SANTA BARBARA - The baseball community was stunned by the death of SBCC pitching coach Tim Haubursin. Haubursin, 58, died on Saturday after a short battle with melanoma.
He was the pitching coach for SBCC the last two years and the pitching coach of the 2018 Santa Barbara Foresters, who won a record seventh National Baseball Congress national championship.
"I was in shock," said Vaquero head coach Jeff Walker. "It's a huge loss for Santa Barbara baseball and the entire baseball community. He'll be sorely missed."
Haubursin had a big impact on a multitude of pitchers.
"His nickname was 'Pitch Doc' and he was very good with mechanics and fixing pitchers," Walker added. "He was well-loved and taught everybody from Little Leaguers to Major Leaguers. He was well-respected in the baseball community and everyone on our team loved him."
Bill Pintard, the Foresters coach since 1995, said he was "very surprised and saddened" by Haubursin's passing.
"The players really liked him and related to him," said Pintard. "He had a natural feel for movement and an astute attention to detail. He was very positive and able to gain the players' trust with his sincerity."
Haubursin, who lived in Thousand Oaks, was the pitching/throwing coordinator for Southwest Performance in Thousand Oaks since 2016 and the recruiting coordinator and pitching/throwing coach for the Arizona Baseball Ranch for the last 5 1/2 years. He previously served as pitching coach at Arizona Christian University (2010-13) and Gateway Community College (2013-15) in Phoenix.
"I was really shocked to hear about Tim's passing and want to express my sincere condolences to his family, friends, colleagues and the players he coached," said SBCC athletic director Rocco Constantino. "Tim was so passionate about pitching instruction and I was impressed with how well he worked with our students. He had such attention to detail when it came to pitching instruction and he did everything he could to help each one of our pitchers become better.
"I know our players enjoyed working with him and I am sure this is hitting them hard. We'll miss him and we appreciate the work he did with our students."
Haubursin worked with former Santa Barbara High and SBCC star Dylan Axelrod, who set SBCC's all-time record for single-season strikeouts with 117 in 2005. Axelrod went on to pitch for UC Irvine and was a Major League pitcher with the Chicago White Sox (2011-13) and Cincinnati Reds (2014-15).
"This one hurts," said Axelrod in a Twitter post. "We lost a Wonderful teacher and gem of a human."
In Haubursin's first season as SBCC's pitching coach in 2019, the Vaqueros won the WSC North title and set an all-time record for team strikeouts with 393, averaging 10.2 per game. Three pitchers had 90 or more strikeouts -- Jack Aldrich (90), Conner Roberts (95) and state Pitcher of the Year Ian Churchill (98). Aldrich got a scholarship to Tulane, Roberts is at UCSB and Churchill is pitching for Arizona.
Clay Aldrich, the father of former Vaquero Jack Aldrich, wrote on Twitter: "Tim Haubursin left us way too soon, but the time he spent with our boys made a lasting impression. Tim's passion for teaching changed the trajectory for so many kids in a positive way. Rest In Peace, my friend."
Pitching consultant Alan Jaeger on Facebook: "A very dear friend, Tim Haubursin passed away Saturday and just wanted to take a moment in honor of Tim to say thank you for always being so selfless, gracious, passionate & authentic. You were a game changer as a coach, but an even better person. You will be missed brother."
(Santa Barbara City College Athletics)