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Northwestern University Head Baseball Coach, Spencer Allen, on Field Skills

Coach Spencer Allen came to Northwestern in 2015. He helped the team set the school record with 50 wins and win the first NCAA Regional in the program’s history. Under his reign, Illinois won its 30th Big Ten championship and earned the No. 6 overall seed for the 2015 NCAA Baseball Championship.

Under Allen’s leadership, the team ranked close to the top of the Big Ten in numerous offensive categories. This includes leading the league in hits, runs, RBIs, total bases, home runs, and slugging percentages in 2015.

Under Allen’s reign, Three of his player went onto the professional level in 2019, with pitcher Nick Paciorek (6th round), Erro (17), and Dunn (20) all being picked in the MLB draft.

In the 2018 season, Allen mentored one of the Big Ten’s top infielders in Jack Dunn. The junior earned Third Team All-Big Ten honors while setting career highs in batting average, hits, RBI, runs scored, stolen bases, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage.

Northwestern is a prestigious school with a stellar athletic program. Coach Allen gives us some insight into what it takes to be a Wildcat baseball player.

LRT Sports: What is the best piece of advice that you can offer a recruit who is looking to play at the collegiate level?

The biggest piece of advice I could give would be to really focus on your own development and NOT the recruiting process. Find someone who will be honest with you on what your weaknesses are and work relentlessly at improving those weaknesses.

LRT Sports: What camps or tournaments would you recommend recruits to participate in?

I would recommend doing a couple of “National Showcases” that will get your profile out there nationally. Then I would look to do 4-5 camps that schools you have interest in. As you get closer to your senior year, you need to attend camps of schools who have an interest in you. Perfect Game and Prep Baseball Report are the two national recruiting services that provide an outstanding profile and video information when it comes to baseball.

LRT Sports: What do you look for as far as a recruit’s personality?

I look for someone who can hold a conversation and that has an interest outside of their sport. I love talking with kids who are confident enough to make fun of themselves. The last thing I always look for is someone who has respect for their parents. That is a big red flag for me if they do not respect their parents.

LRT Sports: If highlight tapes pertain, what do you look for in a recruit’s Hudl highlight tape?

I look for how athletic they are. If they are repeatable with their mechanics and how fluid and easy they move. Pitchers, specifically, I will look to see how their arm works and to see if there is any velocity that can give me a starting point.

LRT Sports: How can a student-athlete get on your radar? 

First off, they have to have grades and projects to have a quality test score. Intro email with a good quick (no longer than 2 minutes) highlight video and a quick summary of how they are performing as well as how well they did in the past. Lastly is to make sure they are playing during the summer so me or my staff can watch them. The best way is for our camps!

LRT Sports: What is NU Baseball’s mission?         

Trust. Passion. Development. We go into much more depth, but those three core values summarize what we believe in.

LRT Sports: What are some key things recruits should consider and say when contacting you?

Really all they need to do is have a realistic view of their skills as well as understand that we recruit the whole country. Being a good high school player in your region does not always equate to being a player we will recruit. Lastly, understanding that sometimes the needs we have are not a match.

LRT Sports: Which do you value more: hitting percentage or field skills?

Both! Fielding is easier to improve so I probably look more at hitters knowing we can get guys better in the field. 

LRT Sports: Since Northwestern is a prestigious university, what do you look for in recruits in regard to academics and athletics?

I look for kids who want to be great at both. Truly they are kids who want to be great in everything that they do. They do not accept being average. They do not accept failure bottom line. When we find those type of individuals, they will work to maximize their talents. That is all you can ask.

LRT Sports: What is the most bizarre question you have been asked by a recruit? 

I got asked if I was Marcus Allen’s son (Former NFL Running Back).

LRT Sports: What is the funniest thing that has happened to you as a coach? 

Got kicked out of a game one time for laughing. 

LRT Sports: If you had to describe your team in one word, what would it be and why?  

Potential – This is because we have shown flashes of being a good, but still have not proven it consistently.

Images courtesy of Chicago Tribune



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