The College Baseball Blog recently had the opportunity to talk with Jordan Wyckoff who completed his second season with the Franklin and Marshall College Diplomats. He just finished his summer coaching in the Alaskan Baseball League where he served as an assistant coach for the Mat-Su Miners.
1. You have completed your second season with Franklin and Marshall after a stellar pitching career with Dickinson College. How have you found the transition from being a two year captain to coaching players? Do you think that this has helped you or hindered your coaching abilities?
Being a two-year captain definitely prepared me for the role of being a coach. In both positions you are expected to provide leadership and feedback to players. It was an honor to be selected by my teammates as a junior to serve as captain. I know that I gained valuable experience in those two seasons that prepared me for the challenges of coaching.
2. What is the biggest challenge in recruiting at such an academically acclaimed school?
Recruiting at a high-academic school is a very challenging task. You may scout a game and really like a lot of players who may not be anywhere near eligible for admissions. That is why showcases that are geared towards academic students are so important on our recruiting calendar. To attend one event and see close to two hundred players with the academic requirements to get into a school is a lot easier than seeing those players individually. Another challenge is that coaches really do not have much pull on being able to get players admitted. If the admissions office does not want to admit a recruit, it is very difficult to change.
3. What is your best advice to a student-athlete to play at the D-3 level? Showcases or Travel teams?
I think doing both is important. Students should select a few showcases to attend where they know that schools they are interested in will be represented. I think some kids try and attend every showcase around when they would be better off doing their homework and finding out where they will get the exposure to schools that are important to them. I believe that travel teams are important because nothing can subsitite for seeing a player in a game situation. Travel team coaches can also serve as references and can give a college coach a report on how a player did over the course of an entire summer.
4. The Centennial Conference gained national recognition when Johns Hopkins made the NCAA Division 3 National Championship game where they knocked off Trinity to break up the undefeated season. JHU ended up losing the rematch to finish as a runner up. Do you think this will help the recruiting in the Centennial Conference and at Franklin and Marshall?
I believe that Johns Hopkins success does give creditability to the strength of baseball that is being played in the Centennial Conference. Players are always going to be interested in those programs that are perennially successful. The buzz that has been generated around the Hopkins’ program has a trickle effect that the rest of the conference benefits from.
5. What player or coach have you enjoyed working with the most?
Coach Bill Walkenbach who just took the job as the head coach at Cornell University was the first head coach that I ever worked for and I can say with conviction that he is the coach who I have enjoyed working with the most. I can not imagine a better situation. He was very open with allowing me to get experience in all aspects of running the program and showed great patience as I learned the ropes of college coaching. Most importantly, he was a quality individual with a great sense of humor, who made going into work an enjoyable experience.
6. Final question, who has been your biggest influence on your coaching philosophy or career?
I believe that I have learned something for every coach that I have played or worked for and that my coaching philosophy is constantly evolving. Coach Wrenn at Dickinson mentored me and helped me break into college coaching. Coach Walkenbach gave me my first job and was a tremendous influence on my philosophies, especially with the mental side of the game. Working instructional camps has allowed me to learn from some of the most respected coaches in the game. I have benefited from being able to learn from experienced coaches like John Cole and John Yurkow at Penn, Jon Shehan at Millersville, Matt Midkiff at Swarthmore, and Bubba Dorman of USC-Salkehatchie. I also have learned a lot from reading articles and books. I have found that Ed Cheff of Lewis -Clark State has been one of the biggest influences on my philosophy from that standpoint.
Thanks to CBB Senior Writer NYDore for helping out by setting up the interview with Jordan. We hope that we can provide more insights with head coaches and assistants during the off-season. Once fall ball is over we will be doing interviews with Division 1 head coaches and maybe even have a weekly article by an assistant or even a player.