Tuesday, September 18, 2012

SxSE: Coach Mitch Gaspard's Alabama Crimson Tide

Recruiting footprint:  Based on recent rosters, Gaspard tends to recruit from Alabama,, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Mississippi, South Carolina, Louisiana, Illinois, Oklahoma and Ontario. 

♦ Alabama baseball coach Mitch Gaspard proves a worthy successor to mentor Jim Wells (al.com, 5/25/2011)
Wells retired in 2009 after spending 15 years setting an incredibly high standard for Alabama baseball. Gaspard worked beside Wells for the first seven of those years, then left to establish himself as a head coach at Northwestern (La.) State. Gaspard returned to Alabama for two years as Wells' top assistant before moving into the top spot in the dugout for the 2010 season. Last season, Gaspard's first as the Alabama head coach, ended one game short of the College World Series. The Tide reached the championship games of both the SEC Tournament and the NCAA Super Regional at Clemson. This year, despite losing his entire infield - hitters 2-3-4-5 in the order - to the draft, and being picked to finish fifth in the West by SEC coaches, Gaspard has Alabama in position to make another postseason run.
Jim Wells was the coach at Alabama for 15 seasons, compiling a 625-322 (.656) record. Wells guided Alabama to two Southeastern Conference Championships (1996 and 2006), six SEC Tournament Championships (1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2002 and 2003) and 12 NCAA Regional appearances during his tenure. He also led UA to four NCAA Regional Championships (1996, 1997, 1999 and 2006), two NCAA Super Regional appearances (1999 and 2006) and three trips to the College World Series (1996, 1997 and 1999). (rolltide.com) Mitch Gaspard was an assistant under Wells for two years prior to taking over the reins as head coach. He previously had been the head coach at Northwestern University (LA)for six years.

Mitch Gaspard deserves recognition for rejuvenating Alabama baseball (examiner.com, 6/8/2010)
Gaspard has made an impact from day 1 after taking over for longtime successful coach Jim Wells. He, along with Hitting Coach and Recruiting Coordinator Dax Norris, made the determination that they would play aggressive and confident baseball. Mitch and the staff improved the confidence of the players and improved the focus and concentration. Gaspard’s decision to hire a pitching coach was a different direction that was much needed. He brought in outstanding Clemson Pitching Coach Kyle Bunn. Bunn was also considered one of the best recruiters in the country. Clemson just happens to be the Super Regional opponent for Alabama. The Tide staff will be very prepared and knowledgeable about Bunn’s former team, including the freshmen that he helped recruit.
"Our offensive philosophy is going to be different," Gaspard said. "You can look at my teams at Northwestern State; we were third in the nation in two of the six years in stolen bases. The one unique quality we have here is we have power but we also have athletes with speed. "We've got to use that and really have the aggressive style that's going to put pressure on the defense and I think we can do that with our offense with a little bit of a running game, hit-and-run, playing the short game some and also being able to hit the three-run homer. We can use all three packages on that." Gaspard also wants to translate that mental toughness to the mound. "I think the number one goal for us pitching-wise, is we've got to command the strike zone. We've got to have that same aggressive style on the mound and throw the fastball and put it where we need it and get tough mentally on the mound, the same as many of our position players." (rolltide.com)
“I want a connection and emotion to be seen with our fanbase and our crowd,” Gaspard said. “We really want to get the crowd back into the game. We want them to feel our emotion on the field.” (The Crimson White)
Before his latest stint on Alabama’s coaching staff, Gaspard spent six seasons as coach at Northwestern State. There, he amassed an impressive 211-128 (.622) record and established a reputation as a good salesman and an excellent coach. It was par the course for a NSU program that has pumped out a number of successful coaches. Many coaches in Gaspard’s shoes at Northwestern State would’ve waited for an SEC, Big 12 or ACC job to open up. But Gaspard felt it was important to move to an SEC program as an assistant and learn the ropes. Time will tell if that philosophy pays off. “Big part of me going to Northwestern State in ’01 was to get prepared to get back to this level in college baseball,” Gaspard said. “You wear a lot of hats at an SLC school. You’re the coach, the office and in some cases, the academic side of things, too. You learn the ins and outs of coaching and I think that was pretty beneficial.” (yahoo.com)
@MitchGaspard on Twitter

Alabama, Auburn baseball endure droughts during SEC golden age (5/22/12)
This week, Alabama misses the SEC Tournament for the first time since 2004.
. . .
The last time this state made the College World Series was Alabama in 1999; the SEC has made 23 CWS appearances since then. Alabama, Auburn, Kentucky and Ole Miss are the only SEC schools that haven't been to Omaha since 2005.

It wasn't always this way. After all, Alabama and Auburn rank third and sixth, respectively, in all-time SEC winning percentage.

From 1988 to 1999, Alabama went to the CWS three times and tied for the second-most NCAA Tournament wins among SEC schools. Auburn got to the CWS twice and was fifth in the SEC for NCAA postseason wins. In the subsequent 12 years without either school reaching Omaha, Alabama tied for eighth in the SEC for NCAA Tournament wins and Auburn ranked 11th.
. . .
Consider this: In 2010, LSU spent $7.4 million on baseball and produced $9.2 million in revenue. Alabama and Auburn baseball combined for $4.5 million on costs and $762,726 in revenue in 2010.
. . .
Most SEC teams other than Auburn and Alabama benefit from state-funded academic scholarships. Many are paid for by a lottery, which Alabama and Mississippi don't have. States with lottery money can offer in-state players who qualify for academic aid a better financial deal than Alabama and Auburn and save the 11.7 for out-of-state players.
. . .
Pawlowski declined to say if Auburn waives out-of-state tuition. Gaspard said Alabama does not. Alabama had two players this season whose tuition was covered by a presidential scholarship based on a 30 ACT score, Gaspard said. "There aren't many (recruits) at 30," he said.

More than half of the players on Alabama and Auburn's 2012 rosters come from the state of Alabama, which typically isn't loaded with prospects. This season, 43 of the 54 SEC players from this state play for Alabama, Auburn or Mississippi State.

No comments:

Post a Comment