Titan baseball is a family affair for the Vanderhooks.
While coach Rick Vanderhook was managing the team in the dugout Monday at TD Ameritrade Park, his daughters, Noelle and Autumn, were busy pumping up the faithful in the stands leading chants of “Let’s Go Titans, Let’s Go Titans.”
“I love being here in Omaha and supporting the team,” Noelle, 20, said between rooting for her favorite baseball team.
Along with their mother, April, they helped paint faces with F logos and were never shy about disagreeing with the umpire’s strike calls.
The daughters have been to the College World Series more times than they can remember. It’s a birthright.
Coach Vanderhook is making his first trip to Omaha as a fourth-year head coach, having already won three titles with the Titans, his first as a player in 1984 and two others as an assistant under Augie Garrido in 1995 and George Horton in 2004.
The story has been told many times, but Vanderhook met his future wife, April, in 1994 while an assistant coach when the team was in Omaha for the series.
They hit it off, got married and over the years have shared their love of Titan baseball with their daughters.
“I love it,” April Vanderhook said. “We grew up with it [Titan baseball] and being here again is unbelievable.”
Autumn Vanderhook, 17, echoes what many have said this week: This is a team that wasn’t expected to be here in Omaha and yet, they made it and are playing tough.
“It’s Omaha. I’m really glad to be back. “This is a whole new team with a fresh beginning.”
Noelle is a student at San Diego State, but her sister, Autumn, plans on staying closer to home. She has been accepted for the fall semester at Cal State Fullerton and plans to earn a degree in political science.
How does she feel about that?
“I’m going to be a Titan,” she said. “I’m very happy.”
CSUF Alum Glad Titans Are Back
CSUF alum Gayle O’Grady may live in Omaha, but her heart is in Fullerton.
The Class of ’89 biological science grad moved to Omaha with her husband, Ron, who is a Cal State Long Beach grad, which makes for an interesting rivalry. But they both agree on how they feel about having Titan baseball back in Omaha.
“I’ve been waiting for six years for them to be back here,” Gayle O’Grady said as she waved a Tuffy hand puppet in the air and showed off her 2004 national championship jersey.
“Can you guess where I was at in 2004?” she asked.
Assistant Director of Media Relations/Social Media Michael Mahi is with the team in Omaha writing about CSUF’s College World Series experience via social media and the university’s news site. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Storify and Instagram.