Longtime Utah baseball coach Bill Kinneberg announces his retirement

He will step away after 18 years at the U. and 37 years as a head coach or assistant overall

(Steve C. Wilson | University of Utah) University of Utah head coach Bill Kinneberg.

The University of Utah is in the market for a new head baseball coach.

After 18 seasons as Utes head coach and 37 overall as either a head coach or assistant, Bill Kinneberg on Monday morning announced his decision to retire once the season concludes this weekend with a three-game series vs. USC at Lindquist Field in Ogden.

Going into his final series this weekend against the Trojans, Kinneberg has won 381 games at Utah and 625 total in his career. He will retire with the Utes having gone to two NCAA Tournaments under his watch, 2009 when they won the Mountain West Tournament and 2016 when the Pac-12 title. That 2016 baseball team remains Utah’s only Pac-12 title in a men’s sport since joining the Power Five conference in 2011.

“There are so many people in my life that I need to thank, starting with (former Utah athletic director) Dr. Chris Hill who believed in me twice, hiring me in 1995 and then again in 2004,” Kinneberg said in a statement. “Also, thank you to (athletic director) Mark Harlan, who has allowed me to coach these last three years under his guidance. To all the assistant coaches for their tireless work and for their loyalty to me and the program, I can’t thank you enough. Thanks to the Utah Baseball fans for their support of me and the student-athletes all of these years.

“But, the group I will always be indebted to and miss the most are all the student-athletes who played for me over the years, going back to UTEP, Wyoming, Arizona State, University of Arizona, and the University of Utah. They have touched my life in so many ways and given me so many thrills that I will never forget.”

After serving as Utah baseball coach in 1996, Kinneberg was the associate head coach at Arizona from 1997-2001. In 2005, Hill hired Kinneberg again.

Kinneberg’s second stint as head coach at Utah included the challenge of transitioning the program from the Mountain West to the Pac-12, and in just the fifth season in the league the Utes broke through to claim the conference title.

“First and foremost, I want to congratulate Bill on a remarkable career,” Harlan said in a statement. “His care for his students has been second to none. I worked with Bill and was fortunate to know him back in the day when we both worked at the University of Arizona, and I am grateful to have worked with him again here at Utah for the last three years. He is a terrific coach but an even better person. I want to thank Bill, Janet and their entire family for all they have done for this program, and wish them all the very best. Utah Baseball and Bill Kinneberg will forever be connected.”

Kinneberg has had 11 of his Utah players chosen in the first 10 rounds of the Major League Baseball Draft, including C.J. Cron, the first Ute drafted in the first round in program history, selected 17th overall in 2011.

Cron, Stephen Fife (third round, 2008) and Tyler Wagner (fourth round, 2012) have all reached the majors. Cron was a two-time first-team All-American (2010, ’11), a Golden Spikes Award semifinalist, the two-time District Player of the Year and a two-time MWC Player of the Year.

Ryan Khoury earned first-team All-America honors in 2006, and was also District Player of the Year and MWC Player of the Year. In 2017, Dallas Carroll was a third-team ABCA All-American.

Kinneberg has coached baseball for 37 years with head coaching stints at UTEP (1985) and Wyoming (1986-92) preceding his head coaching stints at Utah (1996, 2005-21). His teams established school records for victories in a season at UTEP in 1985 and Wyoming in 1990, when he was the WAC Coach of the Year.