College Baseball Daily continues our series of interviews with coaches from across the country today with UNLV head coach Tim Chambers. He is entering his first season in charge of the Rebels baseball program after spending the last 11 seasons at the College of Southern Nevada accumulating a 52-16 record last season while bringing the school to the NJCAA College World Series twice.
As you enter your first season in Division 1, what is the biggest difference between coaching at this level and the NJCAA level? Also, what will be your biggest challenge to this new position?
TC: The biggest difference to me is the amount of practice time alloted , recruiting nationally instead of regionally, many more rules with the NCAA and the fact that we have not seen or competed against our competition.
CBD: This season the Rebels brought in 20 transfers from the NJCAA ranks. Will this be your strategy in future years to use the Junior College ranks?
TC: We had the ability to bring in quality players this year that knew our system both on the field and in the classroom. As for the future we will always recruit solid JC guy’s but not at this rate. We have signed six high school guys for 2012 compared to two from JC.
CBD: Who will be the impact hitters this season for UNLV?
TC: I think as a team we well swing the bat pretty good this year. The guy’s I feel should make the most impact at this stage are Brandon Bayardi , Trent Cook, Cash Thomas, Trevor Kirk, Richie Jimenez and Marvin Campbell.
CBD: What are some of the strengths of this year’s squad? Weaknesses?
TC: I would say our strengths would be our ability to catch the ball, team speed, position depth and handling the bat. The weakness now would be lack of depth on the pitching staff . We have some arms coming back from injury that should help if they come back to form.
CBD: Last year, you had to deal with the media attention from coaching eventual number 1 draft pick Bryce Harper. How diffucult was it to keep the team focused on the ultimate goal of winning a NJCAA title with all the media around?
TC: The media attention was crazy but our guy’s handled it great. We started eight sophomores with one goal in mind, getting to and winning the JUCO world series.
CBD: This season we will see a new bat standard go into effect. Has your squad had a chance to try out these new bats and if so, what are your thoughts on them?
TC: We did use the bats in the fall and went through the same gripping period I’m sure every school did. I actually like them because it will force teams to really play the game and not rely on the three run shot from a 160 pound second baseman to produce runs.
College Baseball Daily would like to thank UNLV Head Coach Tim Chambers for taking the time out of his busy schedule to talk with us. Special thanks to UNLV Assistant Media Relations Director Paul Pancoe for setting up the interview and sending us the photos. If any other SID’s or coaches would like to be featured in a future interview feel free to send me an email.