Rice completed a three-game sweep of FIU with an 8-1 win on Sunday
Clay Van Hook is in his fourth year with the Owls' coaching staff.
Van Hook served as Rice's volunteer assistant coach during his first year with the program in 2012. He was promoted by Wayne Graham to a full-time position prior to the start of the 2013 season and has since added
recruiting and coaching at third base on game days to his growing list of duties.
One thing that has not changed is that Van Hook will continue to work with the Owls as hitters, fielders and base-runners. Last season Rice led Conference USA and was among 13th in the nation in hits, averaging 10.2 per game. His daily work helping the hitters sharpen their overall skills was a reason the Owls were able to lead the conference and finish 17th in the nation in sacrifice bunts.
Sure, Rice had the league's most hits, RBI, and a composite .293 batting average, but a high 212 walks with the fifth-lowest strikeout total reveals 1) Rice hitters are coached well, and 2) grow to trust their own improved discipline at the plate. On the defensive side, Van Hook's fielders finished 14th in the nation in fielding percentage (.977) while turning 48 double-plays on the year.
In 2014 Van Hook's corner infielders, Sklyer Ewing and Shane Hoelscher had a big role in helping the Owls take home another conference championship. After a pair of sensational seasons that included third-team All-America honors for Hoelscher and a sixth-round MLB draft selection for Ewing, both have since has begun their respective pro careers.
It was the same in 2013 with Van Hook's closely-tutored pupil Christian Stringer. The Owl second baseman went on to be named the MVP of the C-USA Tournament while earning a high draft spot by the Chicago White Sox. There's definitely pattern to the successful results of Van Hook's coaching skills.
A native of Brenham, Tex., Clay played one season at Navarro College before becoming a three-year letterman at the University of Texas (2005-07). He earned second team all-Big 12 and was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the major league draft. Van Hook earned his degree at Texas in 2008 while serving one season as a student-coach with the Longhorns.
Van Hook and his wife, Selina, live in Pearland, Texas. The couple have a daughter, Avery Michel, born on December 30, 2012.