Joe Oliveira enters his third season with the Aztecs as the hitting coach/ recruiting coordinator after helping guide the team to Mountain West Championships in each of his first two seasons, including back to back 40-win seasons, and consecutive NCAA Regional appearances. Oliveira leads the recruiting effort, which has seen the 2014 recruiting class ranked 19th in the country by Baseball America and the 2015 recruiting class ranked 17th in the country by Perfect Game.
Along with being the program's recruiting coordinator, Oliveira's responsibilities include working with all the hitters, catchers, outfielders, as well as coach third base during the games. He also assists Coach Martinez with all aspects of the program, including the academic program, which has set new records each of the last two years with a new record number of scholar athletes (22) and new team GPA (3.01) program highs.
Over Oliveira's first two seasons the Aztecs have seen a rise in batting average and fielding percentage each year. There have been 12 Aztecs drafted over the past two years, including seven hitters, none of which had been drafted before. Aztec catchers have thrown out over 50% of base stealers under Oliveira, with each starting catcher the past two years being named to the All-Mountain West Team, as well as being named the Mountain West Tournament MVP (Haynal 2014, Zavala 2015). Each starting catcher the past two seasons were also drafted and gone on to successful starts in their professional careers.
During the 2015 season, his second as a collegiate coach, Oliveira helped guide the team to their third consecutive Mountain West Championship, including 41 wins. The 2015 team also saw five players drafted by Major League teams, three of which being hitters who had never been drafted before (Steven Pallares, Seby Zavala, Ty France).
Oliveira, who focuses on the catchers, helped guide Seby Zavala to his best season as an Aztec in 2015. Zavala hit .290 with 14 home runs, 67 RBI's and threw out 47% of would be base-stealers. Zavala was also named to the All-Mountain West Team after the season, and continued his success into the Mountain West Tournament where he was named tournament MVP. Zavala was then drafted in the 12th round by the Chicago White Sox.
During the 2014 season, his first as a collegiate coach, Oliveira helped guide the team to the Mountain West Conference Championship, including 42 wins and the best win percentage in 30 years of the program. The 2014 team also saw seven players sign professional contracts after the season, four of which being hitters (Greg Allen, Tim Zier, Brad Haynal, Evan Potter) in which Oliveira helped guide to tremendous seasons.
"It's (Joe) Oliveira's second year here, and he came in last year and did a phenomenal job not only on the field, but in the Aztec community and really earned the job," commented Head Coach Mark Martinez. "We put a lot on him recruiting wise, and in a short amount of time he's done a phenomenal job getting us to go out to see some of the best talent in Southern California and beyond."
Oliveira, also the catching coach, mentored Brad Haynal to his best season as an Aztec in 2014. Brad hit .313 with 12 home runs and 50 RBI and threw out 53% of attempted base stealers, leading the conference in that category. Those numbers, along with Haynal's leadership, earned him a spot on the All-Mountain West Team and was named All-Mountain West Tournament MVP. After the season, he was drafted in the 18th round by the Miami Marlins and worked his way up to their Low-A affiliate in his very first season.
Oliveira served as coach at Battle Creek (Mich.) in the Northwoods League during the summer of 2013 where he began the season as an assistant coach and was soon promoted to the head coaching position.
Prior to that coaching stint, Oliveira was a player in the Baltimore Orioles organization, the team that drafted him in the 15th round out of the University of the Pacific in June 2010. During his time as a professional player he competed for Aberdeen in the New York-Penn League, Frederick in the Carolina League and Delmarva in the South Atlantic League.
A four-time letterman at Pacific (2006-10), Oliveira was a three-time all-big West Conference selection who was rated as the ninth-best catcher in the nation by Rivals.com in 2008. He was also named to the 2009 Johnny Bench Award Watch list, an honor presented to the top collegiate catcher in the nation.
As a team captain during his senior season he led the team in walks and stolen bases and had the second-best marks on the squad in triples and home runs. During his final year with the Tigers he batted .332 with eight doubles, three triples, five home runs and 29 runs batted in as he helped the Tigers to a school record for victories in a season.
In addition, Oliveira still ranks among the top 10 on the Pacific career lists in games, at bats, runs, triples, walks and total bases.
The 27-year-old Oliveira earned his bachelor's degree in communications from Pacific in 2009 as well as a master's degree in education, also from Pacific, in 2011.