Feb. 22, 2008


Nine Innings with Kevin O'Sullivan

By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder


Kevin O’Sullivan begins his first season as head coach at the University of Florida. O’Sullivan spent the past nine seasons as pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Clemson, helping the Tigers to nine straight NCAA Tournament appearances and three trips to the College World Series. Before their season opener at home with Siena, O’Sullivan took some time to answer our questions about himself and the Gators.


First Inning – How excited are you for the season to begin?
After scrimmaging so much against each other, I know everyone around the country is ready for the season to begin and to play a team in a different uniform. The past few weeks have moved quickly leading up to Opening Night and we're eager for the season to start.

Second Inning – What has been the biggest difference for you during the preseason being a head coach vs. being an assistant coach?
Probably the biggest change is making the final decision on things such as the lineup, personnel and pitching rotation. There are more responsibilities in directing a program, including interviews with different media outlets.

Third Inning – What is the outlook for the Gators this spring?
Our team's strengths lie in having an athletic lineup, being sound defensively and developing consistent pitching. Our team will be aggressive in every aspect of the game. We're going to be better at base-running and bunting. Every guy in the lineup will have the ability to lay down a sacrifice. We will not be afraid to make mistakes on the field. We want to play with a little bit of reckless abandon and have a chip on our shoulder. We'll get out there and compete. These guys will be proud to wear a Gator uniform.

Fourth Inning – What are you thoughts about coaching in the SEC after spending many years in the ACC?
Top to bottom, the SEC is the best league in the country. Every weekend will be a challenge and from 1-12 every team will be difficult to face. The rivalries are intense and the crowds at each park will make road trips even more interesting.

Fifth Inning – You were a catcher at Virginia. What makes catchers such good coaches and managers?
Seeing the game from a different perspective enables catchers to be put in a leadership role and also take charge of a team's pitching staff.

Sixth Inning – You were a head coach in the Valley League and the Cape Cod League. What do you draw from those experiences?
When working in those leagues, I had to recruit those teams and it gave me the opportunity to develop contacts throughout the country. Having the chance to manage for two months in the summer was a positive experience in which I learned a lot.

Seventh Inning Stretch – You spent one year coaching in the professional ranks. What brought you back to the college game?
Receiving the opportunity to go to a top program like Clemson and to work for one of the most respected coaches in the country in Jack Leggett was something that I couldn't pass up. Being a part of that coaching staff and learning so much was tremendous.

Eighth Inning – What are your thoughts on the uniform start date for Division I college baseball?
I don't think that three weeks are enough for a team to get ready - a 14-week schedule would have enabled us to play four games a week instead of five and still play 56. Having four weeks of prep time might have helped more.

Ninth Inning – How did you, a guy from New York State, like your first winter in Gainesville?
Although I was born in New York, my family moved to Florida when I was 12. I was used to this type of weather and coming back to the Sunshine State is certainly an advantage we enjoy.