Waves open up the season Friday, Feb. 17 as they host Oklahoma at 2 p.m. PT.
A Southern California native with over 20 years of collegiate coaching experience, Jon Strauss is now entering his seventh year as Pepperdine's pitching coach and recruiting coordinator heading into the 2015-16 season. He was named to this position in the summer of 2009.
Strauss coached one of the program's finest staff's a season ago, as the Waves' arms guided the 2014 team to a WCC title and NCAA Super Regional appearance. The Pepperdine staff posted a 2.55 ERA on the year, with three different players putting up sub 2.00 ERA's. Starters Corey Miller and Aaron Brown had 1.90 and 1.95 ERA's respectively, and setup man Chandler Blanchard posted a 1.12 ERA. The team's ERA was good for 10th in the country and tops in the WCC. Pepperdine led the WCC in hits per nine innings (7.69), shutouts (5) and WHIP (1.21).
Closer Eric Karch recorded the third most saves in a season with 16 on the year and Brown was tied for fifth on the single season wins list with a 13-1 record. Brown's efforts earned him WCC Pitcher of the Year honors and Miller and Karch joined him on the All-WCC first team. Miller's 1.90 ERA was the lowest by any Waves pitcher since Noah Lowry in 2001.
The 2014 staff was at its best in the team's magical postseason run, compiling a 2.36 ERA and 7-2 record in nine postseason games. Brown led the way, giving up just one earned run in 23.0 postseason innings on his way to racking up WCC Tournament MVP honors and NCAA Regional honors. Karch contributed five saves in the playoffs to move his way to fourth on the Waves' all-time saves list.
In his first season coaching along the Pacific Coast Highway, Strauss guided one of the finest weekend pitching rotations in all the West Coast Conference. Hurlers Matt Bywater, Cole Cook and Robert Dickmann combined for 19 wins, a 3.12 ERA, 296.2 innings pitched, 13 complete games, seven shutouts and 240 strikeouts; and each of them won at least one WCC Pitcher of the Week Award. Against the WCC, this same rotation started 20 of 21 games with a 2.84 ERA, 158.1 innings pitched, seven complete games, four shutouts and 124 strikeouts. Bywater's four shutouts were tops in the NCAA, and he and Cook finished tied for the conference lead with five complete games.
After losing all three of these players to the 2010 draft, Strauss restocked the weekend rotation the following spring with junior Aaron Gates and a bevy of newcomers including freshmen Scott Frazier and Matt Maurer, and transfer Jon Moscot. Frazier appeared in only four games but made enough of an impact among the conference coaches to be deserving of a spot on the All-WCC Freshman team alongside classmate and middle reliever Corey Miller. Moscot began his Pepperdine career with a 10-strikeout performance vs. Eastern Kentucky and later twirled a five-hit complete game shutout vs. Gonzaga. Maurer, meanwhile, finished second on the team in starts with 12 and had a magnificent March in which he went 3-0 with a save, 23 Ks and a 1.32 ERA spread over seven games (four starts) and 27.1 innings pitched.
In 2012 a Strauss-led Waves pitching staff finished with a 3.66 ERA with 372 strikeouts in 528.2 innings as the team went 36-23 and won the WCC title. The weekend rotation for the Waves featured junior ace Jon Moscot and sophomores Scott Frazier and Corey Miller, all of whom earned WCC Rawlings Pitcher of the Week honors during the season. Moscot finished with a 7-5 record and a team-low 2.90 ERA in 14 starts. He led the team with 95 strikeouts and led the WCC with six complete games. He earned All-WCC honors for the first time in his career. Moscot threw a complete game one hitter against Saint Mary's with 10 strikeouts, after carrying a no hitter through 8.2 innings. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the fourth round of the 2012 MLB First Year Draft. Miller finished with a team-high eight wins, going 8-6 in 16 games started. He had an ERA of 3.38, pitching primarily on Sundays for the Waves. The sophomore earned All-WCC honorable mention for the second straight season. Frazier finished with a 7-5 record and a 3.93 ERA, while the Waves' Tuesday starter, sophomore Matt Maurer went 6-1 with a 3.56 ERA.
Strauss joined the Waves after completing his third coaching stint with the Long Beach State 49ers. He first served as an assistant on Coach Dave Snow's staff from 1995 to 2000. Strauss then returned for the 2006 season before joining them again for the 2008 and 2009 campaigns. During his time at LBSU as a coach, the Dirtbags posted a win-loss record of 313-227, won three Big West titles, advanced to six NCAA Regionals and finished third at the 1998 College World Series behind one of the top hitting teams in school history.
Strauss' 2008 Long Beach State pitching staff posted the second lowest earned-run average in the NCAA at 3.20 en route to a 38-win season and an NCAA Regional appearance. Five of his pitchers were taken in the first five rounds of that year's Major League Baseball draft including Big West Pitcher of the Year Andrew Liebel. Additionally, Strauss' staff led the country with the fewest walks per nine innings (1.93 walks per nine innings). During his years at Long Beach State, sixty-five players signed professional contracts.
During the most recent hiatus from Long Beach, Strauss filled the roles of top assistant, pitching coach, third base coach and recruiting coordinator at San Jose State. The Spartans were 34-26 in 2007 and their recruiting class for 2008 was rated among Collegiate Baseball's annual rankings.
Strauss also served as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Loyola Marymount University for three seasons (2003-2005) where 11 pitchers signed pro contracts. The Lions twice won the West Coast Conference's Divisional Championship (2004 and 2005) and reached the WCC Championship Series in each of those seasons. In 2004, his staff claimed three of the top five ERAs in the conference, including Pitcher of the Year, Steve Kahn, and Jeff Stevens, who made his major league debut with the Chicago Cubs in 2009.
After leaving LBSU in 2000, Strauss was named head coach at Glendale Community College, where he went 66-25 (.725) with a pair of league titles under his belt in 2001 and 2002. In each of those seasons, he was named the Western State Conference Coach of the Year. His 2001 squad broke the school's previous win record of 27 by posting a 32-win season and then proceeded to break that record in 2002 by winning 34 games (current school record). The Glendale CC Vaqueros recorded many great achievements under Strauss' leadership. Twenty-two players moved on to four-year colleges, with 15 competing at the Division I level. Five players went on to play professional baseball, including Washington Nationals' right-hander Marco Estrada (major league debut - 2008). In 2002, the team hosted the first Junior College Playoff Regional in school history. Seventeen players earned All-Conference honors during his two seasons.
Strauss, who caught for the Dirtbags during the team's College World Series runs in 1993 and in 1994, graduated from Long Beach State in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology. Before earning his degree, he spent a year in the Yankees' minor league system (Tampa Yankees) in 1994.
Strauss prepped at Glendale High School, where he was an all-conference catcher in 1990, before starting his collegiate career at College of the Canyons (1991-1992).
Additional coaching achievements include pitching coach for the Chatham A's (now Anglers) in the prestigious Cape Cod League in 1997 and 1998. The 1998 team won the Cape Cod League Championship with a roster that included future Major Leaguers Brian Roberts, Kevin Mench, Mike McDougal and Kyle Snyder.
He and his wife Nikki have two sons, Casey and Braden, and a yellow lab, Cutter. They currently reside in Long Beach.