Fred Jordan of the Citadel was kind enough to answer some few questions about the upcoming season. The College Baseball Blog would like to thanks Coach Jordan and Melanie Long of the Citadel Media Relations department for taking the time to set up the interview. Coach Jordan is coming off a 34-27 season where they finished as the runner-ups in the Southern Conference Tournament.
1) The Citadel lost some key players up the middle. Do you have any players that have stepped up to take their places?
Freshmen Kyle Jordan and Bryan Altman will play at shortstop and second base. Junior Chris Swauger could move over to center from left field in some situations along with Chance Smith and Graham Couch. Conrad Kellahan, who got some starts at second last year, and freshman Matt Simonelli will provide some offensive depth in the middle infield.
2) The Citadel is returning two of the three weekend starters this season. You have two sophomores in Matt Crim and Wes Wrenn who were able to be solid starters in the Southern Conference last year. After reading the season preview, it is expected that Justin Smith will fill the third starter role on the weekend. Who do you think will be able to replace Smith in the bullpen?
Freshman Matt Reifsnider will work as our top set-up guy and is the number four starter. Brett Bull, Timmy Martin and Chris Boyce are our right-handed set-up guys, while Jamie Maxwell, Chris McGuiness and Nick Sprowls are our left-handers. Freshman Raymond Copenhaver is our sidearm specialist.
3) The uniform start date goes into effect next season, how will that affect your team in the future? Do you see your school hosting any more tournaments? Also, what are your thoughts on the rule change?
The new start date will affect every team the same. Everyone is going to have to play more Tuesday/Wednesday combos than in years past. We are still planning on hosting two tournaments in the beginning of the season as we have done for the last 12 years. The rule is hopefully going to improve college baseball as a whole, so if that is the case then I am in agreement with the decision even though we play in a warm-weather climate.
4) What team in the Southern Conference will provide the biggest challenge for the Bulldogs this season?
Western Carolina, Elon and the College of Charleston all have outstanding teams. Georgia Southern and Furman have plenty of depth in certain areas. The SoCon is by far the strongest it has been in my 15 year tenure. This could be the first year that we place three teams in post-season play.
5) Your son is an incoming freshman this season. What is the toughest challenge in coaching your son at the collegiate level?
The toughest challenge is not being overcritical of Kyle. We have established that our assistant coaches will handle the majority of the coaching.
6) What player or coach have you enjoyed working with the most during your long career?
I established a tremendous relationship with Jack Stallings at Georgia Southern at the end of his career and the beginning of mine. I still draw from his wealth of knowledge in many instances. I can’t pick one player that I have enjoyed working with the most. All players become part of my family so they are all very special to me.
7) What is the greatest challenge you face coaching at one of the top military institutes in the country?
The greatest challenge is educating the parents and student-athletes during the recruiting process of how beneficial a Citadel career and degree can be for their future. Development within the program is a key element to success in college baseball, but recruiting is the lifeline for your success.
We would like to thank Coach Jordan for taking the time to do this interview and hope him so good luck in this season and his career.