Armstrong (pictured) is in his first year coaching for the Mustangs. Credit: Owen Roberts | Mustang News, 2023

Staying in SLO is a series by Mustang News sports reporter Miles Berman highlighting current Cal Poly coaches that previously played for the Mustangs.

Last July, three Cal Poly Baseball players joined big league clubs after being selected in the 2022 MLB Draft, ending their playing careers under head coach Larry Lee.

Mark Armstrong, meanwhile, had his playing career come to a close differently, graduating with a degree in applied mathematics.

As a senior, Armstrong never started a game at catcher. Nonetheless, he found his role and did his job as a designated hitter for the squad. 

He knocked in 28 runs, stole eight bases and produced 11 doubles as a senior. 

The former catcher noted that near the end of his playing career, he started to see a new side of Lee and a changed perspective on the game. 

“The more I see of [Lee], the more I see the work he puts in,” Armstrong said. “Every practice is planned down to the minute.”

Now, he continues to find and execute in his new role as a graduate assistant for baseball under Lee. 

“Me and the other coaches joke, the game is really easy when you stop playing,” Armstrong said. “Now, as a coach, I think ‘how can I maximize this player’s ability and how can they help us win a game?’”

Off the field, Armstrong is earning a graduate degree in quantitative economics.

“A lot of the methods we are learning about right now is taking data and building models to do predictive analysis,” Armstrong said. “When I am in class I am always thinking about how I can use [what we learn] and apply it to baseball.” 

While a coach, Armstrong is still balancing academics and school work in his master’s program. 

“It’s definitely a lot of work with late nights and the field and making sure I can get my homework done,” Armstrong said. 

Armstrong is a Paso Robles native and his father went to high school with coach Lee in San Luis Obispo. 

“I love it here, I love the community, it’s really fulfilling to go out there,” Armstrong said about representing San Luis Obispo.