It wasn’t just the baseball skills that convinced Westmont coach Robert Ruiz to recruit Coby Cress to the Montecito campus three years ago.
Ruiz saw great leadership skills in the transfer from Arizona State; he saw Cress as the type of player who could help him change the culture of the Westmont baseball program.
“He’s been a huge contributor since he’s been here,” said Ruiz at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon “He’s been a three-year captain; beyond that, probably the most notable thing is his leadership.”
The senior captain helped the Warriors reach the postseason for the first time in 15 years.
“Coby was my first recruit three years ago and I was pumping him on the leadership I thought he was going to bring to this program,” Ruiz said. “At the time, I didn’t know how much influence he would have on what we’re attempting to do here.”
Cress also made a big impact in the classroom. He graduated on Saturday with a 3.95 grade point average in economics.
Cress on Monday was honored as the SBART’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year from Westmont.
His academic honors include CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-American, NAIA Scholar Athlete, two-time GSAC Scholar Athlete, two-time Westmont Golden Eagle Award winner, outstanding senior in business and economics, Landmark Global Scholarship recipient.
“He’s been phenomenal student, baseball player and a great leader. We’re going to miss him and his accomplishments,” said Ruiz.
He added, “It’s bittersweet because we feel bad to lose a guy like this, but he’s left his mark. There’s a legacy in our program that what Westmont represents is different today than it was three years ago when we got here.”