The College Baseball Blog continues our series of interviews with coaches around the nation today with Kentucky head coach Gary Henderson. He is entering his second season as the head coach and seventh season at Kentucky. Last season, he led the Wildcats to a 28-26 overall record while going 12-18 in SEC play to miss out on the conference tournament.
1. Kentucky finished last season with a 28-26 overall record while going 12-18 in the SEC. What are your expectations for the 2010 season?
“We are extremely excited to get 2010 started. We return two weekend starters (James Paxton and Alex Meyer) and seven starting position players. Our pitching staff will be deeper and our bullpen more experienced than last year’s club. The biggest challenge early in the year will be to solidify a third weekend starter, find a closer and develop roles in the bullpen. Our offense will have a nice balance of left and right-handed hitters, speed and power. Our kids are really looking forward to this year. They like each other, they got better over the summer, and they showed a real commitment to compete through the fall. Our group has Championship goals and a lot to prove.”
2. The Wildcats return two out of the top three pitchers from last years team including James Paxton and Alex Meyer. Who do you see stepping into the third spot in the weekend rotation?
“It is really wide open. With James and Alex, we feel like we have one of the best 1-2 starters in college baseball. We have a group of talented arms who will be competing to secure that third starter role.”
3. Marcus Nidiffer is the leader of the Wildcats both on the field and off of it. What makes him such a strong leader?
“Marcus is a great leader. As a fifth-year senior catcher, he brings a maturity level to the game that is important. He is extremely intelligent, has a great feel for people and is an excellent communicator. Marcus is a great teammate and a player others can look to for leadership.”
“We had a great recruiting class that ranked among the NCAA’s best and we are excited to get them involved in the season. Taylor Rogers, Jordan Cooper, Luke Maile and Sam Kidd will all be given the opportunity to contribute early in their careers at UK.”
5. LSU won the CWS and the SEC titles last season. Which team(s) do you see competing for the conference title this season?
“LSU will once again be tough. However, as with every year in the SEC, we will have several outstanding teams. It will be a matter of who stays healthy, which teams play sound defense and which teams get hot late.”
6. Chris Bisson had an outstanding summer in the Cape Cod Baseball League with an eye opening 36 stolen bases for Cotuit. How do you decide on where to send players in the summer?
“We do our best to send players to the highest level we can where they will be competitive and you know that the summer teams organization runs class programs and will take care of our players.”
The College Baseball Blog would like to thank Coach Henderson for taking some time out of his busy schedule to take part in the interview. Special thanks to Kentucky Baseball SID Brent Ingram for setting up the interview and sending us the photos. If you would like to be featured in an upcoming interview feel free to e-mail us by clicking here.