The CBB recently had the opportunity to send some questions to Rob Valli of Temple. He is entering his third season in charge of the program coming in with a two year mark of 30-78. He came to the Temple program from Gloucester County College (NJ) where he made the NJCAA World Series in each of his five seasons. Continue reading
Eric Sorenson of CSTV recently checked in with one of our favorite baseball coaches in Paul Mainieri of LSU. He discusses many different topics including how much influence his father Demie Mainieri the legendary coach of Miami-Dade North Community College for over 30 years. Sorensen gets Mainieri to discuss how difficult it was to coach at Notre Dame with the strong academic standards and the horrible weather in the Northeast. There are some other suprises in the interview like how Tommy Lasorda is the godfather to Paul’s youngest son and how former ND assistant Brian O’Connor of UVA hit it off with Mainieri. The full interview is available here.
Thanks to CSTV and Eric Sorenson for the great picture of Mainieri with former closer Ryan Doherty.
The College Baseball Blog recently had a chance to send some questions to Gary Gilmore of Coastal Carolina. Gary is entering his 13th season in charge of the Chanticleer program after a very strong 2007 season in which they went 50-13 and hosted the school’s first regional. They ended up losing the regional championship game to Clemson. Continue reading
REPRINTED FROM ROCK CHALK TALK
KU Baseball has been a new type of animal since the arrival of Ritch Price five years ago. When Price inherited the program the Jayhawks had struggled through five straight losing seasons and not made an appearance in the NCAA tournament since 1994. Under Price the Jayhawks have a record of 171-144-1 and fought their way back into the post-season by winning the Big-12 tournament in 2006. During this time Price has overseen tremendous improvements to the baseball facilities (almost entirely financed by private donor contributions) and watched two of his former players quickly reach the majors. Last month Price received a national pat on the back by being named one of Team USA’s coaches. KU has a nationally respected baseball coach who has transformed a dormant program into a player on the national scene. Continue reading
The College Baseball Blog recently had a chance to talk to John Cole who is entering his third season with the Penn Quakers. They won the Lou Gehrig division in 2007 but were swept by the Brown Bears in two games.
1. In 2007, Penn had a great season in the Ivy League by going 12-8 in the conference but finishing with an overall record of 20-19. The Quakers return a veteran squad as seven out of the nine starters from the 2007 Gehrig Division championship team return. Who is going to replace Joey Boaen (.310 BA) and Josh Corn (.288 BA) who have both graduated? Continue reading
We continue our recent series of interviews this week with Lelo Prado of South Florida. He is entering his second season with the Bulls after a very successful run at Louisville.
1) The South Florida Bulls had a 34-26 overall record and went 13-14 in the Big East. Matt Quevedo (4-3, 4.06 ERA) is the only returning starting pitcher as you lost Danny Otero (9-7, 3.32 ERA) and Chris Delaney (9-4, 4.00 ERA) but return closer Shawn Sanford to the squad. Who do you expect to fill Otero’s and Delaney’s spots in the rotation? If Sanford moves to the rotation who is going to fill the closer’s role? Continue reading
The College Baseball Blog recently had the chance to talk with Donnie Watson of Stephen F. Austin to discuss his program. He is entering his third season with the Jacks after taking over in 2004 when the school decided to bring the program back after an eleven year absence.
1. Stephen F. Austin finished the 2007 season with a 31-28 overall record after having a tough first season in 2006 which saw the Jacks struggle to a 15-41 record. Who has improved the most over the summer and during fall workouts? Continue reading
The College Baseball Blog recently had a chance to speak with Scott Stricklin. He is entering his fourth season at the helm of the Golden Flashes program. He led the team to the NCAA Tournament in 2007 and a conference championship game appearance in 2006.
1. In 2007, Kent State had a solid record of 33-26 with an outstanding record of 19-8 in the MAC. This season you return seven out of your nine starters from your MAC championship and NCAA participant squad. Who do you think has improved the most during fall practice from 2007?
We had several guys make jumps this fall for us. Doug Sanders, our second baseman, came back in great shape and worked very hard to become more athletic. Conor Egan saw limited time in the outfield last season but has really improved and will be pushing guys for more at bats. Jason Patton was the MVP of the MAC tournament last spring and he has added some strength and is ready to have a great junior year. On the mound, Kyle Smith and Jon Pokorny really impressed us this fall. Both guys gained strength over the summer and they now have one college season under their belt. Steven Ross has come back from injury and looks like he is going to be ready to make a push for a lot of innings.
2. Chris Carpenter entered the 2007 season as your top starter in terms of talent. He had an up and down season where he went 4-1 with a 4.50 ERA. I heard that he had some issues in the Cape Cod League on his surgically repaired right arm. Is he going to be ready to hold down your Number 1 starter role when play kicks off on February 22nd against UNC-Greensboro?
When you look only at Chris’ numbers from last year, they do appear average. However, when he pitched his way back into our rotation, we started winning. We won 16 of our last 17 games going into the regionals and Chris was a big reason why. He is our best prospect in terms of a professional player but he is also our hardest worker. Our kids really look up to him and he makes everyone around him better. He established himself as our number one starter this fall and is much more comfortable on the mound. When he was pitching last season, he was coming off almost a two year break due to Tommy John surgery. He has found the command for his fastball and his breaking ball has really sharpened up. We are all looking forward to watching him finally be able to pitch at 100% every Friday this spring.
3. You lost your top catcher in Will Vazquez who started 56 games last season. You have four catchers on your roster including Cory Hindel who is transferring from Wake Forest. Has any of the four put a hold onto the position heading into Spring practice?
Losing a leader like Will Vazquez is always difficult but I’m very optimistic about our catching situation. Cory Hindel came in and had a great fall for us and established himself as our starting catcher. However, Tyler Martin also had a good fall and has worked extremely hard. Those two will be pushing each other for the majority of innings behind the plate.
4. How will the new rules with the way the scholarships can be split on the team affect your program? Do you think it is a good change for college baseball?
I don’t think too many coaches are excited about having a minimum scholarship put into effect. We are already short-handed with 11.7 scholarships and now we are being told how to spend that money. The roster limit of 35 will not affect us because we are operating with a 32 man roster right now but I know that it will impact a lot of other schools and players on those rosters. The other dynamic that will be difficult to handle on a yearly basis is the rule that stipulates that only 27 players on the roster can receive athletic scholarships. The uncertainty of the pro draft will make this a tough issue for sure.
5. Has any of your incoming freshman impressed you during Fall Workouts? Do you see any of them breaking into the starting lineup this season?
We were very happy with our freshman this fall and feel like several of them will make an impact for us. Ben Klafczynski had a very solid fall with the bat and made some strides defensively in the outfield. Brett Weibley came into the fall injured but was able to practice at the end of the fall. He showed a lot of athletic ability at 3rd base and is going to hit for a lot of power. We feel that both Ben and Brett have a chance to be a great players here. The two freshman pitchers that performed well were Justin Gill and Kyle Hallock. Both showed that they can locate their fastballs and have command of their secondary stuff. Cory Martin, another one of our left handed freshman, has really made some improvements this off season and we feel that he is going to get some quality innings.
6. What is your biggest challenge on and off the field in dealing with young men from 18-23?
There are always challenges when you are dealing with 32 different individuals on a daily basis. It’s certainly never boring around here! I think as a coach you can limit those challenges if you recruit the right type of kids. Talented players are great, but if they are going to give you constant headaches off the field, it’s just not worth it. Our kids are required to go to class and we check to make sure they do. They are all required to do at least five hours of community service to make sure they are giving something back. If my kids are busy doing the right things, they don’t have much time to do the wrong things.
The College Baseball Blog would like to thank Scott for checking in with us for the second straight year. If any more coaches are interested in doing a similar interview feel free to email us by clicking here.
The College Baseball Blog is continuing the series of interviews this week talking with Penn Head Coach John Cole. He is entering his second season with the Quakers. He comes from Division 3 power Rowan where he was the head coach for seven season including making the tournament in five seasons. His record was an outstanding 229-73. We would like to thank Coach Cole for doing this interview and hope that his Quakers have a great season in the Ivy League.
1) The Penn program is coming off a rough 12-27 overall record and a 7-13 record in the Gehrig Division of the Ivy League. The good part is that you guys return seven starters from the team including Joey Boaen (.349 average in 2006) and Josh Corn (.346 average in 2006). Do you expect any of the newcomers to make a major impact in 2007?
We have an excellent freshman class highlighted by lefthander Jim Birmingham (24th round Washington Nationals). They are an athletic group made up mostly of pitchers and middle infielders. These freshmen will have to mature quickly, as many will see time in the field and a large quantity of our innings on the mound will come from this group.
2) Penn Baseball finished in 2nd place in the Gehrig Division in 2006 behind Princeton. What is a logical expectation for your team and the Ancient eight conference?
Our expectations this year are high; however we know several teams are much more experienced at key positions. The advantage this year is going through the league once gives you a realistic view of what to expect from your team and the other teams in the league.
3) The uniform start date goes into effect next season, How will that affect your team in the future? Also, What are your thoughts on the rule change?
The uniform date will have no effect on our team or on our league. Our league rules prevent us from practicing before February 1st and playing before March 1st. We will hopefully have a little more equality with the good weather teams as far as the number of games played before our spring trip.
4) John, You were named the head coach of Penn on March 30th 2005. What is the biggest challenge you have faced with the move from Division 3 Rowan University to Division 1 Penn?
The biggest challenge in the Ivy League is to accommodate so many different schedules. The time requirements for classes and exams can really compress the day. You really have to be able to adjust and try to accommodate as many variables as possible. The four game weekends also put pressure on a pitching staff. You must be really deep on the mound or you can be in trouble by the end of the weekend.
5) What player or coach have you enjoyed working with the most during your career?
I have enjoyed working with many players and all the coaches that I have come into contact during my career. The passion for the game, a strong work ethic and great people skills seems to be the kind of people I really enjoy working with. I am really looking forward to the beginning of the 2007 season!