Jacobsen follows Glover as Douglas baseball coach
Baseball in Carson Valley and the Jacobsen family just seem to be inexorably tied.
As crazy as it might seem, that’s the way it’s been for as long as anyone can remember.
So it only seemed natural Friday afternoon when Douglas High School announced 1999 graduate Bruce Jacobsen as the new coach of the varsity baseball program. He replaces John Glover (186-93-2), who resigned following an eight-year stint at the helm.
“It’s really pretty crazy, my family can trace their roots in this baseball program all the way back to 1930,” Jacobsen with a laugh. “We’ve had someone in the program every decade since, with the exception of the 1940s when my grandpa (the late State Sen. Lawrence Jacobsen, who lied about his age in order to enlist in the Navy where he was later stationed at Pearl Harbor in 1941), was supposed to be going to school here.”
Indeed, starting with Bruce’s great uncle in the 1930s, the Jacobsen clan has always had someone playing ball at Douglas.
There was uncle Gary Lundergreen in the ’50s, the senior Bruce Jacobsen in the ’60s when baseball first became a state-sanctioned sport at Douglas, uncle Tim Jacobsen in the ’70s, cousin Mike McCreary in the ’80s, Bruce, himself, in the ’90s, and brother Matt and cousin Jeff Peters in the early 2000s.
Just for good measure, cousin Timmy Jacobsen just finished his freshman year at the junior varsity level. The family has also been actively involved in Carson Valley Little League for many years.
Over the years, Douglas baseball has been nothing, if not a family affair. The program’s all-time winningest coach, Hal Wheeler (219-167-2) is Glover’s father-in-law and served as an assistant during Glover’s first few years at the helm. Glover resigned just 33 wins short of overtaking Wheeler for the all-time wins mark.
Jacobsen, 29, always thought he’d just be around to help out with the Douglas baseball program.
Starting at third base for the Tigers between 1997 and 1999 for coach Lars Baker, the idea was in the back of Jacobsen’s head that once he was done with school, he’d come back and be an assistant coach.
“At the time, you start to think nothing is ever going to change,” Jacobsen said. “I thought, I’ll finish up, come back and help Coach Baker out. We had a great relationship and it seemed reasonable to think about.”
But while Jacobsen was away earning every sort of all-conference honor, first at Feather River College and later at Washington State, Baker moved away.
“I really like Baker, but I came back and coach Glover was doing a great job here,” Jacobsen said. “I was just glad to be a part of it. I really though John was going to be around for another 100 years. The thought of being a head coach of this program hadn’t really crossed my mind.”
Glover resigned following the regional playoffs in May in order to spend more time with his family.
Glover’s teams qualified for the playoffs every year during his tenure, won three Sierra League titles, won the first Northern 4A title in 20 years last season and advanced at least to the regional semifinals four times. Douglas qualified for the playoffs all eight years during Glover’s tenure.
“You look at the body of work and definitely, you want to try to build on the great things he was able to do here,” Jacobsen said. “I think we have different styles, he was more vocal than I am, but we came from a very similar baseball background.
“When it comes to the way the game is supposed to be played, the overall approach, John did a tremendous job in all aspects of that. That’s the type of tradition and legacy I can only hope to build on.”
Jacobsen has been getting his feet wet this summer, heading up the Tigers’ summer baseball program.
“It was a bit of an adjustment in the beginning,” he said. “I’d been with John for so long and the kids had been with John for so long. Everyone knew what was going on and what to expect, but it still was a little bit of an adjustment.
“This summer has been a huge benefit for me, just getting to observe the growth of the players and the program and adjust to the new coaching staff. Obviously, the faces were mostly the same, but John was a pretty instrumental piece of the puzzle. To not have that mainstay every day, it took a little time to get used to.”
While no official scorebook is kept during the summer, Jacobsen estimated Douglas’ record at about 25-10. The Tigers also qualified for the Joe DiMaggio World Series for the first time.
Jacobsen first joined the program as an assistant coach in 2006 and he has been working as a coach for the Carson Valley Cougars traveling team as well in the time since.
After his playing career at Douglas, he played two seasons at Feather River, earning All-Golden Valley Conference honors as a sophomore while batting .350 with eight home runs and 50 RBIs. He wrapped up his college career playing for Washington State in the Pac-10 Conference. He earned all-conference academic honors during his senior year, during which he played against current Major Leaguers Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Ryan Garko, Andre Eithier, Jered Weaver, Carlos Quentin and Jed Lowrie.
“That was pretty crazy,” Jacobsen said. “It was exciting getting to play against that level of competition. But for me as a coach, it was really helpful for me to see how things worked at that level too.”
Jacobsen was informed of the hiring shortly after the Tigers won the opening game of the World Series in Reno Friday.
“I got done talking to the kids, grabbed my phone out of my bag and saw there was a message from (Douglas athletic director) Jeff Evans,” he said. “I figured I’d better call him back.”
Evans said Jacobsen’s familiarity both with the area and the program were high points.
“We’re excited for Bruce,” Douglas athletic director Jeff Evans said. “Anytime you can get a varsity assistant who’s been with a successful program for a number of years, it’s a good thing.
“We really liked him. He knows the system and the kids know him. It was a good fit all around.”
Douglas went 15-16 overall last season and finished fourth in the Sierra League.
“I’m really looking forward to this,” Jacobsen said. “We have a great group of kids coming back, we’ve had a great summer season. Hopefully they’ll be able to carry that momentum into next year.”
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