Aug. 24, 2012
MANHATTAN, Kan. – A veteran coach at both the Division I and community-college ranks, Blake Kangas has joined the Kansas State baseball staff, head coach Brad Hill announced today.
Kangas has been the hitting coach at Feather River College in Quincy, Calif., for the past four seasons, directing the Golden Eagle offense to top offensive rankings in the state of California each season. He replaces former Wildcat catcher and coach Rob Vaughn, who was hired earlier this month by former K-State associate head coach John Szefc to be the hitting coach and recruiting coordinator at Maryland.
“I am pleased to announce the addition of Blake Kangas to our staff,” head coach Brad Hill said. “He has experience at the Division I level as both a coach and player, as well as coaching at the community-college level. He was the hitting coach at Feather River and assisted with all phases of the offense, which resembles the style of offense we run at Kansas State. He will bring enthusiasm to our program, and I anticipate him working well with Coach Clement in directing a high-pressure offense.”
A former player at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Kangas helped Feather River achieve a 136-27 record and coached eight First Team All-America selections, while he coached or recruited 10 conference pitcher, player or defensive players of the year.
“I am happy to join the coaching staff at K-State and look forward to working with a great group of players,” Kangas said. “It’s our goal to bring K-State baseball back to the upper echelon of the Big 12 Conference.”
Kangas, 29, guided Feather River to the top batting average in the state of California each of the last three seasons, including a .335 mark in 2012, while his offense led the state in both hits and runs scored each season. Additionally, he tutored six players that were drafted during his four-year tenure, including four in 2011.
Prior to his stint at Feather River, Kangas was on the staff at his alma mater, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, for three seasons. During the 2008 season, he helped the Panthers finish fourth in the country in doubles, while two players placed in the top 10 nationally in that department. Milwaukee also finished 16th nationally in hits and led the Horizon Conference in runs, hits, doubles, RBI and walks.
Kangas also has experience coaching collegiate summer baseball as he was an assistant coach for the Herndon Braves in the Cal Ripken Senior Collegiate Baseball League in 2008. The next summer, Kangas helped guide the Bourne Braves to a championship season in the prestigious Cape Cod League.
An all-conference player at Madison (Wis.) Area Technical College, Kangas hit .313 with 10 home runs and 70 RBI over two seasons before transferring to Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He was a two-year letterwinner for the Panthers, hitting .304 during his senior season with two homers and 14 RBI while also seeing time on the mound.
A native of Rochester, Minn., Kangas comes from a baseball background as his father, Keith, was a pitcher at Iowa State from 1975-78, while he was the National High School Coach of the Year in 2003 and has won multiple American Legion World Series and Minnesota High School State Championship titles. Also, his brother, Alex, was a standout hockey player at the University of Minnesota and was drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers in the fifth round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
Kangas completed his bachelor’s degree in middle childhood through early adolescence education in 2008 at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and he is currently working on his master’s degree in coaching and athletic administration.
The Blake Kangas File
Collegiate Coaching Experience
2009-12: Feather River College, Assistant Coach
2008: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Assistant Coach
2006-07: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Volunteer Assistant Coach
College: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Bachelor’s degree in Middle Childhood through Early Adolescence Education)