By Phil Stanton and Sean
Mazey, associate head coach at TCU, was recently named head
coach at West Virginia.
Mazey is in his sixth
season with the Horned Frogs. TCU is 269-104 over the past six
years with at least 40 victories each season and six NCAA
Regional appearances. Mazey has helped guide TCU to the Super
Regionals in three of the past four seasons, including a trip to
the College World Series in 2010. The Frogs will play at UCLA
this weekend in the Los Angeles Super Regional.
This will be Mazey’s third term as a head coach.
He led Charleston Southern from 1994-96 (66-84-1, Big South
Champs 1996) and East Carolina from 2004-06 (120-66-1, 3 NCAA
Regionals). In six seasons as a head coach, Mazey is 186-159-2
A native of Johnstown, Pa., Mazey played four
seasons at Clemson. The outfielder/pitcher had a career batting
average of .331 and a pitching record of 8-1. Mazey was drafted
in the 28th round of the 1988 MLB Draft by the Cleveland Indians
and played two seasons of minor league baseball before returning
to his alma mater as an assistant coach. He earned a Bachelor of
Science degree in administrative management in 1988 and MBA in
1993, both from Clemson.
Mazey recently took time to
answer our questions.
First Inning – After being a head coach, how did your
experience as an assistant help you for your next head coaching
Any time you have the opportunity to look at the same thing
from a different perspective, you learn from it. There are also
a lot of things that head coaches have to deal with that
assistants don't, so it was a great opportunity to get back to
the pure basics of the profession, coaching and recruiting.
Second Inning – What interested you most about the West
It didn't take me long once I got to Morgantown to realize
that this could be a great opportunity. The commitment to
baseball from [Director of Athletics] Oliver Luck and the
administration was obvious, and I've always said that anytime
there is a conference that stretches north to south, the
northernmost team in that league should have a great opportunity
to attract some really good players from some northern
states. If you look at the success that Kentucky, Oregon State,
Louisville, Boston College and Maryland are having, they are all
examples of northernmost schools in southern leagues. With West
Virginia entering the Big 12, I see it as an opportunity for
northern kids to play in one of the best leagues in the country
but still stay close to home.
Third Inning – Will you recruit more regionally or nationally
for the Mountaineers?
I really don't like to set any recruiting boundaries. Good
players are good players no matter where they are from. We are
obviously going to try and sign the best players from West
Virginia and the neighboring states up north, but with the
success that the football and basketball teams are having, that
brings some national attention to the school and enables you to
attract kids from all over the country.
Fourth Inning – You've coached in Big 12
country - and TCU played a host of Big 12 schools this year -
how do you compare it to your previous stops?
I have been extremely fortunate in my
coaching career to have coached in the ACC, SEC, Conference USA,
the Mountain West, the Big South, the Colonial, and now the Big
12, so I have seen more different conferences than most coaches
get to see in their entire careers. I really believe that Big 12
baseball is as good as any of them. The baseball tradition at
schools like Texas, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State, and with
schools such as TCU and Baylor having so much success right now,
makes me believe that the Big 12 is one of the best leagues in
Fifth Inning – How does West Virginia, coming from the Big
East, get up to speed for Big 12 play?
That's a great question. I think the answer is pretty obvious
though. As long as the school and the administration is
committed to being able to compete and gives you the resources
necessary to win, the answer lies in the players. It will be
very hard to win in the Big 12 unless you sign the type of
players that the other schools in the Big 12 would have
recruited. We are going to have to sign the type of players that
had opportunities to play at some great schools but sees the
opportunity he has to play at West Virginia. With the advent of
showcases and travel teams, it's a lot harder to dig good
players out of the cracks. Fifteen years ago, if you wanted to
sign a good player from West Virginia, you actually had to go to
West Virginia to see him play. These days, you can see the best
players from each state at a national showcase in Florida or a
national tournament in Atlanta for example. Now everyone is
recruiting the same kids, so we will have to bang heads
recruiting with a lot of really good schools, and we are willing
to do that.
Sixth Inning – The facilities at West Virginia are a far cry
from those in the Big 12. What plans are there to upgrade?
We have excellent plans of upgrading the facilities at WVU. I
can't release any details yet, but suffice it to say that West
Virginia has a vision to build a state-of-the-art baseball
stadium that will rank as one of the best in the nation. That
was another thing that was really exciting to me when I chose to
go to WVU. Kids want to play in nice facilities, and if you look
back at college baseball over the past 15-20 years, any time a
program has built a facility like the one we have plans for, the
program immediately got better. I'm extremely excited about what
West Virginia baseball is doing right now.
Seventh Inning – How concerned are you about
conference travel for the Mountaineers?
Not concerned at all. As a matter of
fact, I am excited about it. I really believe that education is
not just in a classroom, it is all around you. Traveling the
country is part of learning, it's exciting, and it gives kids an
opportunity to see different things.
Eighth Inning – How valuable to the TCU program was the
appearance in the 2010 College World Series?
There is no way to put into words what a trip to the College
World Series does for a baseball program, especially the first
trip. From increased enrollment to the university, recruiting,
to the attitude in the clubhouse, everything changes. Along with
that comes higher expectations. Once you go to the World Series,
anything short of that is disappointing.
Ninth Inning – What will be TCU’s biggest challenge in
defeating UCLA in the Los Angeles Super Regional this weekend?
UCLA is such a good team and is so talented, and they are
also playing at home. Like us, they have players on their team
that have played in the College World Series, and that
experience really comes to the forefront in the
postseason. You've seen that in TCU's team this year as well. We
are playing our best baseball right now, and that is because
when you have guys that have been to Omaha before, when you get
to the postseason, they realize how close you are, and that
experience leads the team.
(photo courtesy of TCU Media Relations Office)