In nine seasons at the University of Oregon, George Horton has resurrected a dormant Ducks’ baseball program and built it into a national power. During his tenure with the Ducks, Horton carries a 320-220-1 record (.592) and has led Oregon to the postseason five times, including four of the last six seasons. Horton, hired in September 2007, is the Ducks’ 12th baseball coach in school history and its first since the program was discontinued following the 1981 season. Overall, Horton has a 1,036-485-2 record (.681) as a head coach and a record of 810-432-2 (.652) in 20 seasons as a Division I head coach.
Under Horton, Oregon made its first modern-era NCAA appearance in just its second season of existence, playing in the NCAA Regionals in 2010. The Ducks topped that effort in 2012, advancing to their first Super Regional and finishing just one win shy of advancing to the College World Series. The successful season by Oregon landed Horton the 2012 Field Turf NCAA Division I Coach of the Year award. UO reached the NCAA Regionals in 2013, 2014 and 2015, winning a school-record 48 games in 2013. From 2012 to 2014, Oregon was just one of eight teams to win 40-plus games in all three seasons. Horton has won at least 40 games in 11 different seasons, including a pair of 50-win seasons. The Ducks came up just shy of the 40-win mark in 2015, but still boasted 38 wins and reached the NCAA tournament after winning 14 of their last 18 games and nine of their last 10 – including a series win over No. 2 UCLA – to earn an at-large bid.
While at Oregon, Horton has coached six players to seven All-America selections (Tyler Anderson - 2011, Ryon Healy - 2013, Jimmie Sherfy – 2013 and 2014, Stephen Nogosek – 2016, David Peterson – 2017 and Kenyon Yovan – 2017), 42 all-conference players, nine collegiate national team players and 44 Major League Baseball draft picks. Pitchers Tyler Anderson, drafted in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft (20th overall) by the Colorado Rockies, and David Peterson, drafted in the first round of the 2017 MLB Draft (20th overall) by the New York Mets, were the highest Duck taken in the new era of Oregon baseball. Additionally, the Ducks have had one second-round pick (Madison Boer - 2011), two third-round picks (Garrett Cleavinger - 2015 and Healy - 2013), two fourth-round picks (Josh Graham - 2015 and Matt Krook - 2016) and three fifth-round picks (Scott McGough - 2011, Jake Reed - 2014 and Cole Irvin - 2016).
Prior to Oregon, Horton spent 11 seasons at the helm of national power Cal State Fullerton and led the Titans to the 2004 National Championship. Overall, Horton posted a record of 490-212-1 (.698) with the Titans, and oversaw six appearances in the College World Series, including back-to-back berths (2003 and 2004, 2006 and 2007). He was named National Coach of the Year by Baseball America in 2003, and garnered the ABCA and Collegiate Baseball National awards following his squad’s title run in 2004. He was also a five-time Big West Conference Coach of the Year. Before taking the reins at CSF, Horton worked for six years as an assistant coach for the Titans under legendary college baseball coach Augie Garrido before succeeding him 1997.
Horton also served six years as the head coach at Cerritos College before joining the Titans’ staff, compiling a junior college record of 226-53 (.810) from 1985-90.
Horton, who is one of 17 men to have appeared in Omaha as a player (1975) and a head coach, has seen 128 players selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Draft over his 20 years as a Division I head coach. Of that number, 23 have ascended to the Major Leagues. The most notable among that group include Chad Cordero (Montreal, 2003), Khris Davis (2013, Milwaukee), Reed Johnson (Toronto, 2003), Mark Kotsay (Chicago White Sox, 2006), Mike Lamb (Texas, 2000), Phil Nevin (Houston, 1995), Aaron Rowand (San Francisco, 2006), Kurt Suzuki (Oakland, 2007) and Justin Turner (Baltimore, 2009).
In 2015, pitcher Scott McGough became the first Duck of the new era of Oregon baseball to reach the Major Leagues when he was called up to the Miami Marlins in late August. Anderson became Horton’s second Ducks’ big leaguer when the Rockies called him up in June 2016, and Healy became the third a month later when the Athletics promoted him. Jimmie Sherfy joined the group in August 2017 when he joined the Diamondbacks.
In addition to the players who have gone on to play at the professional level, Horton has also had 55 former players, including five current Division I head coaches, who have landed coaching jobs at various levels.
Horton has also coached 23 players that have competed for the U.S. National Team. Nine of those have come from Horton’s Oregon teams, with pitcher Kenyon Yovan becoming the latest to don the red, white and blue. Horton earned the USA Baseball Rod Dedeaux Coach of the Year Award after serving as the head coach for the 2016 Collegiate National Team and was a member of the U.S. coaching staff in 2012.
Horton was a player on the Cerritos College teams in 1972 and 1973. As the Falcons’ team captain in 1973, he won the Dallas Moon Award and was a member of the state championship team. Horton played two seasons for Garrido at Cal State Fullerton in 1975 and 1976 and earned All-PCAA honors as both a junior and a senior. He was on the first Fullerton team to go to the College World Series in 1975.
In 1994, Horton was inducted into the California Community College Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He also was inducted into the Downey High School Hall of Fame in May of 2003 and was honored in 2005 with the Orange County Manager of the Year Award, given by the Orange Coast Chapter of the Society for Advancement of Management. In October 2013, Horton was inducted into the Cal State Fullerton Hall of Fame as part of the 1995 team before being inducted in 2017 as an individual.
Horton earned his bachelor’s degree from Cal State Fullerton in 1978 and a master’s from Cal Lutheran in 1980. He and his wife, Francie, have four daughters: Michele, Heather, Loyal and Rebecca, seven granddaughters: Angelica, Alyssa, Kailey, Kendall, Samantha, Calise and Dakoda, and two grandsons: Joseph and Gunner.