The College Baseball Blog continues our series of interviews with coaches from around the country today with Holy Cross head coach Greg DiCenzo. He is entering his third season with the Crusaders bringing them to the Patriot League tournament and winning over 20 games in each of the past two seasons. The 20 victories in a season was the first time the Crusaders had reached that plateau in back to back seasons since 1922-1923. DiCenzo came over to Holy Cross after spending five seasons with Northeastern where he served as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator.
1. Holy Cross is coming off a 22-27 last season but went a respectable 11-7 in the Patriot League. The Crusaders return the top seven hitters and three out of four weekend starters. What are you expectations for the 2010 season?
Greg DiCenzo: The theme for our program is one that has not changed since our first day here at Holy Cross. Compete in every game for 9 full innings. Its really that simple. If we can find a way to accomplish that in each game on our schedule…we will achieve everything that we deserve. Again, our ultimate goal is always to put ourselves in a position to win a Patriot League Championship. I am hoping that the aforementioned players can demonstrate their athletic/leadership capabilities while working towards something they are undoubtedly eager for.
2. Matt Perry had one of the best year’s in recent Patriot League play by hitting .423 with seven homers and driving in 37 runs. What makes him such a special player?
GD: Matty is as special a person as he is a player. He works extremely hard on the field and in the classroom…giving his peers/coaches ample reason to respect him so immensely. As a ballplayer, Matt is as even-keeled as they come. In this sport, the best players I have had a chance to coach and interact with, are the ones who play at such a level. You would not know if Matt Perry was batting .423 or .223. He is uniquely able to separate his offensive and defensive games so well, and I look forward to watching him close out an impressive career at the College of the Holy Cross.
3. Have any of your incoming freshmen impressed you during Fall Workouts? Do you see any of them breaking into the starting lineup/rotation this season?
GD: With a bundle of new faces (13) on our roster, the entire program is excited to see what contributions these players will make. Many of them will have immediate impacts, however, the names of those individuals have yet to be determined.
4. The Patriot League is getting some great attention in the NCAA Tourney with Bucknell knocking off Florida State two years ago and Army taking Texas down to the final inning last season. Who do you see being the biggest obstacle to winning a Patriot League title?
GD: What a great couple of years the Patriot League has had in the NCAA Regionals! Both Bucknell and Army deserved everything that came their way these last two seasons, and they demonstrated that they belonged in that tournament. I have said this many times before, however, our only concern is the Crusader baseball team. If we play with the realization that we can compete with every team on our schedule and we expect to win every game that we play, then our coaches and players really don’t concern ourselves with the happenings in the other dugout.
5. Holy Cross plays at Fitton Field which was recently renovated a few years ago by the Worcester Tornadoes. Has there been any discussion with hosting any night games especially towards the end of the season?
GD: Much the same as last season, many of our mid-week games will be played with a 5:00pm start time. Our Saturday home series against Lafayette will also be played under the lights…with the first of two games beginning at 3:00pm.
6. Gabe Ribas and Jeff Kane were added to your coaching staff for the 2010 season. How important are these two men in bringing Holy Cross back to the top of the Patriot League?
GD: Extremely important. The desire for each of these individuals to join our program, single-handedly demonstrates the direction that Holy Cross Baseball is heading. Having played/coached Division 1 baseball at Northwestern University, as well as having recently completed a 5-year minor league career, Coach Gabe Ribas brings a wealth of pitching knowledge to the Cross. Coach Jeff Kane has held head coaching duties in both the prestigious NECBL and at the high school level. A former student-athlete at Clemson University, Coach Kane will work primarily with our infielders and hitters. Coach Kevin Gately returns for his third season with the program. A former four-year starting shortstop at Northeastern University, Kevin will again work with all facets of the program. Needless to say, the opportunity that our players and I have been afforded to work with each of these individuals is one which we all greatly appreciate.
The College Baseball Blog would like to thank Greg DiCenzo for taking some time out of his busy schedule to do this interview with the site. Special thanks to Meredith Cook of Holy Cross Sports Information for helping out with some of the details for the interview. If any other coaches or schools have an interest in doing an interview feel free to shoot me an email by clicking here.