The 2012 University of Dayton baseball team was an historic one by any measure. The Flyers played in their first NCAA Regional after winning both the Atlantic 10 regular season and tournament championships. UD also led the nation in stolen bases, another first for the program. After the season, a school-record five members of the 10-man senior class signed professional contracts. (From Univ. of Dayton website)
How do you set new expectations after a record-breaking season like last year?
As a head coach, you spend a lot of time after the season is over thinking about next year’s team and what your motto and philosophy is going to be heading into next year. It helps everyone understand what we need to do as a team to win championships. Last year’s motto was ‘why not us?’ and after we won the Atlantic 10 and advanced to an NCAA Regional, this year’s motto is ‘we are, we will.’
How do you deal with weather when it becomes a challenge in the fall and winter?
Around here, fall is the best time of the year to play baseball, so we don’t have to worry about having to practice indoors during that time. When winter does hit though, we have a lot of indoor developmental programs going on. I think a lot of northern schools can get away from defense when they move inside. It’s easy to get into throwing bullpens, individual day work, and hitting groups and not work on defense.
At Dayton, we emphasize defense as well and work on our baserunning, along with pitching and hitting. You can’t get a lot better at some things during the season if you’re not emphasizing them in the offseason. How can you hold players accountable for some things if you’re not constantly working on them? We try to work on other aspects of the game within the time we’re allotted.
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