Donnie Marbut, former head baseball coach at Washington State University, assumes duties today as President of the West Coast League, the premier summer collegiate baseball league West of the Mississippi.
Marbut, a native of the Pacific Northwest, is the league’s fifth president.
“The league is thrilled to introduce Donnie as its new leader,” said Owner/General Manager Mark Nonis of the Kelowna Falcons, a founding member of the West Coast League and 2015 WCL runner-up. “We are confident he will guide our established league to new heights.”
Following his time at WSU, Marbut has worked with the Pac-12 Networks and in scouting with the Houston Astros. This weekend, Marbut will be working for the Pac-12 Networks in broadcasting a pivotal series between University of Washington and Oregon State University.
“After making the decision to work in professional baseball with the Astros and in college baseball with the Pac-12 Networks, the thought of assuming a leadership position with the West Coast League as its President was intriguing to me,” said Marbut. “The position is a natural fit and a role where I can further develop as a professional, help better the league and make a positive impact in the game.”
“I am honored to be the president of the WCL and think my current responsibilities will all mesh nicely both for me and the groups I’m serving. For me, leading this group is an absolute privilege. I can’t wait to get started and to help our teams, partners and communities become the best they can be.”
Marbut was born and raised in Aberdeen, Wash. After excelling at three sports at Aberdeen High School, he attended Edmonds Community College for two years before transferring to Portland State. He starred in baseball at both schools and played under legendary coaches Randy Whistler (ECC) and Dave Dangler (PSU). While with the Vikings, he also had the good fortune of playing with current Chicago Cubs scouting director Matt Dorey, and of being roommates with Dorey and present Miami Marlins NW area scout Gabe Sandy, two of baseball’s finest prospect evaluators.
Molded by two extraordinary baseball people while in college, Marbut first entered the coaching ranks at Capital High School in Olympia, Washington in 1998, where he led his team to the 3A state championship. He then moved to the college ranks as an assistant at Bellevue Community College before moving on to skipper his alma mater – Edmonds CC – for four seasons where he compiled a 152-38 record and was also the school’s athletic director.
He continued his rapid ascension in the college coaching ranks as an assistant coach at Washington State in 2004. The following year, he became the youngest head coach in the then-Pac-10 at 29 years old. He went on to coach at WSU for 11 years where he posted a 314-304 record, reached two NCAA Regionals and dramatically improved Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores.
A longtime advocate of summer collegiate baseball, Marbut placed almost all his players in the top summer college leagues across the country.
“Being connected with summer collegiate baseball in some way, shape or form since 1994, I believe I bring a perspective to the league that might be fresh and different from what they’ve experienced in the past,” Marbut said. “As a head coach at the college level for the last 15 years, I always felt a great responsibility to make sure my players were competing in the summer.
“Summer baseball is about many things – like great experiences and making friends – but I think development is at the top of that list. The West Coast League and its teams have always been about that, so to be able to work with them and to help the league progress and work towards reaching its goals is an exciting proposition.”
Marbut has long admired the stature and growth of the WCL and is determined to better the league, from increasing attendance to further developing student-athletes, from growing revenues to enriching the league’s communities.
President Marbut replaces interim President Holly Jones, the league’s Vice President and Corvallis Knights Senior VP of Operations, who filled the President’s role during the WCL’s Presidential search. Marbut succeeds former President Dennis Koho, former mayor of Keizer, Ore., who guided the league from 2013-2015. Before Koho, longtime Major League Baseball broadcaster Ken Wilson led the WCL from 2009-2013, during which time the league grew from seven teams to 12. Wilson followed in the footsteps of former affiliated WCL Presidents Tony Larson (Bellingham), the league’s inaugural leader, and Dan Segel (Corvallis), who guided the start-up circuit from its establishment in 2005 through its 2008 season.
ABOUT THE WEST COAST LEAGUE
The West Coast League is the premier summer collegiate baseball league west of the Mississippi. The 12-year-old, 11-team, professionally operated wood-bat league located in the beautiful Pacific Northwest features pro prospects from major conferences across the nation and an unparalleled history out west of great fan and player experiences in addition to the best summer weather in North America. In 2015, 59 players with WCL experience were selected in the MLB June draft, and more than 200 WCL alums appeared in affiliated professional baseball including 25 in the major leagues, such as home-run leader Chris Davis (Baltimore), NL Rookie of the Year runner-up Matt Duffy (San Francisco) and rising star pitchers Matt Andriese (Tampa Bay) and James Paxton (Seattle). Overall member attendance exceeded 400,000 in 2015. The 2016 54-game campaign opens Friday, June 3.