By Michael Wells
Sports Information Director

LOS ANGELES — Now it's official and the interim tag has been removed.

After leading the Occidental College baseball team to its best season in 30 years, Luke Wetmore was again named the team's head coach, but this time with the idea that he'll be in charge of the storied baseball program indefinitely.

Oxy athletic director Jaime Hoffman gave Wetmore the nod on Thursday, citing Wetmore's on-the-field coaching abilities, and his understanding of the delicate academic and athletic balance at Oxy.

"Luke proved this year that he is not only the right guy for the job between the lines, but that he has thorough knowledge of Occidental as a highly selective and competitive liberal arts institution, academically and athletically," Occidental College athletic director Jaime Hoffman said. "Luke's committed to our goal of recruiting talented student-athletes that will be leaders in the Occidental community and we're committed to him."

Wetmore spent three years as Oxy's hitting coach before taking control of the team last summer following former head coach Jason Hawkin's departure for UC Santa Barbara. During his trial 2012 season, the Tigers went 23-16 overall, and 18-10 in SCIAC play — Oxy baseball's first winning season in 22 years and best winning percentage since the last Oxy team won a SCIAC championship in 1982.

For Wetmore and his staff, the vote of confidence won't mean much change, but they'll continue to work with some peace of mind.

"I couldn't be happier and more excited to go back to work with a great group of young men," Wetmore said. "We had some success this year and we're looking forward to instilling a championship culture on the field, in the classroom and in the community."

Wetmore grew up in Santa Cruz and was a multi-sport standout in football, baseball and wrestling at Santa Cruz High School. Later, he played baseball and football at the Redlands from 2004-08. During his tenure with the Bulldogs, Wetmore won three SCIAC championships, one as a baseball player and two as a football player.

Oxy returns several key players, including three seniors that were named All-SCIAC. Shortstop Logan Allen (Atascadero), first baseman Pedro Aldape (Sherman Oaks) and outfielder Scott Hong (Los Angeles) all return to Oxy's lineup in 2013.