When Ryan Day talks about the Dirtbags, he starts talking a mile a minute; a habit that shows the new Director of Baseball Operations’ excitement for the baseball team’s upcoming season.
“[Day] brings a passion and a work ethic that will certainly aid us in his area of job responsibilities,” head coach Troy Buckley said via LBSU athletics. “Being a former collegiate coach is of great value and we are looking forward to his input.”
Day replaces Geno Deangelis and takes the director position at a time of high-expectations for the Dirtbags. Although the team has had regular season success, it has run into playoff trouble and failed to advance to the College World Series in recent years.
“It’s a reality, we haven’t overcome the hump of getting to [the championship] in Omaha, and that’s what the goal is,” Day said. “We want to put it in our guys’ heads, the law of attraction; they have to expect and see themselves going there.”
While his responsibilities are wide-ranging, he will focus heavily on recruitment, a historical strength for the Dirtbags. His experience as a pitching coach, camp coordinator, and assistant recruiting coordinator at Concordia University should help him maintain a tradition of producing Major League caliber players.
“Our associate head coach and pitching coach are the ones who go out in the field and do all the recruiting, my job is to help them with what players are out there, who they need to see, that kind of thing,” Day said.
Of course, producing major leaguers and winning collegiate national championships are different and sometimes conflicting goals. Effective situational baseball sometimes requires sacrificing personal stats, sacrifice bunts being the most obvious example. Players looking to impress major league scouts however, often want to flaunt their power and a high batting average.
“That should be the expectation, to win a championship,” Day said.
One of Day’s core challenges will be recruiting players who are willing to play with a team-first mindset, even when they are being professionally scouted for their individual talent.
“We really want this group to make it about not the destination, but about the journey,” Day said.
The Dirtbags’ journey begins Feb. 15 when they travel to Gainesville to open play against the University of Florida.