Damon Lessler

Damon Lessler - Baseball - Ohio State Buckeyes

position Director of Operations/Recruiting & Player Development

With more than a decade of experience working in Division I baseball as a coach, Lessler currently serves as the Buckeyes’ Director of Baseball Operations/Recruiting & Player Development. Lessler, who has had previous coaching stops at Cal, Cal Poly, Southern Miss and other universities, uses his past experiences to serve and assist head coach Bill Mosiello with all aspects of day-to-day operations of the Ohio State program.

Lessler came to Columbus following one season as an assistant coach at Charleston Southern. Lessler was the hitting coach and helped lead the Buccaneers to a .285 team batting average and a berth in the Big South Championship game in 2022.

Prior to his one year in Charleston, Lessler spent three seasons at Cal, serving as the Golden Bears’ infield, catching and base running coach while also getting to work with the program’s hitters. Lessler also served as the third base coach and played a large roll in recruiting players.

During his tenure in Berkeley, Lessler coached 21 MLB Draft selections, including two first round picks in Andrew Vaughn (No. 3 overall, Chicago White Sox) and Korey Lee (No. 32 overall, Houston Astros). Vaughn quickly shot up the ranks for the White Sox appearing in 127 MLB games and racking up 469 plate appearances in 2021 while hitting 15 home runs in just his second year in professional baseball after being drafted out of Cal, and is currently enjoying an everyday roll with the club. In 2018 Vaughn won the prestigious Golden Spikes Award as the country’s top amateur baseball player and was again a finalist for the award in 2019.

In 2019 the Golden Bears earned a trip to the NCAA Fayetteville Regional as the No. 2 seed at Arkansas as a reward for a regular season that saw the Bears finish fourth in the Pac-12 and bolster an RPI of 31 at the conclusion of the regular season. During his time as a coach in Berkely, which included the 2020 season that was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cal racked up a total of 69 victories including two seasons in which the program won 32 regular season games.

Throughout his 13+ years of coaching and helping to develop players, Lessler has coached more than 50 student-athletes that went on to hear their names called in the MLB draft or sign a contract with an MLB organization as a free agent, while others have gone on to play unaffiliated independent professional baseball.

Before coaching at Cal, Lessler served as recruiting coordinator and assistant coach at San Jose State in the Mountain West Conference while also working with hitters, infielders and coaching third base. During his time in San Jose, Lessler was responsible for the No. 54 recruiting class in America by Perfect Game. That class would include Ruben Ibarra, who would eventually be selected in the 4th round of the 2021 MLB draft by the Cincinnati Reds, and several other players who would go on to be drafted by MLB organizations.

Prior to joining the Spartans, Lessler spent the 2016 season as an assistant coach at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in the Big West Conference under Head Coach, Larry Lee where he coached a team that produced more than a handful of future professional players including Houston Astros prospect Alex McKenna, and current major leaguer Spencer Howard, formerly of the Philadelphia Phillies and currently a member of the Texas Rangers.

During the 2015 season Lessler coached at Southern Mississippi where he served as an assistant for head coach Scott Berry’s club that finished with a record of 36-18-1 and narrowly missed out on an NCAA Regional bid. Through various stints at Southern Miss, Lessler has not only coached and assisted with everything from hitting, infield, base running and operations but also served as coordinator of Golden Eagle Baseball Camps for the program. No stranger to Southern Miss, while pursuing his master’s degree and playing independent professional baseball, Lessler had previously served as a graduate assistant for the Human Performance and Recreation Department while coincidingly working with the baseball team under then head coach Corky Palmer and his assistant coaches Lane Burroughs and Scott Berry.

In 2013 and 2014, he served as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Chico State in Northern California and helped the Wildcats achieve a combined record of 80-33. Working again with hitters and infielders, he helped Chico State compile a .977 fielding percentage in 2014, a mark that ranked first in all of NCAA Division II baseball that year and produced the Rawlings National Defensive Player of the Year in Gold Glove recipient, shortstop Cody Slader. Chico State reached the NCAA Division II West Region finals in 2013 and the Division II College World Series in 2014 where they were eventually eliminated by the University of Tampa.

Lessler’s very first full-time coaching stint in Division I took place at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, where he worked as assistant coach for then head coach, John Musachio, assisting with all aspects of the Golden Grizzlies program. During that successful season the Golden Grizzlies fell to then conference foe Oral Roberts in the Summit League Championship playing for an opportunity to advance to an NCAA regional. That team would produce several MLB draft selections including Jake Morton, Hayden Fox and Jake Paulson.

Coach Lessler also served as the Associate Head Coach for the Bellingham Bells of the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League during the summer of 2012 working with coaches Gary Hatch and Jim Clem.

An infielder by trade, Lessler played professionally in the Northern League, the American Association and the Frontier League in addition to playing in five different countries and helping to develop youth programs abroad. Lessler played shortstop at Castro Valley High School and then collegiately at Mesa (Ariz.) Community College, Sonoma State and Mississippi Valley State before heading to Hattiesburg Mississippi in pursuit of his master’s degree at Southern Miss.

Lessler holds several academic degrees including a master’s degree in sports administration from Southern Mississippi and a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Mississippi Valley State where he earned valedictorian honors from the university.