Oct. 4, 2013
By Sean Ryan
many thought Kent State could win the Gary Regional in 2012, a
Regional it opened by winning a 21-inning thriller against
Kentucky. The odds seemed greater that the Golden Flashes could
win twice at Oregon in the Super Regionals. Yet, after three
one-run games, Kent State, led by Scott Stricklin, marched on to
Omaha having won 22 of 23 games.
Stricklin, who guided the
Golden Flashes to the past five NCAA tournaments, takes over at
Georgia, a program that has six trips to the College World
Series – three under former coach David Perno – including a
national title in 1990.
It will mark the third time Stricklin has coached
in the state of Georgia – he began his career in 1998 as a
volunteer at Georgia Tech and was an assistant for the Yellow
Jackets from 2002-04 before leaving for Kent State. While at
Tech, he recruited future major leaguers Matt Wieters and Micah
Owings. He also spent two seasons at Vanderbilt, where he
brought in lefty ace Jeremy Sowers. A former catcher who played
for and coached with current Georgia Tech coach Danny Hall, Stricklin now will battle his mentor on the field
and on the recruiting trail.
First Inning – What are the odds of a guy being
born in Athens, Ohio heading to Athens, Ga., to coach the
They’re even greater when you take in to account
I played for the Athens Bulldogs in high school so that’s quite
Second Inning – You’ve been courted before. What
made Georgia the job to lure you from Kent State?
It was coaching in the SEC and getting back to
the South. The town of Athens is a great place to raise a
family, and the chance of competing for a national championship
year in and year out.
Third Inning – How difficult was it leaving Kent
It was very difficult because Kent State was my
alma mater, it’s where I met my wife and we had nine great years
there, including eight straight championships. At the end of the
day, Georgia was a great opportunity, and we couldn’t pass it
Fourth Inning – What are you most proud of from
your time coaching the Golden Flashes?
It would be going to Omaha for the College World
Series in 2012. We had a team that some people thought would be
in a rebuilding year, and we turned that in to one that went to
the College World Series and finished ranked fifth in the
Fifth Inning – You’ve spent several years in
Georgia as an assistant at Georgia Tech. Did that play into the
decision, and does that help as you get acclimated?
Coming down here to Georgia, we already knew a
lot of people around the state and were familiar with some of
the coaches. We loved the South, and we were excited about
moving down and living in a warmer climate.
Sixth Inning – What’s it going to be like
recruiting and coaching against one of your mentors, Georgia
Tech coach Danny Hall?
It’s going to be competitive. Both of us
understand we’ll be competing on and off the field, and it’s a
great rivalry. Both teams should be in the national picture
Seventh Inning – You go from the MAC to the SEC.
Does that change any of your coaching philosophies or style?
I don’t think so. It’s about pitching and defense
and executing on offense. That’s what it takes to win
championships. We did that at Kent State, and we’re going to get
players to do that here.
Eighth Inning – What are some of your immediate
goals for Georgia?
We want to create an atmosphere of consistency
and discipline. We want to have structure as a team and make
them believe we should be a championship-caliber team year in
and year out.
Ninth Inning – How did being a former catcher
help shape you as a coach?
As a catcher, you’re involved in every part of
the game, and to be a great catcher, you have to be a great
leader. You have to take pride in leading by example and also
have to be a vocal leader. I think it helps in your
decision-making process, too, because you have to make quick
decisions when you’re a catcher.
(photo courtesy of Georgia Media Relations Office)