Posted at 6:00am -- 11/8/2007 Michigan Baseball: Interviewed Coach Rich Mal..."/> Posted at 6:00am -- 11/8/2007 Michigan Baseball: Interviewed Coach Rich Mal..."/>

Michigan Baseball: Interviewed Coach Rich Maloney


Posted at 6:00am — 11/8/2007

Michigan Baseball: Interviewed Coach Rich Maloney

Talked to Michigan baseball coach Rich Maloney to get his thoughts on the upcoming season, recruiting, the stadium being upgraded along with how his program has progressed since coming to Michigan.

GBMWolverine: Can you talk about the direction of your program from when you arrived at Michigan and where your program is today?

Coach Maloney: Well we have a chance now to compete at the highest level. The past seasons we have had the last three years it has been building towards this moment and now we have in our junior class five outstanding players who have won a couple of Big Ten championships, competed in a couple of regional and beating number one Vanderbilt on their field and got to experience playing against Oregon State who eventually became back to back National Champions. Really game one against Oregon State could have really went either way in which it would be hard to argue that game should not have been ours. With that being said it gives the guys great confidence and hope that we can get back to that and compete for Omaha. We want to go to Omaha that has been our goal since taking over the program and now we are so close we can taste it while working towards that goal.

GBMWolverine: Expectations for the Michigan baseball program have been growing higher and higher every season does your players and coaches thrive on that along with being the hunted instead of the hunter in the Big Ten?

Coach Maloney: I would rather be in the position we are right now compared to when I arrived at Michigan five years ago I can tell you that much. We have proven ourselves as a high quality program where we were trying to find ourselves as a program. Now were to the point where we have had the three straight regional bids, one regional championship and two straight Big Ten titles that is how you want it for your program and with the expectations of winning and so many players coming back there is definitely some momentum in our program from our past success plus the fact of building a new stadium. There is a lot of positive momentum in our program and exciting to continue it on and will be a challenge to go after another Big Ten title obviously everybody and their grandma is going to be gunning for us. Last year they did that as well, but we were able to hold on wire to wire win the Big Ten which was special I think to do that not being in second place at all the whole year I thought that was quite an accomplishment. I think for our players and this year and the stakes are higher and expectations because everybody is going to be bringing their “A” game when they play Michigan, but that is how you want it because people have gained respect for your program and my job when I got it was to build a program and now we have a program just like the Michigan football team gets everybody best game.

GBMWolverine: Going back to the Oregon State series do you wish the stadium would have been done so you would have been able to handle a super-regional? Do you think that might have made a difference playing at home?

Coach Maloney: Well clearly you want to host a regional or super regional and certainly you hope playing at home you could get a run or two from playing in front of your crowd, but who knows you cannot say for certain for sure one way or another. There is no question having home field advantage has meant a major factor in all college sports and probably as much so in baseball when you look at the fact over the last seven years of the 56 teams who made it to Omaha 51 of them were the host schools so with that figure it speaks for itself.

GBMWolverine: Can you tell us a little bit about the new stadium and compare it to other school in the Big Ten and across the country along with what you want the ball park to represent?

Coach Maloney: Penn State has joined with a minor league franchise along with Nebraska who both probably have the two biggest stadiums in college baseball where they spent 30-35 million dollars for those ball parks and there is nobody close to them. Now talking about our stadium it will be a true college baseball stadium one that will be a nice venue to watch a game and give that college atmosphere so there will be an opportunity if we continue success we will be able to have crowds to pack that stadium. That is my dream and I believe it will happen, I know it will happen.

GBMWolverine: Did you guys think about having a bigger stadium or possible have a minor league ball club come to Ann Arbor?

Coach Maloney: Having a large stadium we could have went that route as well, but we did not want to bring in a minor league ball club we just did not want to go that route. What we are going to have is not going to be spectacular of what a pro/minor team would have added by the money they would have put into it, but on the flip side of it we will have a true college ball park in the heart of the athletic department which is unique compared to most and will go with the buildings and structures of the rest of the buildings. It cleans up the whole area of the athletic department and will be a crown jewel for us where we are located and it is not going to hurt us for recruiting and they will be impressed. It is going to be a venue where young students athletes will be impressed and that is what you want is just a shot to get these kids. What we had in the old Fisher Stadium was somewhat of an eye sore and we are going to have a beautiful looking stadiums very pleasant to look at and watch a game.

GBMWolverine: It was noted in the college world series and the off season that the NCAA could possible look into starting the season later for the northern team do you think it will ever happen?

Coach Maloney:

I am not sure it will or not I do know for the good of college baseball and if they want to continue to grow the sport which is growing at an unbelievable rate right now in playoffs and is the second biggest revenue producer in the NCAA playoffs. You have the basketball then baseball because football they pay independently on those bowls, but if you count the money received by the NCAA baseball is the second biggest draw and it is growing rapidly with the College World Series, super-regionals, regionals and television revenues are becoming huge so we have a product that is marketable to the public and exciting for our kids to play in that atmosphere. On the flip side of that we have excluded one part of the country to be part of that and the only way to be truly a part of it with our weather issues are to bump it in the summer some and at some point we hope they do that for at least a couple weeks. Every week you add that is another week to have a home series. Right now we only have 21 home games and 35 road games.

You tell me would Lloyd Carr with 12 games would he play four at home and eight on the road and then how would they fair. So we really have to think about that for a minute so with that all being said until we can have a better chance of climate because we cannot start any earlier than we are right now at home. Secondly we cannot draw anyone as far as an opponent from the south or the west because we have to use all those weekends for conference games so how you develop your fan base when you aren’t able to bring in the bigger programs like Michigan basketball brings in UCLA. If I was able to bring in a top notch team like Arizona State I know without a doubt we can pack the stadium when you have the success at your program and bring in another top team you will be able to draw. Until we get to these points were not getting a total level playing field and anybody with reasonable sense can understand.

GBMWolverine: Can you talk about your freshmen and your team in general:

Coach Maloney: Not many positions open on our team with a veteran ball club back we have Leif Mahler (captain) is going to play second base as long as Jason Christian is healthy which he had shoulder on his non throwing arm at the end of the summer ball and he wont come back until February 1st and we are expecting him to make a full recovery. Kevin Cislo to center who played 2nd base last year, Adam Abraham (captain) is back, Ryan LaMarre can play all the outfield position that we are very high on and expect him as a to play as a freshman. Alan Oaks has been playing right for us who hit the dramatic home run in the Vanderbilt regional. We have Derek VanBuskirk (captain) in left and Zach Putnam can play in left as well. Our young pitchers we like them a lot, but not sure how much they will contribute with our veteran staff that remains to be seen. Travis Smith is a guy that could make an immediate impact and Tyler Burgoon who also pitches and also will be our #2 catcher from Ohio he should be able to make an impact as a freshman. We have Chris Berset who is the #1 catcher going in and Nate Recknagel possible could be back there.

GBMWolverine: What is the difference between Ball State and Michigan as far as recruiting?

Coach Maloney: We have the opportunity to cover more territory in our recruiting then we would have at Ball State. There it was more concentrated recruiting compared to Michigan where we have the opportunity to expand that area, but my philosophy is to try to get the best players in-state first and build on that with Midwest players and I am sticking to it.

GBMWolverine: How does your staff deal with players leaving early and having limited recruiting compared to southern schools?

Coach Maloney: We only have 11.7 scholarships we can only really prepare in our mind and prepare the best we can with how we recruit. The flip side of that are that teams in the south and west can overextends their aid for players and run off players, that is why you see a lot of repeat teams in Omaha more often as well. We do not do that at Michigan or the Big Ten and that makes our challenge much more difficult to build a team at the highest level so you cannot make many recruiting mistakes if you do it will not be possible to keep the same level or if you get hit hard with the draft in anyone year clearly will affect you at that moment.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff

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