Coaches Corner: Chad Amidon


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


This will be my 9th year of coaching and 8th as the Recruiting

Coordinator/Pitching Coach. Also, I’m proud to say that all 9 have been at the same institution.  After a summer of playing Independent Baseball and re-injuring an old elbow injury, current Head Coach Kevin Nichols asked if I would hang around and help with pitchers as well as the recruiting efforts, and I have been here ever since. Honestly, I had no idea what I was going to do after college. My whole life had always revolved around sports and I never thought about life after baseball.

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

Watching our athletes take on the same personality traits as their coaches (which might not be a good thing). Also, watching our athletes reach levels that they didn’t think they could reach. Building a program, many people in the baseball world deemed impossible. Life long friendships, is also a great perk.

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

For those that know me, know that I love confrontation. I don’t mean to step on toes with this answer, so I will say what I have to say with all due respect. To me the term coach means much more than teacher. As coaches we spend 20 hours a week with our athletes for 4 years not 4 hours in a week. We get calls at ALL HOURS of the day and night with problems other than math formulas. As coaches we have the ability to shape and mold young men. Not only men, but men that provide value to those around them and to there community, there has never been a player that has passed thru Erskine, that if they were to call me tomorrow with a problem that I wouldn’t try to help. Not only is a coach there for them during their 4 years we are there for them the rest of their life. I truly believe to a student-athlete after Mom and Dad, coaches are the next most influential people in their lives good or bad. No one can make me feel any different!!!

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

While coaching has great rewards it also has numerous downfalls. There are numerous arguments among households because of the immense time away from home. I hear coaches complain about the pay, I’m not sure they have any idea the level of pay that coaches receive at this level. If they did I’m sure they wouldn’t complain as much. Therefore, I have to work another job and still can’t make ends meet. So for those trying to break into the coaching ranks, plan on a 7 day a week 365 day work schedule; yes even holidays are a must. Rules state that we are allowed 20 hours a week with our athletes. The 20 hours is team related not recruiting and other behind the scene activities that must take place to have a successful program. I wish, at least at Erskine, that we were paid by the hour and had to clock in everyday, just pay us minimum wage and we’ll be golden!!!

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?

As I stated earlier, my life literally has always revolved around sports. I know that is a sad statement, but it is true. In High School I was a 5 sport athlete. Sports, was the subject that ever since I could walk that my dad and I always had a connection with. So, all my life sports and especially baseball was all I knew and is probably still so today. I not sure there is another skill that I’m good enough at, to hold down another job. I was very fortunate that Coach Nichols gave me the shot that he did. Honestly, it took a pretty big set to hire a 23 year old kid to be in charge of Recruiting/Pitchers. I like to think that it has been a good trade off though.

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

I use this easy principle. It starts with a phone call to my wife. I act very nice for the first few minutes and then I drop the bombshell to her that I’m not going to be home until very late then I wait. The next reaction I get is going to dictate whether I stay the whole game or if I get to stay for 1 or 2 AB’s. If it is going to be a week long trip I have to let her know about a year in advance so she is prepared for it (that is no exaggeration). Also, as I’ve gotten older I have learned how to work smarter not harder. I try to utilize our in state talent as much as possible. I like to think that it has work up to this point.

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’m glad to see the NCAA do away with the 4-2-4 rule. This rule states that a player attending a four year institution (we will call this  institution A) that wishes to transfer to a two institution is only eligible to transfer out of that two institution to another four institution (we will call this institution c) other than that of institution A is eligible only if they graduate from the two year institution. Even, if they were a qualifier out of high school. If you could follow the explanation of that rule then college baseball may be for you. People may not believe me, but I don’t like the roster limitations even though they don’t apply at the Division II level. I believe if a coach thinks you have the ability to play at their institution you should be given the chance to play were you want as long as you meet the academic and athletic requirements. There are a lot of kids passed over because institutions don’t have the roster room. If an athlete has the grades and athletic ability to play at the SEC/ACC level as a freshman or sophomore then I believe they should and not get passed over because of some roster limitation rule. I don’t agree with the new transfer rule. Again, I believe a student-athlete should have the opportunity to play were they want. There are many other rules that I disagree with, but I don’t have enough time to get into them. I will just say the NCAA states that it is about the well-being of the student-athletes, I’m not so sure. One part of becoming an adult is making decisions and learning from your decisions, but the NCAA believes that they know what is best for student-athletes!!! I believe there is only one book that we should base our decisions on and that is not the NCAA rule book!

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

I’m 30 years old, I have no idea what old school baseball means! I thought everyone knew that Erskine is trying to reinvent the game of baseball (that was told to me by a wise baseball man)! Baseball is a very simple game, drive in more than you let in! Another wise baseball man once told if you put an aluminum bat in a strong young mans hand and he centers up a baseball with BACKSPIN, were does the baseball go? Yes, you are right if you said over the fence. I’ve never seen a defense that can defend on the other side of that fence, but I could be wrong! If a pitcher holds us to 5 hits in game as a coach I sure hope at least 3 of them leave the yard! Here is a quick question if you don’t know the answer I recommend that you look it up. What two team’s lead Major League Baseball last year in homeruns? I believe there was a tie for second.

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

I believe it depends a lot on what sport you play and the level at which you play. In baseball and at our level it means academics always come first even if it means missing practice and in some cases games. In many cases, which is the case with me, if I wasn’t an athlete I don’t believe I would have gotten a college education. I do like the NCAA rules re-guarding GPA requirements and progression towards a degree for each year. I wouldn’t mind to see them change the rule to a straight across the board 2.0 for 4 years of college. If you love the game of baseball then you better learn to love the academic side that comes along with it!

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

We as coaches are frontrunners and this maybe the most memorable because it was the most recent. As weird as it sounds it wasn’t a win. It took place this past year. We were in the Conference Tournament Championship Game. We had won 3 of the 4 games on the year against this team, we had to get beat twice in one day to lose the conference crown. We had to get swept!!! A lot a people talk about teams playing not to lose, instead of playing to win. Well this was the day I knew what they were talking about! We got SWEPT, and trust me when I say this, NO ONE hates finishing second more than me!

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

As a person I would say my Parents and my Wife. As a coach there is only one person, yes one that is Kevin Nichols (our fearless leader at Erskine). This guy is a baseball genius (only in the game of baseball)! Not only can he hide my defaults as a coach because of our great hitters, but he was smart enough to hire me and give me my first opportunity as a coach. I will be forever grateful. I played for Kevin and have been with him for his entire college coaching career and have seen him mature into what I believe to be one of the best coaches in the nation, at any level hands down no question about it. I you don’t believe me just ask him.

DP-Who is the best player you have played against?

I attended Indian Hills CC, I got the ball to pitch the last 2/3 innings of a game against Maple Woods CC. We had the lead 2-1 or something close to that, after an error I got an opportunity to pitch to a guy by the name of Albert Pujols at the time had I no idea who this guy was. I was able to get the decision in the game and it wasn’t a win.

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

First off, I think AA switched this question on me, but right now I’m too lazy to check. I think it usually says and why is that important, but we will go with this question. I like this question much better anyway.

I believe baseball is an individual sport played as a team. No one else is going to throw a pitch, hit a ball, field a groundball, or catch a pop-up for you. No one needs to block for you, pass you the ball, or change a tire for you (sorry, but not a sport anyway).

I believe an essential part of being a good team and being a good teammate is someone who accepts their role on that team. You maybe a LHP and your only role is to get a LHH out in a certain situation, but that situation may determine the outcome of that game. Are you willing to accept that role or are you going to be ticked off when you get pulled off the bump when the next hitter is a RHH? That is being a good teammate someone who puts personal goals aside for the betterment of the team!

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

Yes, I’m a weird person just ask my wife. I have a lot of little quirks. I’ll give you a couple. I don’t believe many people know this, I try to hide it. I like to do general things in four’s on a good day and five’s on bad days. Example of this would be closing doors or turning off lights. During games I will dust off the edge of the dugout with the bottom of my shoes, it must be clean before the start of each half inning. Our players get a kick out of this so they keep me busy throughout the game. I also align shoes in the dugout do that they are perfectly parallel. My favorite, almost certain way to tell how today’s game is going to go is by my playing of solitaire if I beat the game within the first three hands we are going to roll. If I can’t beat within five hands it’s going to be tough road. Vegas style of course.

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

Self-realization, not many kids have it. I not sure if they did when I played either but it’s a pet peeve of mine. It seriously bothers me. I like to call it the American Idol syndrome. I think a lot of players think they are a lot better than what they are. We as coaches have to be Simon and a lot of players don’t like that. YES, I’m an Idol fan (early episodes, don’t lie you are too).

DP-What is your greatest high school thrill?

I won’t tell you the greatest thrill because it’s not appropriate. I will tell you my worst high school sports memory, because it still sticks with me to this day. During my senior year, we were playing in the football state semi-final game. We were that team that always went for two after a touchdown, not sure why but we did. We had in my opinion the best team in the state. We had practice extra points everyday in practice leading up to this game. Yes, everyday for about 20 minutes. You can probably start to put the pieces together here. We were down by 7 with 2:00 minutes left we scored a touchdown with somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 seconds left on the clock and yes we went for 2, needless to say we lost. Not to sure why we practiced the extra point conversion if we didn’t plan on using it. Coach if you read this shoot me a txt and tell me why!

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

There’s definitely a lot. Getting married, the birth of my son Ace, becoming a Coach, having a chance to play pro-ball.

DP-Who were the three best players have coached against?

Kevin Pucetus (Giants) can’t say were he played no free pub, Eric Lovett (New York Yankees), Casey Hodges (Braves)

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

My parents and wife. They have taught me life values. God and Family Always come first, though it may not always seem that way.

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

I’m definitely not a Red Sox fan, but when they won the series in 2004 after the 86 or so year drought. Just to see the look on the fans faces when they finally achieved something that they conceived impossible. Priceless

DP-Who is you favorite athlete outside of baseball?

Peyton Manning, players make coaches. I believe the colts win 11-12 games a year without a coach on the field, just Peyton. To say he is the best to play the position in my opinion is an understatement. He is also a very humble guy and therefore I believe is very underrated, shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same breath as Drew Brees and Tom Brady, that’s right Fantasy fans not even in the same breath!

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

Tim Lincecum, to say he is a long stride guy is an understatement. Not going to any more in depth than that we will save that for another interview. Albert Pujols mentioned earlier.

DP-Who is your favorite MLB team?

An A-Rodless New York Yankees! Since, he plays for the Yankees. My favorite teams are small market teams like the Twins and Brewers. The team that the Twins have year in and year out is amazing!

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

They are not many I can play anymore other than Golf.

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


DP-What are some of your hobbies?

Hunting, Fishing, and Golf

DP-What is your favorite movie?

Bull Durham, Gladiator, Old School

DP-Who is your favorite actor? Actress?

Kevin Costner, Denzel Washington, Sandra Bullock, Kate Beckinsale

DP-What is your favorite meal?

Meat and Potatoes

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

My wife is pregnant again! I also turned my life over to Christ about 2 months ago.

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

Jesus Christ, that’s it I’m good after this one.

I would also like to ask the Mayan Civilization what’s the deal with your calendar? Does it reset after 2012? That’s what I think, a 26,000 year life cycle and then it starts over.

DP-Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Somewhere in the game of Baseball, it may be tough but I would like to take over for Brian Cashman as the GM of the Yankees. Honestly, what a great name for the GM of the Yankees. How hard is his job? Not sure when Grienke’s contract is up, but I bet you 100 million dollars you can get him!

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

Have a very good idea of what you want to do coming out of high school/college. Don’t go into it like I did and just say I’m going to play baseball. Do some research on what it is that you want to do, look at the qualifications the employers are looking for out of college, do they prefer internships/experience, (I bet they do) take a summer off during your 4 years of college and see if you can get a great internship opportunity in the field that you choose. Depending on the field you choose to study in, see if there are certifications that you can get to help open doors in job market, if there are get them. Further your education as much as possible.

Another piece of advice from me would be when every you do something take pride in the task you are performing, I don’t care if it’s cutting grass, make that yard the best yard you have ever done. If you do this throughout life when you reach my age you can look back and admire everything that you have done with no regrets.

I would also like to give a piece of advice to the parents you can take it with a grain of salt if you choose. Remember that every habit whether good or bad will be inherited by our children and their justification for doing so will be. Well it must be alright because my parents did "this". We as parents are far and away the most influential figures in our children’s lives, let’s start being better role models for our children.