John Savage has been at the helm of the UCLA baseball program since 2005, guiding the Bruins to the NCAA postseason in seven of the last eight seasons. This past season, he surpassed the 300-win mark at UCLA and the 400-win mark in his coaching career. Before UCLA, Savage restarted the baseball program at UC-Irvine, and led the Anteaters to an NCAA Regional in just his third year. He’s also one of just six active head coaches to coach a no. 1 overall MLB draft pick, a Golden Spikes Award winner, and lead his team to Omaha.
A former assistant at the University of Nevada and the University of Southern California, Savage is a graduate of Santa Clara University, where he pitched for three seasons before signing with the Cincinnati Reds after being drafted in the 16th Round. Savage was a 6 th-rounder out of High School at Reno (NV), where he began his coaching career. He and wife Lisa have four children: Julia, Jack, Ryan and Gabrielle.
Inside Pitch recently had the chance to catch up with Coach Savage about some unique opportunities that coaching has provided him and some of the philosophies he implements at UCLA:
You had the unique opportunity to begin your collegiate head coaching career by restarting the baseball program at UC-Irvine. What was that like?
It was the opportunity of a lifetime. It kind of felt like the Diamondbacks or the Devil Rays when they started up, where we got to design the ballpark, the uniforms, the mindset of a program and coaching staff. They gave us a whole year to put the program together and it was really a great situation; we had a whole year to recruit. We got in Division I right away, won over 30 games and had the opportunity to go to a Regional right out of the gate, which is very rare. It’s a great area for players. I don’t think I would’ve gone to any other program out of USC in 2000 other than an upstart program in Southern California. Those memories will carry us for a long time.
Our most recent issue featured a “Drills” section outlining what many top college programs do on a daily basis. What are some of the drills that you implement at UCLA?READ THE REST