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The huddle

April 22, 2019

UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA HEAD BASEBALL COACH JOHN ANDERSON INTERVIEW

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Without a doubt Coach John Anderson is one of the best head baseball coaches out there. He has been ahead of the Golden Gopher baseball program for 37 years. Anderson and his teams have appeared in 19 NCAA postseason games.

Not only was University of Minnesota Head Baseball Coach, John Anderson, named to the ABCA Hall of Fame, he is considered a fair coach by his players. If you don’t believe us, here are some of his accolades.  

Coach Anderson compiled a 946-591-3 (.615) overall record in 26 seasons at Minnesota and is the winningest coach in Big Ten history with a record of 427-229 (.651). The legend won eight regular-season titles and eight Big Ten Tournament titles.

Anderson was 17th on the active wins list among Division I coaches. He ranks first in the history of the Big Ten conference in NCAA Tournament appearances (15), first in Big Ten victories (427), is tied for first in the Big Ten Tournament titles (8) and is tied for fifth all-time in regular-season Big Ten titles (8).

A big WOW factor is that 81 of his players have gone on to play professionally in his 26 years at Minnesota. Fun Fact: He has had 15 All-Americans and 50 players named First-Team All-Big Ten. Off the field, Minnesota has accumulated 250 Scholar-Athletes and 134 Big Ten All-Academic Accolades during Anderson’s 26 years as head coach.

He is also responsible for starting the Pro-Alumni Game and the Dairy Queen Classic, which has been played at the Metrodome for 23 years and is known as one of the top college baseball tournaments in the nation.

In the summer of 1993, Anderson was the head coach for Team USA. He led the team to a 30-16 record during the summer tour, including a silver medal in the Intercontinental Cup in Parma, Italy. At the time, it was the USA’s highest finish in that event since 1988. He also went 8-1 with Team USA in the World Championships. Anderson was an assistant coach for the USA team in 1989-90.

Coach Anderson is the eighth Minnesota baseball coach and the 15th Big Ten coach to receive ABCA Hall of Fame honors. Once again, he is a LEGEND! I can say this because I played for him.

LRT Sports: What are the essential qualities you look for in a recruit?

Coach Anderson: Physical ability is the price of admission for the D1 level. They must be academically fit for the institution. The makeup of the person is very critical and their motivation to play the game.

LRT Sports: What are the essential qualities you look for in a recruit?

Coach Anderson: Physical ability is the price of admission for the D1 level. They must be academically fit for the institution. The makeup of the person is very critical and their motivation to play the game.

LRT Sports: When does the recruiting process start for the athletes? 

Coach Anderson: The recruiting process is getting faster and faster today. We are now recruiting 9th and 10th graders, sometimes earlier.

LRT Sports: How do you recommend an athlete reach out to the coaches if they want to play baseball for the University of Minnesota? (Email, telephone, online questionnaire)

Coach Anderson: Around the rules of compliance, email is the best way to kickstart the communication. They should include a written profile of your academic and highlight tape that showcases their natural abilities.

LRT Sports: When recruiting a player out of state, do you recommend them sending in a ‘highlight tape’ or watching them in person?

Coach Anderson: We like to see a person more than one time before committing to them. We must witness the recruit in a game environment where we can see the intangibles, how the player handles adversity and his attitude towards his teammates during the good and the bad.

LRT Sports: What are the main actions you look for when watching a recruit?

Coach Anderson: The complete makeup of the player.

LRT Sports: Are you likely to keep a recruit in their current position, or is there a possibility they can play other positions?

Coach Anderson: We are always looking for recruits that play multiple positions. The best high school athletes are typically versatile, so when we get them on campus, we leave the possibility open for them to experiment. You may start them at that position, but they may move them to a different position for the better of the team.

LRT Sports: What camps, leagues, showcases, and teams would you recommend a recruit attend to gain exposure?

Coach Anderson: We would like to see the recruit play in for his local community’s team with the players he grew up with. If you have the ability, people will find you. Attending specific college prospect camps can be beneficial for both parties. You get to spend some time with the recruit and work with them as a player. The recruit should identify some of the aspects that they are looking for in a college experience before starting to sign up for travel teams, showcases, and camps.

LRT Sports: How significant a factor is social media when recruiting players? What advice do you have for athletes regarding social media?

Coach Anderson: It’s apart of the recruiting process today, so you must have coaches on your staff that are following these recruits. One must be careful what they put out there because you can never take it back. It can help you, but it can really hurt you.

LRT Sports: What advice can you offer a recruit who wants to play baseball for Minnesota?

Coach Anderson: You will earn your opportunity to play; we don’t make promises about playing time. There are no guarantees. You must be selfless, go to class, and be a leader on and off the field. This is about the team, and you only get what you earn.

LRT Sports: When you have a recruit on a campus visit, what qualities do you  look for in the recruit and the recruit’s family?

Coach Anderson: Learn more about their family dynamic and their background. Get a better idea of if the player is a fit at the University.

LRT Sports: What advice do you have for recruits that get turned down by their dream school? What are their options if they don’t gain recruiting attention they desire?

Coach Anderson:  Sometimes it’s bad timing, but they might have room for you. It’s not always about if you’re a good player or not; it’s about the demand for your position. There is always more than one school that can fulfill your college experience needs. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify your options because only a certain amount of players can play at that school.  Recruits can help themselves by investigating what their real opportunity of playing there.

LRT Sports: Are you the only one on your staff that does the recruiting? If you have help, how do they communicate their evaluations to you?

Coach Anderson: No, as a coaching staff, we are allowed to have the head coach and two others to recruit actively. We exchange information about each other through an online website where we can create a player profile for each recruit. It is essential that there is a central location for each coach to share their evaluation.

LRT Sports: Who makes the final decision when offering a scholarship to a recruit?

Coach Anderson: All the coaches weigh in, but the head coach makes the final decision. There may not be some agreeance, but it is my job to make those decisions.

YOUR JOURNEY STARTS HERE