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Coaches Corner: Dusty Blake - Wofford College

blakedusty-head09.jpgCoaches Corner-Dusty Blake, Wofford College: Wofford recruiting coordinator Dusty Blake is amid his third season in the Palmetto State after spending his playing and early coaching career in North Carolina. In his Q & A for DP, Blake let's us know him better, talks about the Terriers night practices and family life too: 

DP-How many years have you been in coaching? What got you into the business?  

I'm in my 6th year of coaching. I was fortunate enough to be contacted by Mark Hayes (Head Coach) at Pfeiffer University when my playing career ended and he gave me an opportunity to join his staff.

DP-What is the most rewarding thing about being a baseball coach?

The opportunity to develop young men and be a conduit to their success on the field and as human beings is what I enjoy most.   

DP-What does the term "coach" mean to you? 

The term "coach" is very dynamic in my opinion. I believe we as coaches are responsible for finding a way to communicate, teach, motivate, mentor, discipline, and encourage every player through words and/or actions in order to help them reach their maximum potential.

DP-What is something you wish everyone knew about your profession? 

You have to love it in order to make the necessary commitment and sacrifices required to have success.

DP-We all know there is very little money in getting started in coaching at the college level yet the time involved is mind-boggling, why did you do it?

I had two choices when I finished school, take a job that would make it easier to pay the bills, or take a job I knew I would enjoy. 

DP-How do you balance the time demands of coaching and your family?

It's a difficult task to say the least. My wife is an exceptional woman and is very supportive of what I do. I try to organize my schedule around any opportunities I have to spend with my family. A lot of work gets done after they go to bed and before they get up. 

blakedusty-visit09.jpgDP-You've coached at the Division I and II level. What are some of the differences between the two? 

Off the field, the recruiting timeline is much different. At Pfeiffer and Catawba, the majority of players we signed were after the early signing period. At Wofford, the majority of our recruiting is completed by the early signing period. On the field, the best Division II teams would be competitive at the Division I level. There have been several DII teams that have made the transition to DI and were immediately competitive. However, I think there's a bigger gap among DII schools top to bottom compared to DI. 

DP-At Wofford, many of your practices are at night. Tell us the pros and cons to developing players under the lights:

The premise behind night practices at Wofford is two-fold. First, many of our games are played under the lights and we feel there is an advantage to practicing in that environment. Second, several of the classes and labs at Wofford are only available in the afternoons. Practicing at night gives our players the time needed to manage their academic requirements and allows us to have every player on the field at the same time and practice as a team.

DP-When you hear the expression "old school baseball", what does that phrase mean to you? 

Playing hard and working your butt off every day!

DP-What is the definition of a "student-athlete"? 

A student-athlete is an individual who can excel in both the classroom and on the field/court.

DP-What is your most memorable experience as a baseball coach? 

Winning the South Atlantic Conference with Catawba College in 2005

Winning the Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference with Pfeiffer University in 2004

blaked-signs09.jpgDP-Who has made the greatest impression on you as a baseball coach and why? 

I would be remiss to only named one individual to answer this question. I've been very fortunate in my short coaching career to have worked or spent time with 3 coaches who've taught me a great deal about the game. Todd Interdoanto (Head Coach-Wofford), Jim Gantt (Head Coach - Catawba) and Chris Pollard (Head Coach - Appalachian State) have all been major influences on me as a coach. 

DP-Who are the best three players you have coached against? 

Mike Leake - Arizona State, Justin Smoak - South Carolina, Ike Davis - Arizona State

DP-What does it mean to be a good teammate and is that important? 

Being a good teammate means putting your personal agenda aside and helping your team succeed any way possible. It's important for everyone on a team to pull the same direction; I think bad teammates make that task more difficult. 

DP-Do you have any superstitions? If so, what?

No superstitions.

DP-What do you see as the biggest difference in high school-aged players today versus when you played? 

I feel high school-aged players today have more opportunities to be seen and more resources at their disposal to improve their game. 

DP-What is your greatest thrill, or two, beyond high school?

The birth of my daughter, Mia. 

DP-Who were the three best players you played against? 

Stephen Drew- Florida State, Andrew Miller - North Carolina, Kyle Sleeth- Wake Forest

DP-Who has made the greatest impression on you as a person and why? 

No doubt my wife, Amy.  Like I mentioned earlier she is an exceptional human being. I don't have enough room to list everything but I'm a better dad, person, and coach because of her love and support. 

DP-What MLB feat in history do you wish you'd been inside the stadium to witness and why? 

October 27th, 2002. Angels won their first World Series

DP-Who is you favorite athlete outside of baseball?

Peyton Manning

Who is your favorite MLB pitcher and position player to watch?

Justin Verlander, Chone Figgnis

DP-Who is your favorite MLB team

Angels

DP-What is your favorite sport to play other than baseball? 

Golf

DP-What is your favorite sport to watch other than baseball? 

College Basketball

DP-What are some of your hobbies? 

Golf, Crossfit

DP-What is your favorite movie?

Family Man , Tombstone

DP-Who is your favorite actor? Actress?

Nicholas Cage, Kate Beckinsale

DP-What is your favorite meal?

Chicken Marsala

DP-What is something people don't know about you? 

I grew up working at a restaurant so I love to cook!

DP-If you could have dinner with three people in history, who would they be and why?

Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Martin Luther King and Jesus. They changed history while overcoming extreme conflict and adversity. 

blaked-uni09.jpgDP-Where do you see yourself in ten years? 

Hopefully running my own program!

DP-Give a high school player who is reading this article one piece of advice. 

If better is an option, good's not enough! Work hard and take advantage of every opportunity you have to improve your game.

DP-Thanks Coach! Best of luck to you guys this spring!