STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — David Esquer had just one place he would go if he were ever to leave his great gig as coach of California: back to Stanford.

Trading the blue and gold he wore for 18 years in Berkeley, Esquer broke in a new red tie for his formal introduction Tuesday on The Farm as the Cardinal’s new coach to replace his own former coach, Mark Marquess, who retired after 41 seasons.

A walkon shortstop at Stanford, Esquer wound up playing the position on the 1987 NCAA championship team “having the greatest experience of my life,” and then later worked as an assistant for Marquess from 1991-96.

“I’ve just been overwhelmed by the amount of response from the Stanford community already,” Esquer said. “A lot of my Stanford brothers who I grew up with here reaching out just pledging their support and just so excited for me and my family, former players and from all eras, from even time before I even played for Stanford. Excitement is probably an understatement to be able to come back home. …

“I plan to retire here. This will be my last stop. I’m willing to give my best to be here as long as my career will take me.”

More college baseball:

Marquess, who captured two national titles and went to the College World Series 15 times, couldn’t be on campus Tuesday while attending to a family matter. Yet Esquer’s former boss at Pepperdine, ex-Waves coach Frank Sanchez, flew up from Los Angeles to show his support for the school’s former top assistant, while former Pepperdine infielder GJ Raymundo drove from Fresno. And Esquer said “it almost brings a tear to my eye to see them here.”

“I’m really happy for him,” Sanchez said. “It was hard for him to leave Stanford to come to…