ASSISTANT COACH RYAN BRUST
Ryan Brust is in his third season tutoring Washington State pitchers, having joined the Cougars in the fall of 2002.
The Cougar mound staff showed dramatic improvement after his first season with WSU and if this year's staff produces similar results, look for WSU pitchers to be among the Pacific-10 Conference leaders.
The pitchers Brust inherited in 2003 posted a 7.16 ERA, struck out 301 batters and walked 228. And that was an improvement from the previous year. A year later, in 2004, Brust's squad reduced their ERA to 5.43, jacked up their strikeouts to 394 and lowered the bases on balls to just 167.
In addition, the Brust-coached pitchers showed an improvement of 2.14 runs allowed between the 2003 and the 2004 season.
Brust is no stranger to baseball on the West Coast, having spent five years at the University of Portland, two years at the community college level and four years as a pitcher at the University of Santa Clara.
The Nevada native grew up in Carson City, where he was twice an all-league shortstop. The 1989 Carson High graduate also earned all-league honors in basketball, but baseball was his passion.
In 1989 as a senior he led Carson to the CABA World Series championship and at the conclusion of the series was named the most valuable player.
In the fall of 1989 Brust enrolled at Santa Clara, embarking on a four-year career as a pitcher, rather than middle infielder.
The first year with the Broncos Brust developed into the ace of the team's bullpen. He worked 44 innings in relief and struck out 44 batters.
The next year he became a Bronco starter and for three seasons was a regular on the mound for Santa Clara in the West Coast Conference. The former WCC Pitcher of the Week finished his career ranked among the school leaders in starts and innings pitched.
After graduating from Santa Clara in 1993 with a bachelor's degree in business management, he attended Gonzaga, earning his master's degree in administration of physical education and athletics in 1995.
For two seasons, 1996 and 1997, Brust was the pitching coach for the Community Colleges of Spokane.
He then joined the staff of the Portland Pilots in 1998, spending five seasons with the WCC team. While with the Pilots Brust developed one of the best pitching staffs in the league. His first staff struggled in WCC play and finished last in team ERA at 7.55.
The next year Brust's staff became a force in the league and completed the last-to-first finish by posting a league-leading 5.13 ERA. In league play they were even better, finishing with a 4.17 ERA.
Five WSU pitchers signed professional contracts after the 2004 season, Aaron Trolia, Aaron MacKenzie, Garrett Alwert, Bryce Chamberlin and Brandon Hundt. Both MacKenzie and Alwert earned Pac-10 Conference Player of the Week honors during the 2004 season.
Brian Graham, who was named National Collegiate Pitcher of the Week his senior year at Portland, notched 19 wins during his Pilot career, ranking fourth on the school's list. He also pitched 218.2 innings, the ninth most in team history. Graham's top season was 2000 when he struck out 80 batters to rank third on the Pilot list. Among the stars of the 2002 Bronco team was Steve Chamberlin, who earned first team all-conference honors, was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 14th round, and is the son of former Cougar assistant coach Tom Chamberlin.
Life for Ryan and wife Heather revolves around their WSU positions and Maggie, their three-year old Yellow Labrador Retriever. Another of his stars was Brian Graham, who notched 19 wins during his Portland career to rank fourth on the school's list. He also pitched 218.2 innings, the ninth most in Pilot history. Graham's top season was 2000 when he struck out 80 batters to rank third on the Pilot list. Among the stars of the 2002 Bronco team was Steve Chamberlin, who earned first team all-conference honors and is the son of former Cougar assistant coach Tom Chamberlin.
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