“After an extensive nationwide search, I am delighted to welcome Jake to the Wolf Pack family,” said Rempe. “He’s an elite coach, a student of the game and has an incredible ability to connect with athletes. Jake knows how to develop players and coaches, and his experience as a highly successful two-institution head coach makes him the perfect coach to continue down the Nevada baseball program path. I am excited to welcome Jake back to northern Nevada and the community of Reno.”
McKinley is taking on a Nevada program that went 29-26 and finished second in the Mountain West standings in 2022, a season after the team achieved its first NCAA Regional since 2000.
He has served as the Brewers’ vice president of player development since 2021, having previously served as the organization’s director of player development initiatives (2019-21) and minor league pitching coordinator (2018-19).
“I am so honored to be the next head baseball coach in Nevada. The program offers a unique blend of location, academics, strong track and field heritage and great facilities,” said McKinley. “I am confident that we will carry on the legacy of past programs and continually grow Wolf Pack Baseball into a nationally competitive program that thrives on the field, in the classroom and in the Reno community.”
Before joining the Brewers organization, McKinley spent 13 years on the collegiate ranks, including five seasons as a head coach (2014-17 at Menlo College; 2018 with William Jessup). At Menlo College, McKinley won 131 games in his four seasons at the helm, making him the most successful head coach of all time. The following season, he inherited a team from William Jessup that had won just 10 games the previous year and led it to a 41-17 campaign that marked the biggest single-season turnaround in college baseball history at the time .
Student-athletes during McKinley’s tenure at Menlo College received honors in multiple categories, including 2017 GSAC Player of the Year (Jordan Getzelman) and Pitcher of the Year (Jason Alexander). Other honors include 12 All-Conference honorees, six NAIA All-Americans, four NAIA Academic All-Americans, six Scholar-Athletes, and two Capital One Academic All-District selections.
Four of his Menlo players were drafted in Major League Baseball and McKinley was named 2016 MLB Scouts Northern California College Coach of the Year. Of those four draftees, two were voted into the top-10 rounds, most notably Lucas Erceg, who was voted 46th by the Brewers. One player from his 2018 William Jessup team was selected in the draft, while another signed with the Brewers as a free agent.
In four years as head coach, McKinley watched 13 former players play pro baseball after being called up or signed as free agents.
Prior to Menlo College, McKinley spent four years (2010-13) as an assistant coach at Sacramento State, where he served as director of baseball operations, volunteer assistant coach, and recruitment coordinator, guiding the Hornets to a 67-55 record in its finals helped two seasons.
McKinley began his coaching career as an assistant with the Bruins after graduating from Bethany University (Santa Cruz, California). A year later he left his alma mater and went to Campbellsville University (Ky.) from 2007 to 2009, where he worked as an assistant coach. At Campbellsville, he played a key role in leading the team to a 39-12 record and a trip to the 2009 NAIA World Series. McKinley returned to West Valley College in 2009 for two years, where he served as a pitching coach.
McKinley graduated from Bethany College in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts in Voice Communications and earned a Master of Arts in Social Sciences from Campbellsville in 2008.
A Bethany player, he was a standout pitcher and first baseman, setting multiple records throughout his career, including most strikeouts in a career, most strikeouts in a single season, lowest single-season ERA, and most innings pitched both were pitched in a season as well as in a career.