Youngstown State University's new head baseball coach Steve Gillispie spoke of high expectations and optimism surrounding the Penguins program when he addressed members of the local media for the first time on Wednesday at the Beeghly Center Coaches Court on campus.
Gillispie met with members of the media at 3 p.m. in his introductory press conference, then spoke on the Ryan and Christian Show on ESPN 1240 just after 5 p.m. Gillispie, the eighth coach in school history, is also scheduled to throw out the first pitch at tonight's Little League Championship Game at the Field of Dreams in Boardman.
On taking a job in the North with a program that has struggled recently…
"You look past some of the recent history and look a little deeper. Not too many years ago you find a conference championship and an appearance in the NCAA Regionals. That's a great place to start. Getting up here and having the opportunity to see the facilities and the resources that are available was very exciting. They'll be a great vehicle for moving toward competing for Horizon League championships and at the regional and national level."
On message to fans on how the program can be turned around…
"The year before we got to Jacksonville State, they had an 11-39 year with three wins in the conference and only six Division I wins. The team batting average was .219, and the team GPA was lower than that. When you compare the two programs, Youngstown State far exceeds what was at Jacksonville State."
"It comes down to players and getting the talent level that is acceptable at the top of the Horizon League and grow from there. I think player development is huge in terms of getting our younger guys to reach their potential at an early point in their careers. We also want to stress competitiveness. We'll compete in the fall in a lot of different areas - academically, strength training, conditioning and baseball."
On how he's been successful recruiting…
"I've had some success projecting kids and using the programs that we have to develop their talent. It also comes down to relationships. You have to recruit families and build a relationship where trust is never an issue between the coaching staff and the player."
"We want to go after the best kids and show them that Youngstown State is a quality institution, a great place to get an education and a great place to have an experience in college baseball. We're going to go after the best kids that we can get and coach them up from there."