Innings with Kevin O'Sullivan
By Phil Stanton
Kevin O’Sullivan begins his first season as head
coach at the University of Florida. O’Sullivan spent the past
nine seasons as pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at
Clemson, helping the Tigers to nine straight NCAA Tournament
appearances and three trips to the College World Series. Before
their season opener at home with Siena, O’Sullivan took some
time to answer our questions about himself and the Gators.
First Inning – How excited are you for the
season to begin?
After scrimmaging so much against each
other, I know everyone around the country is ready for the
season to begin and to play a team in a different uniform. The
past few weeks have moved quickly leading up to Opening Night
and we're eager for the season to start.
Second Inning – What has been the biggest difference for you
during the preseason being a head coach vs. being an assistant
Probably the biggest change is making the final decision on
things such as the lineup, personnel and pitching rotation.
There are more responsibilities in directing a program,
including interviews with different media outlets.
Third Inning – What is the outlook for the Gators this
Our team's strengths lie in having an athletic lineup, being
sound defensively and developing consistent pitching. Our team
will be aggressive in every aspect of the game. We're going to
be better at base-running and bunting. Every guy in the lineup
will have the ability to lay down a sacrifice. We will not be
afraid to make mistakes on the field. We want to play with a
little bit of reckless abandon and have a chip on our shoulder.
We'll get out there and compete. These guys will be proud to
wear a Gator uniform.
Fourth Inning – What are you thoughts about coaching in the
SEC after spending many years in the ACC?
Top to bottom, the SEC is the best league in the country.
Every weekend will be a challenge and from 1-12 every team will
be difficult to face. The rivalries are intense and the crowds
at each park will make road trips even more interesting.
Fifth Inning – You were a catcher at Virginia. What makes
catchers such good coaches and managers?
Seeing the game from a different perspective enables
catchers to be put in a leadership role and also take charge of
a team's pitching staff.
Sixth Inning – You were a head coach in the Valley League and
the Cape Cod League. What do you draw from those experiences?
When working in those leagues, I had to recruit those teams
and it gave me the opportunity to develop contacts throughout
the country. Having the chance to manage for two months in the
summer was a positive experience in which I learned a lot.
Seventh Inning Stretch – You spent one year coaching in the
professional ranks. What brought you back to the college game?
Receiving the opportunity to go to a top program like
Clemson and to work for one of the most respected coaches in the
country in Jack Leggett was something that I couldn't pass up.
Being a part of that coaching staff and learning so much was
Eighth Inning – What are your thoughts on the uniform start
date for Division I college baseball?
I don't think that three weeks are enough for a team to get
ready - a 14-week schedule would have enabled us to play four
games a week instead of five and still play 56. Having four
weeks of prep time might have helped more.
Ninth Inning – How did you, a guy from New York State, like
your first winter in Gainesville?
Although I was born in New York, my family moved to Florida when
I was 12. I was used to this type of weather and coming back to
the Sunshine State is certainly an advantage we enjoy.