Butch Thompson interview

butchthompsonCoaching journey…

I’m from Mississippi so it’s been pretty neat being here at Mississippi State. It’s kind of come full-circle, because I’m from Amory, Mississippi. I’ve just been fortunate to be around great people, I know three of the four head coaches I’ve worked for have been national coaches of the year.

The first one was Brian Shoop at Birmingham Southern, who I probably spent ten years with as a player and a coach. He’s now an assistant coach at UAB. He’s probably been the biggest influence on my life- not just with baseball, spiritually as well- he’s been kind of like a dad to me. I think he’s one of our best coaches in the country. He prepared me, and when we won the 2001 NAIA National Championship, I had the opportunity to go to Georgia with David Perno, and that was all because of Coach Shoop and Daron Schoenrock, who was my pitching coach in college.

I was at Georgia through 2005 and had a chance to go be with Tom Slater at Auburn from 2006-8 before coming to Mississippi State with John Cohen.

You can trace everything back to one degree of separation: John Cohen played at Mississippi State and Brian Shoop was an assistant at that point under Ron Polk. John and I had never worked together until I got here, and I’m just thankful he gave me the opportunity to come back home.

Every “break” that I’ve caught is from being around really good people, because of relationships and people being good to me. In business or any other profession, it’s about being around people that are better than me. Les Brown is a great motivational speaker, and he said “if I’m the smartest man in the group, I need to get a new group,” and I’ve never been the smartest in my group!

Pitching philosophy… Continue reading

Karl Kuhn interview

karlkuhnCoaching journey…

Everybody takes a different path, and mine started right after playing at the University of Florida. I went back to my old high school in Gainesville and I coached there for two years. Then I went back to my old junior college, Valencia, and I coached there for a year. While I was doing that, I met Brian Reese, who had just gotten the job at Bethune-Cookman. He put me in touch with Randy Mazey, who was leaving Clemson after getting the head job at Charleston Southern. I was Randy Mazey’s first assistant at Charleston Southern for three years and we ended up winning a conference championship. Once we did that we both moved on and ironically enough, Brian Reese had left Bethune-Cookman for Arkansas-Little Rock. I went with him out there and we inherited a program that went 6-23, had seven pitchers on the staff and played at a city park. In seven years we kind of rewrote the record books at UALR, raised over a half-a-million dollars for a new field and one Thanksgiving, Brian and I actually put in a brand new AstroTurf infield ourselves. We were the jack of all trades.

Along the way, our basketball coach at UALR was Porter Moser, who played at Creighton around the same time Brian O’Connor played baseball there. I was going on a recruiting trip to Notre Dame and Porter told me to say hello to [O’Connor], and that’s how I met Brian O’Connor. We became great friends on the road, he helped me out with a couple players, and we actually played in the Notre Dame San Antonio tournament the year they went to the College World Series. He eventually got the head job at Virginia and called me up and I’ve been here ten years.

On drills…

Ever since I got into coaching I’ve always used the READ THE REST

Kevin O’Sullivan interview

osullivanInside Pitch caught up with Univeristy of Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan, who is married to wife Barbara Jo and has a daughter, Payton Tyler O’Sullivan, to discuss just how he’s made the Gator chomp so vicious.

Inside Pitch: When did you realize you were going to be a coach?

Kevin O’Sullivan: After I graduated from the University of Virginia I basically had two career paths: physical therapy or med school, or get into the coaching side of things. I graduated in December, so I had the spring semester at home in Jupiter (Fl.), where I did some substitute teaching and got into high school coaching and from that point on, I knew it was what I was going to do.

A big influence on me was Bob Shaw. He lived in my hometown and took me under his wing. It was very eye opening, an opportunity that most people don’t get. After practice, we’d go get something to eat and we’d break it down: pitching, bunting, base running, infield play, you name it. He was such a knowledgeable guy in all phases of the game and to this day, I still remember writing notes down on napkins, going home and thinking about some of the things we spoke about. Continue reading

Omaha through the years

photo by Lou Pavlovich, Collegiate Baseball

1980 national champion Arizona Wildcats
photo by Lou Pavlovich, Collegiate Baseball

Year- 1950
Total attendance- 17,805 (Rosenblatt Stadium)
Participating teams- Alabama, Bradley, Colorado State, Rutgers, Texas, Tufts, Washington State, Wisconsin
Most outstanding player- Ray VanCleef, Rutgers (Texas won title)

Year- 1980
Total attendance- 95,406 (Rosenblatt Stadium)
Participating teams- Arizona, California, Clemson, Florida State, Hawaii, Miami (Fl.), Michigan, St. Johns
Most outstanding player- Terry Francona, national champion Arizona

Year- 2011
Total attendance- 321,684 (TD Ameritrade)
Participating teams- California, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Virginia
Most outstanding player- Scott Wingo, national champion South Carolina