level, Montez had seen 28 pitchers sign professional contracts and has coached, recruited or worked with 13 major league players including Russ Ortiz (Baltimore Orioles), Barry Zito (Oakland Athletics), Mike Young and Erasmo Rameriz (Texas Rangers), Adam Kennedy (Anaheim Angels), Cliff Lee (Cleveland Indians), Eric Hinske (Boston Red Sox), and Dan Wright (Chicago White Sox). Montez also served as a pitching coach with Arkansas, Cal State Northridge, UC Santa Barbara and Pepperdine and has coached in the NCAA Regionals six times (Pepperdine -1, UCSB - 1, Arkansas - 3, Jacksonville - 1), including a spot in the Super Regional (Arkansas, 2002).
Montez, who is entering his second year at JU, enjoys making trips to see his former pupils play at the major league level and is in constant contact with each player as their careers continue.
"It's always special to see one of your former players have success, especially when they make it to the major leagues," Montez said. "It's even more gratifying when they keep in touch with you by giving you a call or just dropping you a note. You're not going to get rich coaching college baseball, so seeing your players succeed on and off the field is what it' all about.
"When Matt called to let my wife and I know that he was being called up, we felt pride like it was our own son. We were honored that he wanted to fly us out to see his major-league debut."
In his first season at JU, Montez worked his magic with the Dolphin pitching staff by leading the unit to its lowest team ERA (4.17) since 1995 while also helping the squad to their first Atlantic Sun Conference regular-season title and the program's 11th NCAA Regional appearance. Under his tutelage, sophomore Matt Dobbins (12-2, 3.45 ERA) was named to the College Baseball Foundation and Louisville Slugger All-America team, second team All-Atlantic Region, third team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America, A-Sun "Pitcher of the Year" and was a semifinalist for the Brooks Wallace College Baseball Player of the Year award.