is in his 13th season as head coach at East Tennessee State University. He has
coached 28 all-conference players, including a school-record six in the Southern
Conference in 2005. The Bucs moved to the Atlantic Sun Conference in 2006 and
reached the championship game that season. Skole had a pair of All-Americans in
2009 in Paul Hoilman and Bo Reeder. Hoilman was the Atlantic Sun Player of the
Year and Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2010.
native of Roswell, Ga., Skole played baseball and football at The Citadel. He
helped the Bulldogs win two Southern Conference titles, an Atlantic Regional
Championship and a trip to the 1990 College World Series in Omaha, Neb. Skole
started 35 consecutive football games and led The Citadel to a pair of NCAA I-AA
playoff appearances. He led the Southern Conference in interceptions in 1990.
Skole and his wife, Jody, have three sons: Tilo (12), Jack (9) and Gehrig (4).
for other journal entries
April 11, 2012
Working for a Better Second
is the first Dugout Digest for 2012. I apologize for it coming at the halfway
point of our season. I had been asked this winter to once again share my
thoughts and ideas as our season progresses from a head coach’s perspective. I
agreed, as I have always enjoyed writing and sharing my thoughts, but this
season I just haven’t felt the urge to put some of my thoughts down on paper.
To be brutally honest though, I was waiting for us to go on a nice winning
streak to begin the Digest. Well it just hasn’t happened (yet), so late last
night as I peered through my pages of game notes through our first 30 games, I
figured this would be a good time to go ahead and begin.
Interested parties can
go to our website at ETSUBucs.com and get a full report and history of our
results through the first half of the season. So I won’t go through and give a
complete breakdown of each and every game. But I will give a quick assessment
of where we are and what we are currently going through.
With our record
currently standing at 15-15, obviously myself and our coaching staff are not
pleased with our results thus far. No team sets a goal at the beginning of a
season to be a .500 ball club. So obviously our goal for the second half of the
season is to play much better and find a way for our players to win a bunch of
Our coaching staff has
poured over every statistical category and tried to turn over every leaf, to
understand and find the reasons when our club struggles and when our club has
success. The game of baseball has always been a game of numbers and
statistics. Many times these items don’t provide much insight and many times
they can spell out exactly what the problem is.
We are fortunate that
through the help of our outstanding Sports Information Director, Ryan Dunn, we
can pull up just about any situation and scenario possible. Anything from what
our players/pitchers are doing in specific situations to even what our hitters
are doing when they hit at a certain spot in the lineup. It is all there for
Anyone that has
followed our season thus far would be quick to point our struggles on the
offensive side, especially with runners on base and with runners in scoring
position. How bad has it been? Well in our 12 Atlantic Sun Conference games we
have had 30 more opportunities with runners in scoring position than our
opponents (120 to 91). This is good. Yet our opponents have six more hits.
This is not so good. We are hitting a paltry .150 (18 for 120) with runners in
scoring position. Ouch! When you can’t get the big hit, it sure makes it
difficult to win.
On the other side, our
pitching and defense for the most part has been outstanding. In every
statistical category we are succeeding except for the amount of extra base hits
we have given up. Besides that, our pitching and defense has been keeping us in
every ballgame we play. This is the main reason our coaching staff still feels
confident heading into the second half. If we can continue to pitch and defend
well, we will be in every game and if our offense begins to catch fire, we will
be tough to handle.
So in order for our
second half of the season to improve somehow we have to fix this problem. Now I
have had many conversations with baseball people all over the world to get their
opinion on how to hit better with runners in scoring position. There is not a
drill or something we can do in practice (besides actually putting a runner in
scoring position during batting practice) to refine this skill. Basically it
just comes down to guys being clutch hitters and coming through in important
situations during the game.
My old college coach,
the legendary Chal Port always told us something when I played that has stuck
with me throughout my career. Coach Port would ask us, “Guys, you know who my
favorite players are on this team?” We would all then rack our brain and try to
figure out who it was. Thinking there was a magic formula or process he had for
choosing his favorites. He would then say it like only Coach Port could. “It’s
pretty simple guys. My favorite players are the SOB’s driving in all the
runs.” I didn’t realize it then but having coached for over 20 college seasons
boy he sure was right.
As coaches, we are
always looking for those guys who get it done when the heat is on. In any sport
these are the players that are always remembered. Whether it is getting that
big hit, making the final shot in hoops, throwing the touchdown pass in the
fourth quarter or making the clutch putt on the 18th hole. It takes a special
individual to perform at their best, when their best is needed. I believe it
was John Wooden that defined competitive greatness as “being at your best when
your best is needed.”
Back in August when
our club got together for the first time we spoke about where we expected to be
at the end of the season. Well in getting to that final destination, we need to
realize there is going to be pressure to perform throughout the journey. But
our guys must understand that whenever there is great opportunity, there is also
pressure. You can’t have one without the other. We have to look at the things
that have stood in our way thus far – execution, details and leadership. We
have to make a vow to make these areas strengths. If we can do that then we
will have earned the right to be where we expect to be at the end of our
It was Frederick
Douglass (1818-1895) – American Civil Rights Leader who said, “If there is no
struggle, there is no progress.” How true those words are still today.
Until Next Time…
(photos courtesy of ETSU Media Relations Office)