Jan. 31, 2012
Nine Innings with Kevin Leighton
Nine Innings with
Innings with Neil McPhee
By Phil Stanton
week, we are going to have head coaches from New York and Boston
give their thoughts on Sunday’s Super Bowl between the Giants
and the Patriots.
Today we continue with Neil McPhee, in his 26th
season as the head coach at Northeastern. The Huskies have had
18 winning seasons under McPhee and have reached postseason play
in 15 of the past 18 years. NU has had 14 players drafted over
the past 12 seasons, including first-rounder Adam Ottavino.
Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Carlos Pena also played collegiate
baseball for McPhee at NU.
McPhee has posted an
overall record of 625-536-4 in 25 seasons at his alma mater,
giving him the most victories of any coach in Northeastern
history. He was inducted into the NU Hall of Fame in 1980 for
his accomplishments as a player in both baseball and hockey.
with being a huge New England Patriots fan, there is another
football connection for McPhee. His daughter, Heather, is the
Associate General Council for the NFL Players Association.
In the photo to the right, McPhee’s son’s three
boys meet their hero, Tom Brady, after the Patriots’ victory
over the Redskins in December.
McPhee gives us his
perspective on the AFC Champion, the New England Patriots.
First Inning – Growing up, did you have a
favorite Boston Patriots player?
Babe Parrilli; it seems as if he was the player
most responsible for bringing the then-AFL team respectability.
Second Inning – As this season progressed, did
you think the Patriots has a defense good enough to reach the
No!! I am no FB expert so it just seemed that
the weakness to stop other teams would eventually end their
season early. HOWEVER, the defense always seemed to come up
"big" in every game and give Brady the ball when they needed.
Inning – What impresses you most about Bill Belichick as a head
His incredible ability to think outside the
traditional "coaching box." Consider playing Edelman as an "old
time two-way guy." He sees athletes as simply "football players"
who can "run it, throw it, catch it and tackle." I put him in a
category of Red Auerbach, who I consider the best coach of any
sport who ever lived.
Fourth Inning – Tom Brady was a catcher in
high school. Do you think he could have been a major league
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that he
would have become a Big Leaguer in baseball. There are very few
athletes that have his "make up" combined with natural talent.
Being a "back up" QB at Michigan yet having the undefinable "it"
to believe in himself the moment he took over the Pats QB
position speaks volumes about HOF athletes.
Fifth Inning – Who on your team would make the
best Patriot, and what position would he play?
Matt Miller, 1B/OF, Two-year Captain. Classic
over-achieving, pressure athlete. He would play the position of
Sixth Inning – Who is the biggest New England
fan on your team/staff?
Assistant Coach Mike Glavine (Tom's brother).
Knows everything about Pats and Bruins!!
Seventh Inning – Which player from the Giants
do you fear most?
Eli, of course. But also Tom Coughlin. Have heard
nothing but fabulous praise from BC people who knew/know about
his coaching ability, and most of all his character.
Eighth Inning – Why will the Patriots win?
Brady and Belichick!!! With supporting roles from
Welker, Gronk and Wilfork. Hard to imagine players, coaches in
any sport that perform better under intense pressure.
Ninth Inning – What will the final score be?
Pats 30....Giants 27
Extra Innings – What should we expect from the
Northeastern Huskies this season?
Hopefully this will begin a new era of NU
baseball. This is the first year that the athletic department
has been able to begin the process of fully funding the baseball
program. Following our 2006 debut in the CAA with a team that
included four draftees (including first-rounder Adam Ottavino),
we were reduced two scholarships, from eight to six, which has
certainly stalled our progress. This freshmen class is the
first recruited with increased scholarship resources and
includes 10 players who we think will be the foundation for the
future. Whatever success we have this season will be dependent
on our rotation of LHP Drew Leenhouts, closer turned starter RHP
Dylan Maki, plus a much needed improved offense.
With the 2013 class we will be at the 11.7 limit
of scholarships for the first time in the program's history. It
is my feeling that the future of our program has the potential
to become a nationally-ranked program vis-à-vis UConn (Jim
Penders has done a remarkable job). It may not be in "my time"
but, along with fully-funded status, and with a gorgeously
renovated turf field, a turfed indoor facility and a "Top 60"
ranking academically by US News and World Report, we are well
positioned to compete at this level.
(McPhee photos courtesy of NU Media
Relations Office, grandsons photo courtesy of Neil McPhee)