Coaches Corner: Art Inabinet


inabineta-head08.jpgFrancis Marion skipper Art Inabinet recently took some time for Diamond Prospects to speak on topics ranging from his Junior College background to his thoughts on how the recent NCAA rules for Division I schools will effect DII programs.

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

AI-18 years in college coaching; 4 as an assistant and 14 as a head coach. Horace Turbeville (Winthrop) encouraged me into college coaching after my playing days, spent two years as a graduate assistant working for him.

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

AI-The relationships that are built with the players that can last a lifetime.

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

AI-The coaches are the leaders of the team. It is our job to teach, motivate, discipline, monitor and ultimately guide our student-athletes to success both on and off the field

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

AI-The amount of time and hard work baseball players put into being a student-athlete. Our players are responsible for conditioning, weight training, practicing, involvement with community service events, study hall, and our guys also help out with fundraising. They also go to class for 15 hours a week and are responsible for tests and other projects that must be completed.

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?

AI-This is easy for me, I look forward to going to work everyday. There seem to be new challenges, almost daily, when dealing with 18-22 year old young men, there is never a dull moment. Coaching is similar to anything else you enjoy, if it’s fun you will find a way to stay involved.

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

AI-My wife, Kim, is a former college softball coach, so she understands the time involved in being a coach. Our son, Reese (6), will go to work with me sometimes just so we can be sure to spend time together.

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

AI-This is a great question. We consider ourselves at Francis Marion as a program that literally is "old school". We always put the program at the forefront of everything, including the individual. We often speak about how the program is bigger than anyone associated with it, including the coaches. Our style of play is "old school" in that we, first and foremost, structure our philosophy around pitching and defense. We are firm believers in that if the other team does not score we will never lose.

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

AI-This is a player who truly engages in both the rigors of being a student and an athlete. We remind our players often you are a student first and an athlete second.

DP-How has your junior college background helped you at FMU?

AI-It helped in the knowledge there are a lot of JUCO players out there that can help any program. As a result, we recruit JUCO players at Francis Marion University, when we feel we need experience at certain positions or on the team in general.

DP-Describe your World Series experience a couple of years back:

AI-It was a week of fun, food and playing baseball. It is something that our players can all be proud of and strive to attain. Those memories will last a lifetime.

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

AI-When we won the 2006 South Atlantic Regional and went on to play in the D-II World Series.

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

AI-Horace Turbeville persuaded me into this profession and helped to mold me as a coach. The lessons he taught me go further than the knowledge of baseball into the very make-up of who I am as a person. So now it is my opportunity to pass on those that come through our program the same core values that he shared with me.

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

AI-DeComba Connor (North Greenville College) 4th round, Dylan Owen (Francis Marion University) 20th round and Erin Jones (Francis Marion University) 31st round (did not sign)

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

AI-It is very important to be a good teammate, because it can contribute positive vibes for team chemistry. Good teammates always put the team first and themselves just as a part of the team. What constitutes a good teammate? Always run balls out, do not make excuses, always give your best and prepared to work.

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

AI-I may wear the same pair of game pants over and over (without washing) until we lose a game.

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

AI-Most high school players today only play one sport and if it is baseball, they will now play year round with Fall and Summer ball.

DP-Now switching gears, think back to your days as a baseball player, please list any notable accolades: 

AI-While playing at Winthrop, I had 13 assists in one game versus Campbell (as a third baseman). At the time it was only 1 assist shy of the NCAA record for assists. Hit 3 homeruns in a doubleheader versus UNC-Asheville.

DP-What is your greatest high school thrill?

AI-When we won the state championship in baseball in 1982 at Calhoun Academy (24-1).

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

AI-While deer hunting in 2004 harvested two deer with one shot, there was another one behind the one I was shooting at and to my surprise got an eight point and a six point!

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

AI-Kirt Manwaring (Coastal), Eric Hansen (Wake Forest), Bill Spiers (Clemson)

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

AI-My dad, he was very hard on me growing up, but now that I have a son, I understand what he was trying to instill in me. He was always tougher on me than any coach or teacher that I had while growing up, it was not to be mean, he wanted the best for me.

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

AI-When Cal Ripken, Jr. set the record for most consecutive games played. He is a class act and a great ambassador of the game.

DP-Who is you favorite athlete outside of baseball?

AI-Michael Strahan

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

AI-Brandon Webb and Dustin Pedroia, both make the best out of their abilities.

DP-Who is your favorite MLB team? 

AI-Baltimore Orioles

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


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


DP-What are some of your hobbies? 

AI-Hunting, fishing, bowling and golfing

DP-What is your favorite movie?

AI-The Longest Day

DP-Who is your favorite actor? Actress?

AI-Rutger Hauer and Demi Moore

DP-What is your favorite meal?

AI-Steak and baked potato

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

AI-I watch the History Channel.

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

AI-Winston Churchill, FDR and Joseph Stalin. These three men altered the course of history.     

DP-Where do you see yourself in ten years?

AI-Hopefully coaching college baseball or in Administration.

DP-What is your opinion on the new rules that the NCAA recently adopted in regards to roster limitations, the APR and the 25% scholarship rule and how it may end up affecting the Division II schools?

AI-This rule will put parity in college baseball, it will be difficult for the major D-I schools to stockpile players. Mid-major D-I schools and D-II’s now have a better opportunity to acquire a player that may have gone to a major D-I school for books or a small scholarship. The margin in error for recruiting at the major D-I school has now been reduced.

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

AI-If you want to play college baseball don’t be afraid to market yourself: send a college coach a DVD, we can assure you we do look at them! Call the coach and tell him when you have a game and see if he can come see you play! Call and ask the coach does your program have any upcoming showcases you might attend. There is one common thread to all these ideas we gave you and that is we want to see you play (in person) so we can decide whether you fit our program.

DP-Coach, we appreciate your time and responses. Thank you for your support of DP!