February 11, 2014

CBI Feature on New Coaches in the Horizon

Nine Innings with Valpo's Brian Schmack

CBI Horizon Preview


Nine Innings with Greg Lovelady

By Sean Ryan

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder

sean@collegebaseballinsider.com  @collbaseball


After serving on Rob Cooper’s staff for the past nine seasons, Greg Lovelady was elevated to head coach when Cooper accepted the head coaching position at Penn State.


Lovelady was associate head coach for the Raiders for the past seven years. He was pitching coach and recruiting coordinator. Lovelady helped WSU earn Horizon League crowns and NCAA bids in 2006, 2009 and 2011.


A four-year letterman at Miami (Fla.), Lovelady was a catcher for the Hurricanes and helped them capture national titles in 1999 and 2001. He was a captain on the 2001 squad.


Lovelady recently took some time to answer our questions.


First Inning – Describe what Rob Cooper has meant to your coaching career. What are some things you’ve learned that will help you as a head coach?

 I owe almost everything in my career to Coop.  He took a chance on me when I was young and green and gave me a ton of autonomy to go out and coach and recruit the way I wanted to.  He put a lot of trust in me and that gave me a lot of confidence to do my job.  He also taught me how to be a great father and husband and that is more important than anything else he taught me.  His ability to teach the mental part of the game and provide the players a blueprint for success outside of their physical tools is an amazing thing he instilled in me and something that I will forever be grateful for.


Second Inning – What are some of the Raiders’ strengths heading into the season?

We have a very veteran club on both sides of the ball and great leadership from the older guys.  I think the number of quality returners with experience is going to be an advantage for us.  If we stay healthy I think our depth is a positive as well.


Third Inning – Why do former catchers make good coaches?

Catchers are always in the middle of everything, even when an outfielder is being coached we are usually in ear shot.  When the pitchers are throwing pens we are in ear shot.  I believe the best catchers have to be smart and because of that you absorb a ton of information about a lot of things other than catching and can process it so quickly, which then provides a huge advantage going into a coaching career.


Fourth Inning – What are a few of your fondest memories about winning two national titles while a catcher at Miami?

I grew up at Mark Light Stadium so being able to be a part of the team was a big deal for me.  Then getting to achieve the ultimate if front of a fan base you used to be a part of and being the starting catcher in both games was amazing.  The guys on the team were unbelievable to be around and we were all so motivated to be great that it was a special group to compete with.  Everything to do with Rosenblatt Stadium was an amazing memory.


Fifth Inning – Jim Morris… What was it like playing for him, and how did he shape you as a player and coach?

3 was easy to play for as long as you worked hard.  He stayed out of our way, gave us the space and ability to compete with each other every day.  He was constantly reminding us of what we were there to do and provided us the leadership we needed to handle all circumstances.  His in game ability to make the right moves every time and his usage of the bullpen are things that I have always been amazed at and something I have been able to learn from.


Sixth Inning – When recruiting catchers, what are three things you look for?

The first thing I always look for is leadership from a catcher. He has to run the staff and the team in a way that rubs off on others in a positive manner.  I then look to his receiving skills and his mobility and finally his release and how quick and manageable it is.


Seventh Inning – How about pitchers, since you’ve been the Raiders’ pitching coach? What are three things you look for?

Competitiveness, ability to throw strikes, and quality off-speed.


Eighth Inning – Wright State has had a lot of recent success. What things do you tweak, and what things do you keep the same?

I was here from Day 1 with Coop to build the foundation of what we have accomplished the last nine years, so most of the foundation I helped lay and there isn’t much to change.  I am just going to take what Coop did and build on top of it.  Keep the growth and success upward and instill my passion and energy for the game.  I have a great staff that I know matches my energy and enthusiasm not only for the game of baseball but for Wright State University.


Ninth Inning – How does Wright State get back into the NCAA tournament?

Embrace each day as an opportunity to compete against ourselves and maximize our ability at the end of the year.