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CBB Interview with Donny Harrel (Seattle U.)

Donny Harrel - Courtesy Seattle U.

Donny Harrel

What was the driving force behind bringing back baseball as a varsity sport at Seattle U.?

Baseball was brought back at SU because our upper campus wanted its once strong sport back in participation. It was actually scheduled to be brought back 3 years from now, but the administration pushed it through and we now have the 4th Division I baseball program in the state of Washington.

Where will you be playing your home games?

We are currently working with the city of Bellevue to create a long term lease to play our home games at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue, Washington.

What will your schedule look like for 2010?

We have a great schedule for 2010. Since we chose to go independent, we were able to pick and choose the teams we will be playing. As of right now, we have Division I opponents UW, WSU, Gonzaga, U. of Portland, U. of the Pacific, Oregon, Oregon State, Dallas Baptist, St. Mary’s, BYU, Nevada-Reno and New Mexico with some scheduling still to go.

Where do you see Seattle U. going with conference membership?

We are currently talking with a couple different conferences, but for them to give us an official invite, we need to show that we can strengthen their conference. With such a emphasis coming with RPI numbers, conferences are being more careful about who they will bring in if they are interested in expanding. Since we have not had any games, conferences are waiting to see how we compete at the D-I level before seeking our membership.

Your top recruit so far is Ricky Holm II out of Everett CC. What can you tell us about him?

Ricky Holm is a strong 2-way player. He does a tremendous job on the mound, especially with his ability to spin a breaking ball against left-handed hitters. He knows how to pitch and is very competitive. At the plate, Ricky has the ability to have some power when going back to an aluminum bat. His athleticism makes him tough and he also does a good job running the bases. He can help us in multiple ways.

You’ve got 19 players who have signed letters of intent, many of them from the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAACC). Where do you think most of these guys would have gone if the Seattle U. program didn’t exist?

Out of our 19 early signs, 10 were community college players from the NWAACC. We competed with schools from outside the area to keep those guys here. Having another Division I option for those guys in the Northwest is a huge benefit to us. We had a board of 25 guys we wanted to sign in the fall and ended up 19-23, with 2 of those guys not signing anywhere yet. We will continue to recruit the NWAACC and try to ink a few more in the spring signing period.

What are the pros and cons of building a program from scratch?

The pros of building our program from scratch is that we can develop our program the exact way we want it. The newness creates opportunity with all of those student-athletes we signed because we have no one coming back. Our support has been tremendous and the excitement around campus and the community just makes you want to be a part of this special time at SU. We have turned our cons into pros. The only cons going into it was that we did not have a conference. A lot of people would think that is negative, but we turned it into a positive be putting together a better schedule than we could have if we were in a conference. Not having a field on campus could have been looked at as a negative, but we feel being able to walk right into a stadium setting like Bannerwood park that is ready to play on, becomes a positive. We also feel we can attract people on the east side of Lake Washington and be the Division 1 team on that side with the Huskies being the westside team. All and all, we are very happy with where we are as a program right now and we still have another 8 months to get things in place before we hold our first practice!

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