The College Baseball Blog is continuing the series of interviews this week talking with Penn Head Coach John Cole. He is entering his second season with the Quakers. He comes from Division 3 power Rowan where he was the head coach for seven season including making the tournament in five seasons. His record was an outstanding 229-73. We would like to thank Coach Cole for doing this interview and hope that his Quakers have a great season in the Ivy League.
1) The Penn program is coming off a rough 12-27 overall record and a 7-13 record in the Gehrig Division of the Ivy League. The good part is that you guys return seven starters from the team including Joey Boaen (.349 average in 2006) and Josh Corn (.346 average in 2006). Do you expect any of the newcomers to make a major impact in 2007?
We have an excellent freshman class highlighted by lefthander Jim Birmingham (24th round Washington Nationals). They are an athletic group made up mostly of pitchers and middle infielders. These freshmen will have to mature quickly, as many will see time in the field and a large quantity of our innings on the mound will come from this group.
2) Penn Baseball finished in 2nd place in the Gehrig Division in 2006 behind Princeton. What is a logical expectation for your team and the Ancient eight conference?
Our expectations this year are high; however we know several teams are much more experienced at key positions. The advantage this year is going through the league once gives you a realistic view of what to expect from your team and the other teams in the league.
3) The uniform start date goes into effect next season, How will that affect your team in the future? Also, What are your thoughts on the rule change?
The uniform date will have no effect on our team or on our league. Our league rules prevent us from practicing before February 1st and playing before March 1st. We will hopefully have a little more equality with the good weather teams as far as the number of games played before our spring trip.
4) John, You were named the head coach of Penn on March 30th 2005. What is the biggest challenge you have faced with the move from Division 3 Rowan University to Division 1 Penn?
The biggest challenge in the Ivy League is to accommodate so many different schedules. The time requirements for classes and exams can really compress the day. You really have to be able to adjust and try to accommodate as many variables as possible. The four game weekends also put pressure on a pitching staff. You must be really deep on the mound or you can be in trouble by the end of the weekend.
5) What player or coach have you enjoyed working with the most during your career?
I have enjoyed working with many players and all the coaches that I have come into contact during my career. The passion for the game, a strong work ethic and great people skills seems to be the kind of people I really enjoy working with. I am really looking forward to the beginning of the 2007 season!