In 2019, Alex Kocol completed his first season as head coach by guiding the Vaqueros to a Western State Conference East title. Glendale hosted and won both a CCCAA Regional and Super Regional on the way to making the program’s second ever appearance in California’s Elite 8. In his inaugural season at the helm, Kocol was named the WSC East Coach of the Year. During his nine-year tenure with the program, the Vaqueros have won seven Western State Conference titles—including the first 3-peat in the fifty-year history of the WSC. GCC has competed in eight CCCAA Regionals (hosting seven and winning six), four Super-Regionals (hosting two and winning one), and a Final Four.
In addition to the program’s on-field success, between 2011 and 2018, Glendale has boasted a transfer rate above 85% (101 total)—47 of these student-athletes have continued their education at a Top 200 US News & World Report National University, or Liberal Arts College. The VAQS have produced 49 NCAA DI student-athletes and have had 4 players selected in the MLB Draft (2011-2015), with Ryan Sherriff (2011) making his MLB debut in 2017.
A committed teacher with a proven track record of player development, Kocol has demonstrated an ability to facilitate and maximize both individual and team-level performance throughout his coaching career. In his first season at GCC Kocol helped engineer a historic turnaround: Coming off of a last-place conference finish in 2010, the program began its rise as a perennial Southern California power by capturing the WSCS title in 2011. The VAQS surged through the post-season and were the last Southern California team standing at the State Final 4. The Vaquero offense led California in stolen bases, home runs and walks. Chris Cicuto was named WSCS, Southern California, and ABCA/Rawlings Coach of the Year for 2011. In 2012, the Vaqueros won a consecutive WSCS title, going wire to wire. Glendale hosted and won their second consecutive Regional and came within a game of their second straight State Final 4. The Vaquero offense was first in California in walks while placing second in stolen bases. The 2012 group also finished in the top ten in runs scored, RBIs, and home runs. INF Sergio Plasencia won the ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove Award. 2013 saw Glendale capture a third straight Western State Conference South title. The VAQS again hosted and won a CCCAA Regional at Stengel Field. Their offense finished third in CA in stolen bases. In 2015, despite starting the season 0-7, GCC regained the WSCS crown and advanced in the CCCAA playoffs to host the first Super-Regional in school history. OF Nick Wolyniec was named WSCS Player of the Year and 1st Team ABCA/Rawlings All-American. Glendale led the state in home runs for the second time in five seasons. In 2016, Glendale won back-to-back conference titles for a second time, securing the highest RPI post-season ranking in school history (#2 in Southern California). OF Jared Akins was named WSCS Player of the Year and ABCA/Rawlings All-American. Glendale finished second in the state in stolen bases and fifth in home runs. The 2017 squad fell one game short of securing yet another conference championship 3-peat. However, the VAQS set a school record for winning percentage (.767) and placed in the top 5 in the state in Runs (1st), Hits (3rd), Doubles (1st), RBI (2nd), Total Bases (1st), Steals (2nd), Batting Average (5th), and On-Base % (2nd). Glendale recaptured the Western State Conference crown in 2018 on the way to hosting and winning its sixth CCCAA regional and participating in a fourth Super-Regional in eight seasons. The Vaqs once again led California in stolen bases swiping a conference record 131 bags at an 85% clip. 2019 marked Glendale’s third repeat as WSC champions (in 9 years)—the offense was led by ABCA/Rawlings All-American Trent MacKinney who led California in hitting. Catcher Michael Choi was named WSCE Player of the Year as well as ABCA/Rawlings All-American. The VAQS offense set a historic pace by leading the California in Hits, Home Runs, Extra Base Hits, Total Bases, and Slugging Percentage. Additionally, Glendale ranked in the top 5 in the state in Runs (3rd), RBIs (3rd), Stolen Bases (4th), and Batting Average (3rd).
During the summers of 2013 and 2014, Kocol served as the hitting/3rd base coach for the Chatham Anglers of the Cape Cod League. In his first year on the Cape, Kocol helped lead the Anglers to the President’s Cup Trophy and Eastern Division Title—the team was ranked #1 nationally by Perfect Game during a four week stretch in 2013. That season the Angler’s won their first playoff series in eleven years and recorded modern franchise highs in runs scored, stolen bases and walks. Manager John Schiffner was named CCL Manager of the Year. In 2014, the A’s improved in both runs scored and batting average concluding the most prolific two-year offensive run in the franchise’s storied history. In both season the A’s offense featured a future MLB 1st Round position player (Connor Joe ‘13, Chris Shaw ‘14).
Prior to coaching at Glendale, Kocol spent four seasons (2007-2010) at Harvard-Westlake School, the final three in the capacity of Associate Head Baseball Coach. Kocol was responsible for working with hitters while running the offense and coaching infielders. The HW baseball program had been a combined 1-23 in Mission League play in the two years preceding the arrival of a new staff. His final season at HW (2010) proved to be a watershed for the Harvard-Westlake baseball program as the Wolverines led the competitive Mission League in runs scored on their way to winning two playoff games- falling to eventual CIF Champion Glendora (5-3) in the second game ever played at O’Malley Family Field. In addition to his work with the varsity group, Kocol worked closely in the development of HW’s middle school component and the 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 graduating classes. In 2013, Harvard-Westlake won the CIF-SS DI Title and was named national champions by Baseball America.
During his four-year stint at Harvard-Westlake, Kocol was able to work closely with OF Austin Wilson (Stanford/Seattle Mariners). In 2010, Wilson capped his high school career garnering Baseball America 1st Team, ABCA-Rawlings, AFLAC, and Under Armour All-American honors. Along with Wilson, RHP Lucas Giolito emerged as one of the top amateur talents in the nation and was eventually selected with the 16th overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft.
Prior to coming to HW, Kocol was the head coach at his alma mater University High School in 2006, guiding the Wildcats to a 16-12-1 record and an appearance in the L.A. City Section DI Championship playoffs.
Between 2002 and 2005 Kocol served as an undergrad assistant at UCLA, working closely in day-to-day operations of the baseball program under coaches Gary Adams and John Savage. During that time the Bruins made an NCAA regional appearance (2004) and had over 20 players drafted and/or sign professional contracts. Kocol was an infielder on Glendale College’s 2002 WSCS championship squad coached by Jon Strauss and prepped at University High School in West L.A. He is a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), is certified by the California Interscholastic Federation, and holds a certificate in Coaching Ethics from the Josephson Institute. Kocol became a member of the Glendale College Hall of Fame in 2012.
Kocol earned degrees in Philosophy and Political Science from UCLA along with a Master's in History from CSUN and an M.S. in Physical Education from Azusa Pacific. He currently holds a dual appointment at Glendale College in the Social Sciences division where he teaches courses in the History and Political Science departments. Coach Kocol and his wife Janet reside in Granada Hills with their sons Colin and Owen.