Perhaps the last athlete that will ever have an extended career in the NFL and Major League Baseball, Brian Jordan played three seasons for the Atlanta Falcons and before switching to baseball full-time, he was named an alternate for the 1991 Pro Bowl team. In the MLB, he suited up for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Atlanta Braves, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Texas Rangers. The 1999 MLB All-Star played in nearly 1500 games in his MLB career with 184 home runs and a .282 career average. Inside Pitch recently asked Jordan about his experience as a two-sport standout and what his advice would be to multiple-sport athletes today:
What do you think about coaches that discourage their players from playing multiple sports? How about parents who think that their children should stick to just one sport?
Personally I don’t like it, I think it limits a kid’s options and to me, that’s the most important thing. You’re taking an athlete’s abilities away from them, I feel like if you play different sports, you become a better athlete. I’m one that never ever preached “put all your eggs in one basket.”
You could have a kid with great potential and all the ability in the world, and you limit him? I’m totally against it. Everyone asks me the question, will we see another two-sport professional athlete, and my answer is no: simply because of coaches not allowing these kids to grow up and have fun and utilize all their options and abilities. I’m disappointed with it, and that’s the way it is now for these young athletes. They’re being penalized along the way.
Was there anything you took from your experience as a baseball player that helped you out on the gridiron?
Kevin McMullan is in his 10th season at UVA, seventh as associate head coach. Considered to be one of the top assistant coaches in all of college baseball, “Coach Mac” has prior experience in the Atlanta Braves organization and at St. John’s, East Carolina, and his alma mater Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Things that make a “top assistant”….
Being surrounded by the right staff that gives you the opportunity and autonomy to do your job. Great players always make great coaches; the ability to identify the right guys for our place at Virginia. The buy in- from our players, that they understand what we’re about as a program and what they are coming into- there’s no gray area. I think when the players get there and you start asking them to make adjustments or trying to do something a little different, there all in from the get-go since you’ve been recruiting and sharing with them how we run the program.
#1- Practical practice, It’s not necessarily a specific drill but we try to simulate the game pace in everything we do, whether it be base running live reads or the pace of handling the ball off the bat or fungo. We try to make everything game-like so when the games start, guys have been there over and over with their repetition and their preparation.
On coaching journey…
In my first job at my alma mater (Indiana-Pennsylvania), I think I learned more about READ THE REST
Played at East Carolina University; has prior coaching experience at UNC-Wilmington, Vanderbilt, Notre Dame, LSU and Central Florida
“Here are a few drills our guys do every single day before they ever have a live pitch thrown to them:
1. Fungo swings- toss up the ball and hit 10-15 balls with a fungo to get loose. Try to hit line drives.
2. High tee drill series- set tee up away to start with and go “no-low half” where you’re eliminating the lower half where you’ve already taken your stride and both your feet are on the ground. You can either have your hands in a normal position or put them out on their front shoulder (front shoulder load).
The whole basis of the drill is to eliminate the lower half and produce three head-high line drives over the opposite-field infielder’s head. [Our players at Ole Miss] have to do three in a row and that’s what I really take pride in, getting our guys to do that, because anybody can produce one line drive and move on to the next step, but it’s not consistent. Once they do that, they take swings regularly off the high tee away and do three in a row there. Then we move the tee to the middle and finally to the inner half, repeating the same sequence: Continue reading →
Several years ago our Kentucky Wildcat baseball team was opening up our season in mid-February in warmer climes down in Deland, Florida against Stetson. As we approached the field for early batting practice I witnessed two men playing catch in front of the home dugout. As I walked nearer I noticed it was all-star third baseman Chipper Jones with his dad, Larry. The senior Jones was a volunteer assistant on Stetson’s Pete Dunn-led coaching staff.
I couldn’t help but pause for a few minutes just to appreciate what I was witnessing: one of the premier players in the game (very likely a future hall of famer) enjoying playing catch with his dad. There were smiles and light conversation and the sound of leather popping leather, a familiar and comforting sound to millions through the ages. Of course, Chipper was working out with his dad’s college team in preparation for spring training, but it didn’t appear to be work. It looked more like a father and son connecting once again with two pieces of well-crafted and conditioned leather gloves and one hard, white baseball. Continue reading →