Troy Percival has resigned as UC Riverside baseball coach, the school announced on Wednesday. Percival, a longtime Angels relief pitcher, said he is leaving to spend more time with his family and to guide and support his son Cole, a pitcher who recently signed a minor-league contract with the Dodgers as an undrafted free agent.
“I’ve decided to watch Cole play as he begins his professional journey with the Dodgers,” Percival said in a statement released by UCR. “Our family is incredibly excited about this next step in his career and I want to be there to support him. This is the right time for me to step down from my current position.”
UCR was 111-177 in five seasons under Percival, who was a high school coach at Riverside Poly and Moreno Valley high schools before taking over at UCR in 2014. The Highlanders won at least 20 games three times under Percival, but they never had a winning season. They were 9-7 last spring before the 2020 season was halted because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Cole Percival, 21, had a 3.19 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 14 starts as a UCR freshman in 2018, but an elbow injury that eventually led to him receiving a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection sidelined him for the 2019 season. The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder made four starts (24 innings, 3.38 ERA) as a redshirt sophomore in 2020 before the pandemic ended the season in March.
Troy Percival attended and played for UCR from 1987 to 1990. A sixth-round draft pick of the Angels, he spent four years in the minor leagues, where he was converted from a catcher to a relief pitcher. He made his major-league debut in 1995 and the four-time All-Star went on to save 358 games in 703 appearances over 14 seasons with the Angels, Detroit Tigers, St. Louis Cardinals and Tampa Bay Rays. Percival spent 10 of his major-league seasons with the Angels and still holds the franchise record for saves (316).
UCR Athletics Director Tamica Smith Jones thanked Percival for his time leading the program.
“Troy has been an integral part of what we are building with UC Riverside Athletics and has elevated our baseball program,” Jones said in a statement. “We are happy for Troy and excited for Cole and wishing the entire Percival family all the best.”
Associate head coach Justin Johnson has been named the Highlanders’ interim head coach.
“Justin is a strong leader who has done an outstanding job recruiting our student-athletes and building our program over the past several years,” Troy Percival added. “He has recruited the majority of our current student-athletes and our players have a great relationship with him. They trust Justin and I am excited to see him continue to build the program.”
Johnson is eager for the opportunity to take over.
“I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to coach this team and lead our program into the future,” Johnson said. “I would like to thank Troy Percival for all he has done for my career as a leader, mentor and friend. I am ready to step into this role and lead our student-athletes.”