Coach White gives baseball update
Friday, September 14, 2007
It has been a long time coming, but the time has arrived; baseball is back on campus at Oklahoma Christian. We have recruited 35 players and we have been working out for two full weeks. We had our first team intersquad scrimmage on Thursday. It feels good to be back on the field after a three-year leave of absence from coaching. I have to admit, though, that my legs and voice are not quite back in coaching shape. I find my legs are dead and my voice raspy after a long workout, but I am thankful for the opportunity the Lord has provided me. Many thanks to so many who have played a part in the resurrection of this tradition-rich program.
As for the squad, I do not think you could ask for a finer bunch of young men to be around. They are pleasant, courteous, attentive and willing to give all they have in our workouts. We have a lot to do as you would imagine when starting a program from scratch. You can take nothing for granted or assume that players know what you are thinking or talking about. As a new program, we are like a blank sheet of paper and we have to fill that paper with an outline and philosophy of the program we desire.
Good communication is the key. If we do not communicate well as coaches and players, we only limit what we will be able to accomplish. One of the many challenges is that all of these players come from different programs that have different baseball methods, philosophies and terminologies; we must do a lot of first-time communicating about simple basic issues because we have no returning players or previous point of reference of a season from which to begin.
Our coaching staff consists of myself and three other Christian men that I have recruited to assist me. They are young and enthusiastic and I have really enjoyed the time that we have spent together to this point. I am fortunate to have my youngest son Aaron to work alongside me as he assists with the defense working with the outfielders, instructing our hitters and coaching first base. Aaron graduated from Midwest City and was an outfield starter for two years at Rose State College. He finished up his career playing the outfield at East Central University in Ada.
Our pitching coach is Jared Smith. Jared graduated from Edmond Memorial and was a member of the OC team his freshman year when the program was suspended. Jared went on the play one year at the junior college level, then finished out his collegiate career at Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva. The final member of our staff is Brian Madden. Brian graduated from Putnam City West, then played four years at Southern Nazarene University as a catcher and designated hitter. Brian is in charge of our strength and conditioning program; he also works with our catchers and instructs our hitters. I feel very blessed to have these three fine men on our staff; their youthfulness energizes me and encourages me at the same time.
As for our new baseball facility, we are more than 60 days behind schedule because of the record rainfall that we had in the late spring and early summer. I have had to re-trench some irrigation ditch lines three times due to the frequent heavy rains, but I am happy to report that we have persevered. As of Wednesday, September 12, we have a full field of new sod. I have never been so glad to see green grass in my life; I thought we would never get our irrigation system completed. I am happy to report that we have had a few minor leaks and breaks, but the irrigation is up and fully operational. I am sure that if you have been one of the many who have driven by our new facility, you have wondered, “What are those guys doing out there? It doesn’t appear there’s been any progress." I assure you myself that I have thought the very same thing.
This fall, as allowed by the NAIA, we will have two scrimmages. Our first will be on September 21; we’ll travel to Enid to play Northern Oklahoma College. The second scrimmage is against Oklahoma Wesleyan in Bartlesville. As much as we have to do to prepare ourselves to compete, I am looking forward to getting back on the field in a live game situation. As an athlete and a coach, that mental and physical high you feel in live competition gets in your blood. After you have been away from it for a period of time, you find yourself craving the thrill of competition once more.
We will be a young squad with only 10 transfers and the rest being freshmen, but I believe we can be competitive. It will be a challenge to compete against the mature quality programs found in the Sooner Athletic Conference, but that is the type of competition that will only make you better. I assure you ... we would not want to be in any other conference; the SAC is a great baseball conference.
My plan is to give weekly updates on the Eagle Eye Blog page (http://www.oceagles.com/eagleeye) so we hope you will check in regularly to see what is new in our program. As things progress, I will give you some inside perspective on our practices, and scrimmages, and also about the development of our young men both in the classroom and on the field.
We have had so much encouragement and support since announcing the return of baseball and our hope and desire is that you will make plans now to become actively involved in supporting this program with your attendance next spring. You can find our schedule on the athletic website and we will post current stats so you can follow our progress throughout the season. If you want to communicate directly with me, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would enjoy hearing from our fans, developing new friends and rekindling old relationships. I will sign off for now, but I hope you will check back in a week to see what’s new. Until then, may the Lord bless you and your family richly.
Head Baseball Coach
Oklahoma Christian University