Assistant Coach- Hitting/Infielders
Cal-State Dominguez Hills '86
Steve Kling is in his 11th season as part of Andy Lopez's coaching staff and his seventh as an assistant coach for the Florida program. Kling's primary responsibilities include serving as the hitting coach, assisting with the recruiting efforts, working with the infielders and coaching third base.
Kling's influence as hitting coach for the Gators has made an impact on the Florida record books as Kling tutored student-athletes have broken 11 individual school offensive marks while resetting 22 team season marks under his direction. In addition, 12 career offensive records, including the all-time hit and home run marks, have fallen during his tenure at Florida as the assault on the UF record books have seen many records set and reset over the past four seasons.
Over his six-year tenure, Florida has averaged a .314 batting average, 83 home runs and 446 RBI per season compared to a .284 batting average, 57 home runs and 341 RBI over the previous five seasons.
In 2000, Florida exploded offensively as the Gators broke the UF single season record for hits (783) and 10 batters hit over .300 on the season. Tim Olson broke UF's consecutive game hit streak with a 29 gamer and Kurt Keene finished with 103 hits to break the individual school record.
Kling product Mark Ellis completed his record-breaking career in 1999 as Florida's all-time hit leader, the third player to reset the UF career hit mark over the last three seasons. Ellis finished his career with five school records and ranked among the UF top-five in five additional offensive categories.
The 1998 edition of Gator baseball was one of the most explosive in school history. In addition to posting the highest team batting average in the 84-year history of the program (.332) by 11 points, the Gators belted a school-record 159 doubles, 132 home runs while knocking in 545 runs.
In 1997, the Gators tied or broke 23 individual and team game, season and career marks highlighted by the all-time career hit mark broken by David Eckstein. Other individual season records to fall included the mark for home runs (Brad Wilkerson, 23) and RBI (Wilkerson , 76). As a team, the Gators reset 13 team season records and each of the top four hitters in the UF lineup hit .350 or better.
The 1996 Florida squad also made its mark in the record books in breaking 22 offensive records, including eight team seasonal marks, seven single-game records and seven individual season records. Kling's star pupils, including Eckstein, Wilkerson and Chuck Hazzard, combined for 297 hits, the most of any single-season threesome in school history. Add in then-freshman Ellis, who had 72 hits and hit .351, the top four spots in the UF lineup had 369 hits and posted a .364 batting average. Individually, Eckstein broke the school record for single season hits with 102, the seventh-best total in Southeastern Conference history. Wilkerson became UF's first .400 hitter in more than 10 years and led the conference in hitting, just the third freshman in accomplish the feat.
Kling's first year at Florida in 1995 produced an improved batting average as the club flirted above .300 most of the year and finished at .292. Eckstein reached base safely in a then school-record 47 games, while Hazzard posted the top batting average among SEC frosh and was named Freshman All-America by Collegiate Baseball in the process. Overall, four hitters were named to the All-SEC squad.
Prior to Florida, Kling was part of Lopez's staff at Pepperdine as an assistant coach for four seasons. During Kling's tenure (1991-94) with the Waves, Pepperdine won the national championship in 1992, advanced to the NCAA Tournament three times and captured three West Coast conference titles.
While at Pepperdine, Kling added to his coaching resume in various coaching positions in collegiate summer programs. He first served as the head coach for the Red Oak (Iowa) squad that is a member of the collegiate Jayhawk League in the summer of 1991. In the summer of 1992, he served as an assistant in the Cape Cod League with the Brewster Whitecaps.
In the summer of 1993, Kling ventured to Chicago and hooked up with former Cal-St. Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) teammate Craig Grebeck as a batting practice pitcher for the American League West champion White Sox.
Prior to Pepperdine, Kling was an assistant coach at Porterville Community College for two seasons (1989-90). During the summer of 1989, he also served as a player-manager for the Kindersley Royals Baseball Club, a team in the Saskatchewan Major Baseball League of Canada. The following summer, he served an assistant coach for the Red Oak Red Sox, the same team he later managed. Later that same summer, Kling served as a player-manager for the Morinville Pioneers of Canada, a team which advanced to the National Baseball Congress World Series in Kansas.
Kling began his coaching career as the varsity baseball coach for five seasons at Torrance High (1984-88) and directed them to an overall record of 76-46-1 (.622). Torrance High captured the Bay League championship in both 1984 and 1986 and Kling was named the South Bay "Coach-of-the-Year" in 1986.
During Kling's stint at Torrance High, he also served as a volunteer assistant coach for three seasons at CSUDH, a program which was being directed by Lopez at that time. Kling also spent three summers working with the Torrance American Legion team.
A 1981 graduate of Porterville High in the San Joaquin Valley in California, Kling graduated from Porterville Community College in 1983 and earned a bachelor's degree in physical education from Cal-State Dominguez Hills in 1986.
Kling, 37, enjoys fishing and playing golf. He is married to the former Diana Stojanovic and they reside in Gainesville. They had their first child on Feb. 21, 2000- Joseph Tyler (J.T.) Kling.
THE KLING FILE
Birthdate: March 11, 1963.
Education: Bachelor's in physical education, Cal-St. Dominguez Hills, 1986; Porterville Community College, 1983; Porterville High School, 1981.
Playing Career: Cal. St-Dominguez Hills, 1983-84; Porterville Community College, 1981-83; Porterville High School, 1979-81.
Coaching Career: Assistant Coach, University of Florida, 1995-Present; Assistant Coach, Pepperdine University, 1991-94; Assistant Coach, Porterville Community College, 1989-90; Head Coach, Torrance High School, 1984-88.
Coaching Highlights: Named to the Pepperdine Hall of Fame in December, 1999 as part of Pepperdine's 1992 National Championship squad; Coach on seven NCAA Tournament squads and three College World Series participants; 1996 Collegiate Baseball Assistant Coach of the Year; Assistant coach for Florida squad that advanced to College World Series and earned a third-place national finish in 1996; Assistant coach for Pepperdine squad that won 1992 national championship; ASouth Bay@ Coach of the Year, 1986.