In our continuing efforts to learn about recruiting, we scored an interview with Kentucky Wesleyan Associate Head Baseball Coach Casey Hamilton. Casey Hamilton joined the Kentucky Wesleyan College Athletic Department in the summer of 2016. A native of Ashland KY, Hamilton currently resides in Owensboro.
Thanks to Coach Hamilton! Enjoy the interview.
Trent: Every level of college baseball has its own unique flavor and benefits. Can you tell us what makes D2 baseball special for you?
Coach Hamilton: Having played at Mississippi State for Ron Polk and Western Kentucky for Joel Murrie and Chris Finwood, and getting the opportunity to be volunteer assistant at WKU for Chris Finwood opened my eyes to some great things. Moving on to Olney Central Community College (a junior college) and then to West Jessamine High school with my father, then back to college at NAIA Georgetown College is when I realized I really loved the recruiting and the developing aspect of college baseball. Todd Lillpop gave me an opportunity at Kentucky Wesleyan and I can honestly say it is the most fun I have had in college baseball. We play at the best Conference tournament I have experienced at Prasco Park. Everything is FREE!!!!
No arrogance is coming from me either when I say we play competition that would rival many Division 1 schools. Bellarmine, USI, Florida Southern, and Valdosta State just to name a few that have as much talent as I remember seeing back when I played and coached in Division 1.
Trent: Can you share an example of something you have seen at a game (high school or Summer ball) that put a player ON your list who was not previously on your list?
Coach Hamilton: Usually when you go recruiting, you have an idea of what you are going to see. Every now and again, you see an arm that was not on your radar that pounds the zone with more than one pitch, or a hitter that battles out an at bat against a projectable arm. Honestly for me, if I see a guy pressing singles into doubles or a pitcher throwing against a really good team and is just taking what the hitters are giving him, it just really perks me up and makes me want to stay.
Then you have the dirt bag, the person who does not look good doing anything but hustles his butt off, is on base every time, is vocal and enthusiastic, locks his feet on an HBP, and has the fight in him that we want in our players at KWC. We call them BUSRIDERS!!
Trent: Can you share an example of something you have seen at a game that eliminated a player from consideration? This can either be an action by the player OR by a parent.
Coach Hamilton: We all have the same dislikes in this area and it is our job as recruiting coaches to see through some/most of this. We all had parents or are parents and realize that parents would do anything for their kids. It all comes down to, in my opinion, is the prospect coachable? I really believe that if our ENTIRE coaching staff buys into the recruit and we can get him to buy in and trust in the TEAM process, then High School will be forgotten. The one thing that kids have to realize is that college baseball is not about what you did back in the day.
I like guys talking about their future in college and not what they did in the past.
Trent: What is the most effective way for a player to get on your radar? Should they reach out to college coaches?
Coach Hamilton: We get a ton of emails each week from players and coaches, and we try to answer them all. I believe if you are interested in a program that email is an asset as well as camps/showcases. We love guys that have emailed us and then come to our camps/showcases. We can see the player workout and have other colleges in attendance. In addition, I believe recruits/parents need to understand the needs of a baseball program. There have been many recruits that wanted to be here and I would love to coach, but we just did not have a need at their position at that time. It is also important for the school to be honest with the recruit and tell him and the parents the needs.
Trent: What are the most important steps for a player to find the right college FIT (athletically, socially and academically)?
Coach Hamilton: I believe this whole-heartedly and Coach Lillpop does a great job at explaining this. You have to like the coaches, you have to like the players you are playing with, and you have to make your parents happy.
- Liking the coaches means knowing that even when they are on you that day, they are on you because of something that needs to be done to help US win!! If you are always upset or second-guessing then this is not the right place for you.
- You have to like the guys you are playing with. In my opinion and what Coach Lillpop says, this is the easiest of the three. If you cannot get along with your teammates, you are probably on the wrong team.
- If we can make you a better person, help you graduate and help you know what it takes to be successful in the world then ultimately we have done our jobs.
You can follow Coach Casey Hamilton on Twitter at @Hamilton03Casey.