Sept. 11, 2012


Nine Innings with Chris Pollard

By Phil Stanton Co-Founder


One of the new head coaches in the ACC is Chris Pollard (left), who takes over at Duke.


Pollard posted a record of 244-210-2 in eight seasons at Appalachian State, including six consecutive 30-win campaigns. The Mountaineers won 10 games in 2004 and 10 a year later in Pollard’s first season before posting 24 wins in 2006. ASU compiled a school-record 41 victories this past season, as Pollard was named 2012 Southern Conference Coach of the Year. The Mountaineers were one win away from capturing the Charlottesville Regional, falling to Oklahoma twice on the final day.


Prior to his arrival at Appalachian State, Pollard rebuilt the program at Pfeiffer. The Falcons won a school-record 41 victories in his fifth and final season.


Pollard played at Davidson from 1993-96, becoming the third pitcher in program history to collect 20 career victories. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1996 and received a master’s degree in physical education/health education from Mississippi State in 2004.


Along with assistants Josh Jordan, Andrew See and Mark Hayes, Pollard will look to rebuild the Blue Devils. Pollard recently took time to answer our questions.


First Inning – What made the Duke position attractive to you? 
The opportunity to be a part of one of the best Universities in the world, while getting the chance to coach in the ACC.

Second Inning – You have been known to build or rebuild programs. What are the biggest challenges in making Duke a consistent winner?
In the short term, our biggest challenge is to catch up to the rest of college baseball with respect to recruiting the top players in the 2013 class. Duke is one of the most attractive options in the country for that student-athlete that is looking for an elite degree and the highest level of DI baseball. We need to establish great relationships with the top high school and travel/showcase teams so that we identify the Duke-caliber student-athlete as early as possible.

Third Inning – How important will your experience as a student-athlete at Davidson be in recruiting for the Blue Devils?
I think my experiences as a player at Davidson help me relate to our current players. I understand the balance that exists between academics and athletics at Duke. Also, the three years I spent as an assistant at Davidson helped me gain an understanding for the role the admissions office plays in recruiting at a place like Duke.

Fourth Inning – You have worked with each of your assistants in the past. What are the strengths of each coach?
This is without question the best staff that I have ever worked with. Each guy is incredibly talented, but they also all have great people skills. JJ is definitely the grinder of this staff. The level of organization he brings to the recruiting process is unparalleled. See is a tremendous evaluator of talent, and does a great job of keeping guys loose and keeping the atmosphere around the field light. Mark is a great teacher of the game. He does a great job of slowing the game down and keeping it simple for guys. I just try to stay out of their way.

Fifth Inning – Will the strength of the Southern Conference help you in preparation for conference weekends in the ACC?
The Southern Conference is a great league. As a former player, assistant and head coach in the Southern, I am very proud of where the league sits on a national level. I have a lot of great friends in the conference. That being said, there is a reason the ACC is sending 7-8 teams a year to the NCAA tournament.

Sixth Inning – How familiar are you with the current coaches in the ACC?
During my eight years at Appalachian we played most of the teams in the ACC, so I have had the opportunity to coach against a lot of these guys. I have also developed a lot of good friendships within the ACC over the last several years. It was humbling to sit around the table last week at our ACC coaches meeting and see a lot of Hall of Famers in the room. There were a lot of trips to Omaha represented in that group.

Seventh Inning – What did it mean for the Appalachian State program to earn its first NCAA tourney bid since 1986 this past season? 
We had pointed towards an NCAA tourney bid since 2006. At the beginning of the 2011-12 school year, that team focused in on its goals like no team I had ever been a part of. They were a unique and special group of people. Not only did they achieve their goal of reaching an NCAA regional, they had such a good time along the journey. Last year was the most fun I had ever had in my 30+ years in baseball. It was a season that I will never forget.

Eighth Inning – What did the series win at LSU in the second weekend of the season do for the confidence of the Mountaineers?
I will never forget the look that team had in the fourth inning of Game 3 of that series. We were ahead big and pulling away. A lot of teams, when put in that environment, would have started to play tight like they were waiting for something bad to happen. That team never took its foot off the gas pedal; they just kept pouring it on. Right then, I knew that team had the makings of something really special.

Ninth Inning – What should we expect from the Blue Devils in 2013?
We are going to be loose and aggressive. From watching us in four-man individuals, I think we have the elements to play really solid defense, particularly around the infield. We plan to turn guys loose on the bases and be opportunistic with our offense.


(photo courtesy of Duke Media Relations Office)