Baseball Factory is privileged to work with programs from every level of college baseball. We strive to educate and guide our players when it comes to choosing the right school. In our latest interview, Woody Wingfield spoke with Head Coach Craig Rainey from Adrian College. Adrian College has won back-to-back-to-back Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Conference Titles. Checkout what Coach Rainey wants his recruits to know, how his fall practices shape up and how video has helped his recruiting.
1. How long have you been coaching? How long at Adrian College?
I have been coaching at the college level for 23 years, four as an assistant and the past 19 years as the head coach at Adrian College.
2. Who are some of your mentors or coaches that you look up to?
I have been very fortunate to be around many great coaches not only in baseball, but for other sports as well. I have tried to take things from everyone that I have come in contact with. The person that made the biggest impact was Henry Mensing, who I first worked under as an assistant. He taught me to do things the right way, work hard and the rest will take care of itself. He later gave me the chance to be a head coach, when he became my athletic director.
3. What is the first thing about your school and program that you want recruits to know about?
They are individuals and we care about them as a person. We care about their academics, baseball and personal lives. We want them to grow into a great young man while at Adrian College.
4. What do you look for in a prospective recruit on the field? Off the field?
Well, of course, we look at their physical skills and their ability to play the game. But, just as important, we look at their passion for baseball. We like guys here that love to play baseball and are willing to show up every day and lay it on the line. Whether it is on the field, in the weight room or at practice, they are willing to give 100% to the team. Off the field, we look for players that are committed to their academics and being great teammates.
5. How as video helped you in the recruiting process?
It has opened the door for us to see many more potential baseball players and evaluate them. It definitely helps us get a better prospective of their baseball ability.
6. Obviously, Adrian has had a ton of success in the past few years, with back-to-back-to-back MIAA titles in the 2009-2011 seasons. What do you tell your team each year to keep them competitive?
It is always harder to stay on top of your conference than to get to the top of it once. We know there are numerous teams trying to get us, so now we need to work even harder to stay here. But really, it is about our players and their goals and expectation levels. Our seniors, year to year, have done a great job of passing on to the younger players what they need to be successful.
Teams with great leaders win championships.
7. Can you break down your fall practice schedule? What are you all trying to accomplish?
The fall is all about player development and getting the freshman into our program. We spend time working on individual skill development of each player, then, incorporating our team strategy in. It is a huge time for our freshman to get their feet wet, on how the college game is played and the skill set they will need to be successful.
8. Do you have a strength and conditioning coach?
We actually have a couple of coaches that have their strength and conditioning certification that help us with the design of our program. This is huge for our players because they actually lift and train for baseball specific needs.
9. What can you tell us about your facilities?
We are very lucky at Adrian College that our facilities are second to none. We have an all turf Pro-Grass playing surface surrounded by a full baseball type stadium. We have a full locker room, training room, umpires locker room, bathrooms and concession stand within the stadium. Last year, we built a new indoor hitting facility that features 5 batting cages and pitching area. It is 80'x120' fully turfed and heated for year round use. At any level, our baseball facilities would be outstanding.
10. What part of the 2012 schedule/year are you looking forward to the most?
Our conference schedule (MIAA) to get started because that is where the games count the most. If we can get through a tough conference schedule then the post season is a reality. While the early season is fun and competitive, the league schedule is where you need to perform your best.
11. Is there anything you would like to add about your assistant coaches, recruits, parents, or program that we have not asked you about?
I would like to give credit to my assistant coaches. I know they are vital in all we do and achieve here. I have been fortunate to have great ones. Aaron Klotz, Gordie Theisen and Luke Harrigan have been with me a long time and with their dedication and commitment we have been very successful. Xander Younce and Nate Sarkissian have spent a ton of hours recruiting our players. It has been awesome to have great assistant coaches and friends to work with. They make my job much easier. I would also like to thank Baseball Factory for all of your work promoting college baseball to young players and the opportunity to talk about our program.