Last Updated: April 20, 2015
Fresno State announced Monday that Eric Hubbard has been named the head coach of the Bulldogs' nationally ranked equestrian team.
The hiring will become effective on July 1 and with approval from the California State University Board of Trustees.
"It means a great deal that the administration has entrusted me with this team thus far and now into the future," Hubbard said. "I am very excited for what is on the horizon for this team after having a great season."
Hubbard has been serving as the programs interim head coach since December 2013.
"The program has come a long way in the short amount of time since I have come on board and there are many individuals that have played large roles in those changes," he added. "I want to thank those that have supported me in the interim role has head coach. I have looked to many for guidance through the transition from assistant to now head coach and have appreciated the encouragement that has been shared. It is great to be a Bulldog with so much happening across campus and it shows that Fresno State is truly a great place to be. Fresno State has tremendous support for the sport of equestrian and that will allow this program to get stronger and stronger into the future."
He has led the Bulldog equestrian team to new heights since taking over as interim head coach. Back on March 28 Fresno State won the United Equestrian Conference (UEC) championship. His Bulldogs were ranked as high as No. 5 nationally during the 2014-15 season, which Fresno State capped off last weekend by reaching the quarterfinals at the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) National Championships where it fell to eventual national champion South Carolina.
"Eric has done a great job leading the program for a year and a half in the interim role and before that as an assistant," Fresno State associate athletic director John Kriebs said. "Eric is the one we have identified to continue to lead the program into the future. They are coming off a great conference championship, a great showing at nationals and we look forward his continued leadership of the program and our student-athletes."
Under the tutelage of Hubbard and assistant coaches Kimberly HewsonBudnik and Courtney Cruse, freshman Rachel Williams was named the UEC Horsemanship Rider of the Year while two other Bulldogs won the UEC Rider of the Month Award earlier this year. Williams and Taylor Brown were both named All-Americans this year by the NCEA, Brown repeating as an All-American for the second-straight season under Hubbard's guidance.
Williams also represented Fresno State in the Sun Circuit Horsemanship Invitational back in February.
Hubbard's Bulldogs have registered some big wins while he was interim head coach. In February of 2014 his team defeated No. 2 Baylor and this year defeated three teams ranked in the top 6.
He originally came to Fresno State in January of 2013 as the western coach.
Hubbard has a passion for the horse industry, one which was built in him since he was a little kid. He was born and raised in Idaho living on his family's farm where they raised beef cattle and had a lot of horses. Hubbard grew up on horseback and throughout his schooling years he went up through the 4-H ranks and eventually went into national level horse shows.
"I've been riding since I was a child and I have always had a passion for the horses and for the sport," Hubbard said. "I grew up showing horses and they led me to compete in college with the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association [IHSA]."
Hubbard competed for three years in the IHSA for the College of Southern Idaho (CSI). After graduation he stayed at CSI for two more years working as a coach for the sport that he loves so much. In the spring of 2002 he moved to coach at Sewanne, The University of the South. There he was the associate riding director and an assistant coach for the western team. He worked there from 2003-05 and then moved out to California.
Once in California he started working as a professional horse trainer. He would train the horses as well as amateur and youth riders that were usually attached to all the horses. He worked with each horse and rider two times a week. While being a professional horse trainer, he also received his American Paint Horse Association (APHA) and American Pinto Horse Association (PtHA) judging card in allowing him the right to judge equestrian competitions.
Hubbard has extensive riding and coaching experience, as well as training experience. As a rider in the IHSA in 2001 he led his team to a Western Reserve National Champion in American Quarter Cup (AQHA) while being named National Champion in Open Reining and Open Horsemanship. In 2001 and 2002 he won the All Around competing in both the English and western events. As a professional trainer, he has had World and Reserve Champions along with multiple riders finishing top 10 at the Appaloosa Horse Club(ApHC) and APHA World Show and has had some named.
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