Dustin Coffman is completing his third year of coaching college baseball. He began his coaching career as a student manager at Indiana University in 2009 and was promoted the following year to volunteer assistant. Coffman spent the 2010 summer in the Coastal Plain League with the Edenton Steamers, who finished Top 5 in the country. From Edenton, Coffman took his first paid position at Wabash Valley College. Over the past two seasons, the Warriors have compiled a 93-30 record and have been ranked as high as No. 3 in NJCAA baseball. In summer 2011, Coffman was hired to be an assistant baseball coach with the Bourne Braves in the storied Cape Cod League where he will return this summer.


A native of Granger, Ind., Coffman earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Indiana in 2009 and is working on a master’s degree in applied sports studies from IU.


Coffman will share his thoughts throughout the 2012 Cape Cod season.


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June 7, 2012


Fighting the Flinch


What a difference a year makes! Last year at this time I was experiencing what Julien Smith calls “The Flinch.” Think about this: go turn on a cold shower, let it run for a few minutes, and then hop in. The flinch is that feeling you get in your stomach, where you are scared of what is about to happen.


I have been a baseball fan my whole life, but I’ll never forget the day when I fell in love with college baseball. It was June 2002. My old summer coach and now mentor, Dave Deram, loaded our whole team up in South Bend, Indiana, and took us out to see the Irish of Notre Dame play in Omaha! I’ll never forget getting off our exit and hearing the PING of batting practice (back with the old bats!), thousands of people everywhere, seeing the Road to Omaha Statue, smelling the tailgates, and seeing a small catholic school from the MIDWEST make it to Omaha. This was the day I decided I wanted to be a college baseball coach!


If you are a college baseball fan, you probably have heard of the Cape Cod League. If you go to the Cape League’s website, its motto is “Cape Cod: Where the stars of tomorrow shine tonight!” Catchy slogan, but it’s true. Two-thirds of Major League baseball players have spent time in the Cape League, names like Frank Thomas, Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Nomar Garciaparra, Buster Posey, Jacoby Ellsbury, to name a few.  So as a college baseball fan and young coach, I get this dream to coach in the Cape League.


I want to go coach the best, I want to see what it’s really like. Well, be careful what you wish for. I got a call last February from Harvey Shapiro, the manager of the Bourne Braves, who I had been hounding for the past two years, saying a position had opened up and wanted to know if I would be interested. One condition: How was my BP? With the Flinch in my stomach, I said it’s good! I didn’t tell him what it was good for: teaching kids to take pitches or for working on hit-by-pitches.


There’s that quote from Bull Durham, “Meat, from what I hear you couldn’t hit water if you fell out of a [freaking] boat.” Well, I was Meat. Funny thing is, that was my nickname in college, and now I was going to drive 22 hours by myself in my beat-up old Ford truck and throw batting practice to kids that play at programs like LSU, Georgia, Tulane, Coastal Carolina, North Carolina and UCF.


We can run from our fears or insecurities, or we can attack them head on! I chose to fight the Flinch and had one of the best summers of my life. I was even asked to come back, so starting next week I will begin my 22 hour journey back to “Lobster Land” to coach with the Bourne Braves. Follow my blog this summer on CollegeBaseballInsider.com.