Nate Trosky and Trent Mongero are joined by Damon Lessler for Part 2!
Most recently Lessler coached in the Pac-12 conference at the University of California where he served as the Golden Bears’ infield, catching & base running coach while assisting with the program’s hitters. He was the team’s third base coach & also dealt with player recruitment.
Lessler spent three seasons in Bear Territory during a tenure that was highlighted by steady player development and Cal’s first trip to an NCAA Regional since 2015. The Bears punched their ticket as an at-large bid and the No. 2 seed at the Fayetteville (Ark.) Regional after finishing fourth in the Pac-12 and carrying a No. 31 RPI ranking at the conclusion of the regular season. Cal’s 2019 success continued into the summer when seven Bears were selected in the MLB First-Year Player Draft, including first-round picks Andrew Vaughn (No. 3 overall, White Sox) and Korey Lee (No. 32 overall, Houston). Vaughn and Lee – both of which went undrafted out of high school – became the first duo in school history to be taken in the first round of the same draft. Vaughn, who was the program’s highest-drafted player ever, was also named a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award for the second straight year. Lee became Cal’s second catcher drafted in as many years, a credit to Lessler mentorship.
Lessler additionally guided shortstop Cameron Eden, who batted .365 with a team-leading 73 hits, 20 stolen bases and eight home runs all while making a position change midseason to center field during his junior season. Eden went on to be a sixth round selection by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2019 MLB Draft.
In 2018, Lessler worked closely with Cal’s catchers as the Bears went 32-22 overall and 16-14 in the Pac-12. Cal catcher Tyrus Greene earned All-Pac-12 honors thanks to a season in which he hit .320. Greene committed just three errors, allowed only four passed balls, and went on to be drafted by the Chicago White Sox.
A Bay Area native who hails from nearby Castro Valley, Calif., Lessler spent time as an assistant coach at San Jose State. He served as the Spartans’ recruiting coordinator while also working with infielders, hitters and coaching third base.
Prior to joining the Spartans, Lessler spent the 2016 season as an assistant coach at Cal Poly and worked in the same role at Southern Mississippi in 2015. In 2013 and 2014, he served as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Chico State and helped the Wildcats go a combined 80-33 in two seasons. Working again with infielders, he helped Chico State compile a .977 fielding percentage in 2014, a mark that ranked first in all of Division II baseball that year. Chico State reached the NCAA Division II West Region finals in 2013 and the Division II College World Series in 2014.
A shortstop at Castro Valley High School, Lessler went on to play collegiately at Mesa (Ariz.) Community College, Sonoma State and Mississippi Valley State. He went on to play professionally in the Northern League, the American Association and the Frontier League in addition to playing in five different countries. He transitioned to coaching in 2011.
A 2006 graduate of Mississippi Valley State, Lessler earned his bachelor’s degree in mass communications while also earning valedictorian honors from the university. In 2007, he earned a master’s degree in sports administration from Southern Mississippi, where he also served as a graduate assistant while finishing his playing career.