Replacing Mark Marquess at Stanford is the baseball version of taking over for John Wooden as basketball coach. He's going to be compared to a legend no matter what credentials he brings.
David Esquer is the perfect choice to take over in such a situation. Not only does Esquer bring a wealth of knowledge to Stanford, he brings the Cardinal experience with him and a deep understanding of the '9' approach. He also totes a briefcase with him, just like Marquess.
"I am just so happy for this opportunity and so humbled to be following coach Marquess," Esquer said. "It is incredible to think back to when I came to campus as a walk-on shortstop from Salinas, and to know I will be running the same program. As a coach, I have my own voice, but I will continue to bring the energy that coach Marquess brought every day, and maintain the legacy of a program that proved you can achieve the highest standards academically and still sustain excellence on the field."
Esquer's hiring on Friday also comes at a time when players drafted out of high school are making choices between signing or attending college. Esquer takes any uncertainty over the direction of the program out of the equation.
Esquer, who played shortstop on Stanford's national championship team in 1987, has been coaching at Cal for 18 years, developing that program into a contender despite the lack of resources.
"I am ecstatic to welcome Coach Esquer back to The Farm," Stanford Athletic Director Bernard Muir said. "His passion for Stanford University and the Stanford baseball program is undeniable, and his intimate understanding of the unique brand of scholar-athleticism that has been a hallmark of our baseball program for so many years makes him a perfect fit for this role. The future of Stanford baseball is in great hands."
In addition to playing at Stanford, Esquer also served as Marquess' assistant coach for six years before taking over at Cal, where he recorded a 525-467 mark and earned National Coach of the Year recognition in 2011, when he led the Bears to the College World Series even as the threat of the program's demise was hanging over their heads.
Esquer was named 2001 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, produced 13 All-Americans and mentored 81 Major League draft picks, including five first-round selections. Brandon Morrow became the highest draft pick in school history when he was the fifth pick overall by the Seattle Mariners in 2006, and, most recently, right-handed pitcher Daulton Jefferies was drafted in the 2016 first round by the Oakland A's.
A shortstop at Stanford from 1984-87, Esquer was a starter on the Cardinal's 1987 College World Series championship team. He earned all-tournament honors after hitting .350 with six RBI in Omaha. He also earned All-Pac-10 Southern Division honors as a senior, batting .318 with 41 RBI and 16 stolen bases. Esquer went on to play professional baseball for four seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, California Angels and Milwaukee Brewers.
Following his playing career, Esquer spent six seasons as an assistant under Coach Marquess. That included five NCAA Regional appearances and a fifth-place finish at the 1995 College World Series.
In three seasons as the top assistant at Pepperdine, Esquer was the program's chief recruiting coordinator as well as hitting instructor, infield coach and handler of the third base coaching duties.
Esquer was a three-sport star and class valedictorian at Palma High School in Salinas. He was tabbed the "Athlete of the Year" at Palma High School after being named team captain and MVP in baseball, football and basketball.
Esquer earned a bachelor's degree in economics and a master's degree in sociology from Stanford in 1987. He and his wife, Lynn, have a daughter, Gabrielle, and son, Xavier.