Meet the Bronco Coaches
Nov. 3, 2000
Q: How did you get involved in college baseball and what has led you to Santa Clara?
A: "I got involved in college baseball because I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to play for (USC coach) Mike Gillespie at the junior college level at College of the Canyons and at Southern Cal. Through playing for him and being involved in his programs, I saw a way to do things to be successful at the collegiate level. It really opened my eyes to the detail that exists in the college game. I did that as a player, then had the opportunity to coach at Canyons for Len Mohney (Gillespie's former longtime assistant). To coach with him for seven years helped expand on the detail I picked-up on as a player and put me in a position to continue learning the college game, which prepared me for this position at Santa Clara. I'm truly grateful to have been able to learn and study from some well-respected coaches who have been successful on a national level."
Q: How would you describe your philosophies of coaching?
A: "I expect us to embrace a philosophy that pitching at the college level is as much as two-thirds of the battle in being a top-25 program. The one most important underlying theme with our pitching staff is the level of competitiveness that our pitchers will learn to perform at day-in and day-out. A high level of competitiveness will give us an opportunity to be successful against any program in the country. The mental preparation and focus that comes with this makes the whole team better off. If pitching is two-thirds of the battle at the college level, then the defense is better off for that and the offense is more confident. Our philosophy will be to prepare 10-to-12 pitchers to be successful within a staff concept where all roles are understood and filled. We do that one pitch at a time, one inning at a time, one day at a time. We break it down and simplify things. I have already seen this philosophy being embraced and we have seen improvement just going through the fall program. I want people to see that our pitching staff battles, refuses to give in, knows how to compete at the college level and gives our team a chance to be successful."
Q: Describe the baseball coaching staff here at Santa Clara.
A: "There is a wonderful sense of balance among the coaching staff. Coach Mike Cummins has tremendous experience in Northern California. He has been a part of the Northern California baseball scene for 20-something years. I have the responsibility of handling the pitchers and I have been in Southern California around successful programs since 1980. I spent my high school and college playing years in Southern California and I coached there. So, we have both parts of the state pretty well covered from a recruiting standpoint and our connections are solid. A good portion of our recruiting will be done within the state of California and I feel we have a very good handle on that. We also have a young, eager, willing and talented coach in Coach Hipps. He relates well to the players and is very motivated to do the best job, improve as a coach and contribute any way he can."
Q: If I were a recruit, why would I consider playing baseball for Santa Clara?
A: "You have an opportunity to be a part of a proud tradition and a very exciting future here at Santa Clara. The school has been very successful at the Division I level and now we are working diligently to get the program back to the top-25 level. We play a top-25 schedule, and strength of schedule is crucial to earning NCAA Regional berths. You would have the opportunity to play for coaches who are breaking down the details of the game and teaching the intricacies of the game to help improve the players and build a team concept. We are working hard to improve the facilities here and there are plans to build a new baseball stadium. The term student-athlete is important here. You get a tremendous education here and you get a baseball education as well. We are looking for players that want to come in, understand the term `student-athlete,' be a part of a top-25 program and develop themselves within the team concept. When you come to Santa Clara, I think you will find that we treat players on a mature level. Not only do you get to know your teammates here, you get to know the coaches. The coaches work with you to develop you as player and to aid in the process of maturity. We treat the players as adults. We hold them accountable and we want them to be responsible. We also look at the human side of it all and I think that personal feel is something that separates our program from others."
Q: What is your most memorable moment in baseball
A: "In 1986, I played for College of the Canyons and we won the state junior college championship at Blair Field in Long Beach. We were 41-6 that year and in the state tournament I was fortunate to win two games as a pitcher. We came out of the loser's bracket and the feeling of storming on the field after winning that state championship knowing we had accomplished going as far as we could in California was incredible. That is definitely the most memorable thing I've had happen to me in baseball. I'd like the next most memorable moment to be helping Santa Clara get back to the College World Series."