Coaches Corner: Kyle DiEduardo – Winthrop


dieduardokyle-head09.jpgCoaches Corner – Kyle DiEduardo, Winthrop University: Eagle pitching coach Kyle DiEduardo (left) is in his eighth year at Winthrop, fourth overall in charge of the moundsmen. In his Q & A for DP, he spent quite a bit of time answering us in great detail. Not only does he provide an interesting perspective on an array of topics, DiEduardo also had a college roommate whose name you’ll know, that has a skill-set that is consistent with what college coaches are in search of…

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

I’m entering my 9th year coaching. I knew I wanted to be a coach after spending a year behind a desk doing a few internships with financial advising firms. I would watch the clock go by every day and didn’t enjoy the set hours. While being a student assistant at my alma mater, the University of Cincinnati, I knew I wanted to coach. I could spend all day doing something I loved and didn’t care about how many hours went by or how much money I made.

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

Helping players get the most out of themselves both on and off the field is very rewarding. There is a huge maturation process that takes place between when they graduate from High School to when the graduate college. They come in a boys and leave as men. It’s great to see where kids are when they enter a program and then where they are when they leave. I love keeping in contact with former players and seeing what they are doing with their life today.

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

Someone who is willing to be there for a player 24/7. Someone who truly cares about every player regardless of each one’s talent level. A coach is a leader of young men and needs to realize that he is always an example for his player’s.

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

That being a college baseball coach is a year round job. I often get asked, at Christmas parties or functions, from people what do we do in the off-season. Sometimes I think people do not realize what all is involved. Being a college baseball coach is a year round job. Here are a few things we do other than actually coach baseball: recruiting, team travel, camps, scheduling, video, equipment, fundraising, and lots of paper work and returning emails.  

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?

It really was and has never been about the money to me. I knew I loved it from the beginning when I could spend all day doing something and not get tired of it. I wake up every morning in a great mood and am always excited to get to work. Not many people can say that and there isn’t a price you can put on that. It was hard to stay afloat those first few years, but you do what you can to make it work. I am very fortunate to be where I am today. 

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

dieduardok-family09.jpgIt’s extremely hard. Coaching is a very demanding profession. Coaching is not a 9-5 job and we usually do not have many weekends off. My wife and I recently had a baby girl about 3 months ago, so now I’m learning a lot about being a dad. It’s hard being away from both my wife and now my daughter, but I try my best to be the very best husband and father I can be. My wife would definitely love to have me home more often but understands that I love what I do and hopefully one day my career can support our entire family. Coach Hudak is a great guy to work for and he allows all of us here to spend time with our families when needed.

DP-Quite a few rules have changed the recruiting game over the past 5 years. Which rule changes do you like, not like and how has it altered your approach to recruiting?

I really like the transfer rule. I think kids are more apt to think a little more about their decision before just committing to a school because they know that they will have to sit out a year if they want to transfer to another institution. In the past, I believe kids would go to the bigger schools and try to make it work there first and if it didn’t work then just transfer to somewhere they where going to play. Some kids do a little more homework before making a decision now.

I don’t really care for the NCAA telling us that we have to at least offer a kid 25% scholarship. I know when I went to school I was on a lot less than 25%. Every little bit of scholarship helps every family. It would be nice to be able to offer a kid a scholarship based on what we believe he deserves rather than the NCAA telling what we have to do. It would also be nice if we could be like most of the other sports and have more than 11.7 scholarships to distribute between 27 players.

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

Playing the game hard. Players not afraid of getting dirty. Hustling down the line even if they hit a pop up or ground ball out. Hustling in and out of the dugout after innings. Pitchers that aren’t afraid to pitch inside. They are aggressive on the mound, at the plate, and on the bases.      

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

A person who wants to first get a degree and second represent that institution both on and off the playing field.

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

Winning the Big South Championship in 2005 and going to my first NCAA Regional in Knoxville, TN.

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

Jeff Ditch, my former pitching coach at University of Cincinnati, Joe Hudak, and Scott Forbes would have to be the three people whom had the greatest impact in my coaching career. Jeff Ditch was my first mentor in the coaching profession and taught me a lot about work ethic, responsibilities in the office and he helped guide me early in my coaching career. One of the reasons, other than the weather, why I wanted to come south to Winthrop was to learn pitching from Coach Hudak. Coach Hudak has taught me a lot about pitching and how to run a program the right way. It is truly amazing when you look at where Winthrop was before he got here and to look at what we have now. I was able to coach with Scott Forbes, now at UNC, my first few years at Winthrop. He taught me a lot about how to live my life and how to lead college athletes. 

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

Mike Pelfrey (Wichita State), Mike Leake (ASU), Andrew Miller (UNC)

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

Being a good teammate is extremely important. Being a good teammate is being able to work with each other for a common goal. You don’t have to personally like everyone on your team or hang out with them, but you need to coexist with them. 

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

I have several, but they are very random and often start and stop based on winning or losing streaks.

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

I call it the Tiger Woods affect. A few years ago, everyone saw how good Tiger was because he started at a very young age with one sport and excelled. A lot of kids don’t play basketball in the fall, football/hockey in the winter, and baseball in the spring anymore. They are trying to skill themselves with one sport at an early age and better yet one position. I know of kids 8-13 years old that come to our youth camps that are just pitchers. Even kids in HS should play multiple positions and learn the game from different positions. I don’t think the specialization is good for their development as an athlete.

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

I pitched 8 2/3 of relief in a game versus Eastern Kentucky in college. Our starting pitcher struck the first guy out and then walked the next four guys in a row. I entered the game, and got a groundball double play to end the inning and then went the next 8 innings to get the win.

DP-What is your greatest high school thrill? 

Winning the District Championship.

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

Dan Uggla (Memphis), Jake Gautreau (Tulane), Nick Swisher (Ohio State)

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

My Grandfather. To know where he came from and how hard it was for our family back then and to see where they ended up is truly amazing. He and my grandmother did nothing but try to give to their children more than they had and I know my parents have tried to do the same thing for me. He always would tell me to remember two words, "Work Hard". He used to say that if you worked hard enough good things would happen. So far he is 100% right! 

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

Don Larsen’s Perfect Game in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series. I think to accomplish something so hard on a stage like the World Series and against an opponent like the Brooklyn Dodgers is something pretty amazing.

DP-Who is you favorite athlete outside of baseball?

Tiger Woods-before everything that has happened over the past few weeks

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

Pitcher-Kevin Slowey, because he played at Winthrop and it’s always great to see guys you have coached make it to the next level and be successful. Hitter-Albert Pujols, he might be one of the greatest hitters of all-time when his career is over.

DP-Who is your favorite MLB team? 

The New York Yankees

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


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

Pro Football or March Madness

DP-What are some of your hobbies? 

Golf, Fantasy Football, and Stocks/Finance

DP-What is your favorite movie?

Shawshank Redemption

DP-Who is your favorite actor? Actress?

Actor-Morgan Freeman Actress-Jennifer Aniston

DP-What is your favorite meal?

Dad’s homemade spaghetti with meatballs/sausage

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

I was college roommates/teammates with current Red Sox 1B Kevin Youkilis.

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

John Wooden, Herb Brooks, and Vince Lombardi. I always like reading about other great coaches and what makes them successful. These three men have all been successful coaches from their respected sport. They are true leaders and I would love to just sit and listen to everything they had to talk about. 

DP-Where do you see yourself in ten years? 

Being the pitching coach at an ACC/SEC school

dieduardok-head05.jpgDP-Give a high school player who is reading this article one piece of advice. 

The difference between those that are good at something and those that are great is hard work and dedication. Sometimes the problem with being good at something is that you are already good at it and you are not willing to put forth more effort become great. Are you willing to put forth the effort into transforming yourself from being just good at something to being great at it?  Extreme dedication and hard work are needed but I truly believe that anyone can achieve anything if they set their mind to it. Never let anyone hold you back from your dreams.

DP-Outstanding responses! Thanks so much Coach D and good luck to you in 2010!