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June 14, 2019
THE MODERATOR: Welcome to Omaha for the College World Series. These are our Saturday coaches. First of all, Erik Bakich is the head coach at the University of Michigan; Tim Tadlock from Texas Tech; Mike Martin, head coach at Florida State; and Dave Van Horn, head coach at Arkansas. We'll start off with a comment from each of the coaches and then open it up for questions. Erik, start us off, please.
ERIK BAKICH: It's an honor to be sitting up here with these three coaches as a young head coach, and I admire three Hall-of-Fame coaches, and none more than the greatest of all time in Coach Martin. So just to be up here at the table with him is something I'll never forget. Certainly appreciate it and don't take it for granted.
Our program hasn't been here before in 35 years. We haven't navigated our way through the postseason, so we needed to catch lightning in a bottle, which we did with a walk-off win in the Big Ten tournament. We were one strike away from our season being over, and that win just did so much for our players' confidence, our belief, and just sparked a hot streak, and it's been different ever since. We've sort of caught fire, and that's what we needed. We needed an authentic, organic moment to happen on the field since we haven't done it before, and that's what you want as a coach with a program who hasn't done it. You do all this work and preparation and training and all this investment of time to hope that you get hot at the end, and so fortunately we have, and our players have been confident ever since, and it hasn't been perfect, we lost a championship game in the regional, blew a ninth-inning lead and got back up and came back to win the next game. Lost the middle game in the super regional, made five errors and walked 10, but our guys got back up. So they were unfazed, and really proud of how they've fought, and just getting to this particular stage is a huge accomplishment for Michigan, for the Big Ten. We're certainly fired up to be here.
THE MODERATOR: Tim?
TIM TADLOCK: Good to see everybody. Always good to be back in Omaha. Congratulations to Erik and his staff and the University of Michigan, and obviously Coach Martin and Florida State. I'm sure we'll all talk about him plenty. I'm pretty sure this press conference he could hold it, and we should just probably let him hold it.
Congratulations to Coach Van Horn and Arkansas, got a lot of admiration for all these guys and their programs. Was fortunate enough to watch a few games there on Monday. That was a lot of fun. We got to do a little bit of what you guys do, just kind of be a fan, and had the TV on and watching baseball, it's always fun.
Our team, we went through the regional at home. It was a real hard-fought regional. I think we ended up playing Dallas Baptist in the championship game, won I think 3-0, and Oklahoma State came in for the super regional. Quite honestly it was a grind. It was a heck of a series, as most of you guys saw. Any time you tee it up against a conference opponent, was in a league like ours for the second time for three games with Omaha on the line, and everybody knows everything about each other -- it was a lot of fun, but at the same time there was a lot of respect on both sides, and it was a really well-played series.
Our guys are ecstatic about being in Omaha. They don't take it for granted that we're here. They love this game. They love to play, and they're excited about it.
THE MODERATOR: Mike?
MIKE MARTIN: I honestly don't know where to start because we're very, very fortunate to be here. It was a year of ups and downs, but I did learn a lot this year, that it is amazing how far our program can go when I stay out of it. (Laughter.) And I did a good job of that, guys. These young men battled when things were not going well, and I really think the key to the season was when the guys that had been out here in '17 had a little meeting and kind of explained to the guys that -- well, we're in San Quentin. We're in jail. If we don't turn this thing around, we're not even going to get to a regional. And their experience permeated our young men, and all of a sudden an error was a big deal but yet there was none of this dropping their head. There wasn't any of these pitchers that would give you a little body language that would indicate they weren't real happy with what they were seeing. It turned into a real team.
These young men deserve all the credit for getting us back to Omaha. I can't say enough about our coaching staff. They really just jumped right in on all of this with the players, and it turned out to be that we got it done in the end, and it makes all of us proud to be here, and I can't tell you what it means to be sitting up here with these three outstanding coaches. I've got stories about every single one of them because baseball is a fraternity. Baseball coaches have their own fraternity, and I'm proud to be a part of it, and I'm certainly excited to be back in the great city of Omaha, Nebraska.
THE MODERATOR: Dave?
DAVE VAN HORN: Well, just humbled to be back, honestly. Sitting up here, it's always such an honor, you're sitting next to coaches that have been through the same grind that you have personally to get here. I have respect for all these guys. I've known Erik since he was assistant at Vandy, and I was really impressed at how strong he was because he hit Fungo with one hand. It was amazing. I'll never forget that. It was really impressive.
I've known Tim forever. I mean, just -- we were junior college coaches in Texas, and just kind of worked our way through it, and fortunate enough to be here.
And then Coach Martin, run into him a few times as a graduate assistant coach a long time ago, and then a couple of times in some super regionals, and just admired him for a long time.
Just talking about our team, it's been -- it's a team that we got together in the fall and we started fall ball. I didn't really know where we were or how it was going to -- how the season was going to end up because we had to replace a lot of players offensively, a couple of starters on the weekend, and we were going to rely on some backups from last year and a couple of transfers, and even a player that we sent to summer ball didn't even get to travel to Omaha with us last year. Those are the guys we're going to have to -- that we were going to live with all year.
It's been a real special year because I think that they all just stepped up to the challenge, and I watched guys get better all year. We had a couple of series that I think really in my mind separated us from some other teams. Coming back and winning a 15-inning ballgame on the road in conference, second game was a double header due to weather. We let the first game slip away with Campbell on the mound, and then we came back and fought and won 15 innings and then won on Sunday and got out of there. I started realizing that we had a pretty good team and they were really determined. Felt like they were tough, and I told them, I'm going to kind of get out of your way a little bit. We're just going to keep working. I'm going to let you guys run with this, and they've done a tremendous job.
Regional, we played well in the regional, super regional. Had to run into, wouldn't you know it, another SEC school for the second year in a row. Like Tim said, you play the league enough during the season and then you play them in the conference tournament. We played Ole Miss eight times this year. Last year we had to go through South Carolina. We played them seven times. We played them a game in the tournament. We played Ole Miss twice in the SEC tournament. They were the only team to win a series in Fayetteville this year. They've had our number for four or five years. We split with them in the tournament, but they actually eliminated us in the SEC tournament.
But once you get to that point, it's do-or-die, and I thought our players responded well and put together two good ballgames with one not very good one in between, and just really, really excited to bring this team back up here.
Q. Dave, baseball is a game that demands pretty much that you let go of tough nights and move on because everyone has them. That said, how hard was it for you personally to let go of how this tournament ended last year, and did that put a fire into the kids who are coming back who are still on the team that played last year, put a fire in them that burns to this very day?
DAVE VAN HORN: Man, you nailed that first question right out, didn't you. Just, bingo. (Laughter.)
I mean, it is what it is. Baseball, 27 outs. You've got to get 27. We had a good team last year. We fought hard. We were an old team last year. It's a different team than this team.
But you know, you've got to let it go. You've got to let it go. You've got to go out and recruit. You start fall baseball and never talked to this team one time about that play. It is what it is. I've only watched it two or three times. Once was enough, honestly.
But it was a great season last year, won a lot of games, sent a lot of guys out, got a lot of guys signed. But this is a different team. This team, I just tell them all the time, this is your team. It's not about last year. They're going to -- once we started playing well, then we started getting compared to last year's team. Then people would tell me this team is better than last year's team, and I just tell them, just go out and write your own story, and they've been doing it.
I don't really know what question you asked me after you started talking about it, to be honest with you, but we're here. Last year was last year. Same field, different players.
Q. Erik, talk about Ben Keizer's development this year, particularly what he did at UCLA where he got those big outs for you when you had to get those big outs.
ERIK BAKICH: Yeah, so Ben Keizer is one of our captains. Tremendous leader, just one of those guys that upholds the standards of the program on a daily basis. If there's a guy who's going to police the team, it's going to be Ben Keizer.
UCLA is one of the best teams we've seen in years. I mean, there was no holes in that lineup, 1 through 9. They had a first-rounder last year hitting in the 9 hole. But just the best team we've seen in a long, long time, and statistically they hit 100 to 150 points higher against left-handed pitching up and down the lineup it seemed like, so it was a reverse split to put a left-hander into the game, but that's how much we trusted Ben Keizer's makeup, and we just thought, the game is on the line, we're going to go with makeup right here, and we're going to put Ben Keizer in, and he was excellent. It's the best two innings he's thrown all year, so I was really proud to see him on the bottom of that dog pile.
THE MODERATOR: Can you give us your starting pitchers for your games tomorrow?
ERIK BAKICH: Karl Kauffmann.
TIM TADLOCK: Micah Dallas.
MIKE MARTIN: Drew Parrish.
DAVE VAN HORN: Isaiah Campbell.
Q. I had two questions, one for Coach Martin and one for Coach Tadlock. Coach Martin, if you could kind of give a scouting report on Drew Parrish, what kind of season he's had, and Tim, I was wondering how Gabe Holt is doing, and is he expected to play tomorrow?
MIKE MARTIN: Drew started off very slow, for him. He had a very good year last year. He's a young man that has a fastball in the low 90s, a very good curveball and a very good changeup. He mixes the pitches very well. He feels his position well. He is a complete pitcher, and we're very fortunate to have him on our team.
TIM TADLOCK: I don't know if you're related to Gabe. Are you from Georgia?
Q. I was born in Michigan, actually.
TIM TADLOCK: Okay. Are you fast? You need to be one of those two things probably to be in his family. It's day-to-day with Gabe. He's as tough a kid as it comes. He's got a contraption to get his thumb in his glove. It wouldn't surprise me at all tomorrow morning if he says he's playing. If he says he's playing, he's hitting lead-off. So there you go.
Q. Dave, you kind of touched on it earlier, Jacob Nesbit, last year when you were making your run he went to go play in Bismarck. Now this year he comes over, he got good at-bats, and he's a key piece for your lineup. Can you talk to me about his decision last year to go play in the North Woods League and his progression this year?
DAVE VAN HORN: Well, we helped him get set up in North Woods League during the fall of his freshman year, decided to red shirt him. We had a veteran team, didn't feel like we wanted -- he wasn't going to get to play enough to waste a year, honestly. He needed to get stronger. He needed at-bats. He went out there, once we finished up with our finals in May of 2018. A lot of guys left, and he was one of them. He sees us go through the regional and the super regional, and all the way to Omaha for a couple of weeks, and he's up there playing ball. Played pretty much shortstop all summer, and he got 150, 200 at-bats, and he came back in the fall this year and he was a lot better player.
You know, we had lost a lot of people. I played him at second, I played him at short, I played him at third because I didn't know honestly if he was even going to make the team after last summer, and he came back, and not only did he make the team, he's starting. It's a pretty good story. Here he is a kid that couldn't even travel up here with us last year, we send him out. He comes back, battles, and been the starting third baseman just about all year, made four errors all year at third base, which is incredible, and he's got a lot of clutch hits. Batting average isn't maybe what you want it to be, but he's driven in over 40 runs, so he's got some big hits for us.
Q. Coach Martin, this is the 17th time at CWS; what advice do you have for coaches who want a track record like you? What's your secret?
MIKE MARTIN: It's one of those situations where guys have to go out and work hard, and that's what all of us try to get across to our players. Dave just mentioned about a young man going to the summer league. That's extremely important to all of us because that's how a young man gets opportunities. He comes back, he's a different player because he's competing against players from all over the country, and it makes them better, and that's one of the prerequisites, you might say, for that young man to have. When he comes back, he knows, I can play with these guys.
Q. You were here two years ago, but there's only a handful of players left from that team. How do you prepare your guys for this environment with the stakes that come with it?
MIKE MARTIN: I think the big thing is there are no freshmen on our team now. They've played, gosh, 60 ballgames, so no excuses in that area. I think the preparation is done, as I mentioned, with what has transpired with our team, the way they came together. But you just -- you just don't know what's going to happen. You just want to go out there and be prepared on a daily basis, and I think that's what our guys need to understand when we play. Just be prepared, understand the nuances of the other team and be prepared for it.
Q. My question is for Coach Martin. Coach Van Horn alluded to the 2004 and 2009 super regionals. What do you remember about those two meetings previously with Arkansas?
MIKE MARTIN: It was really an eye-opening experience when we went down there in '04. Fans are just tremendous. The facilities are outstanding. It was a let's-see-what-you've-got situation, and they showed us what we got. They outplayed us. They deserved to win, and they advanced.
In '09, I remember a misplayed fly ball that we had, and they took full advantage of it, and again, came out on top. I look at that as a program that is at the top in college baseball. They don't beat themselves. There were a couple of times that the Florida State team did not do what they were supposed to do, and they deserved to get beat.
But I hope -- no, I don't have to say that. I ain't going back down there again. (Laughter.)
Q. Coach Van Horn, talking with Isaiah, he attributed a lot of his development to just improving and the thinking part of the game, the analytical part of the game. Where have you seen his development grow in his time at Arkansas in that aspect?
DAVE VAN HORN: Well, you know, last year Isaiah was our No. 3 pitcher. Our No. 1 went 14-0, was drafted pretty good. Our No. 2 was a left-hander, pitched real good all year. We didn't score a lot of runs from him. I don't remember his record. And then there was Isaiah.
Once the season ended here, he had an opportunity to sign a professional contract and make some money, and his family and him sat down and talked about it, and they came to us and said, I'm coming back. One season, and he knew he was our No. 1 pitcher, and he didn't go home all summer. He stayed and worked. He got himself in great physical condition, and he just led everybody when they got here as far as the pitching staff.
I've seen such development in him mentally when runners were in scoring position. The first couple years here, if they got runners on, those guys are more than likely going to score. Now he fights through it, it doesn't bother him. That part of it was amazing.
You know, the analytical part, he's worked with Coach Johnson and Coach Hobbs. We're talking everything, spin rate, this, that, you name it, and he's into that. Very smart, he's already got his degree, and you can't outwork him. But the mental part of his game -- the physical stuff was there. Once he started thinking, hey, I'm the man, I've got to be the man, he became the man, and he's done a tremendous job for us this year.
Q. Coach Martin, you've mentioned earlier a team meeting that changed the course of this season with your players. Do you remember when that was and who were some of the leaders that called that meeting?
MIKE MARTIN: I'm sure that it was Mendoza, but nobody is so-called taking credit for it. Mendoza from Mineola. And Drew is our captain. He's a young man that has a very good future in this game. I think he just saw that there was a need for something to transpire, and he took the bull by the horns.
The nice thing about it is the entire team looked up to him. It wasn't somebody that some of the guys were just not really sold out to. I guess like any other team. But Mendoza is a guy they're all sold out to, the way he plays, the way he conducts himself on and off the field. A great leader.
Q. Erik, what's kind of going through your head sitting up there with these guys, and what has this experience been like the last two days here in Omaha?
ERIK BAKICH: Waiting to hear what Coach Martin says next is really what's going through my head. Just taking in the nuggets, like always.
No, just super excited to be here, obviously. I mean, this is uncharted territory for our program, for the Big Ten. You know, just set out this year to have team 153 of Michigan baseball history be a team that's bookmarked in the Michigan baseball history book, and in that amount of time we're the eighth team to advance this far. We just want to stay loose and stay confident and continue to play well.
Q. First of all, congratulations, coaches, for getting back to Omaha. Question for all of you. I asked a question this morning, the park sometimes can play big. Thoughts on your defense overall as it developed during the spring, and arm strength on the outfielders as far as firing the ball back in, needing cut-offs or plays for the plate?
ERIK BAKICH: Well, we played five games here just three weeks ago, and it really depends on which way the wind is blowing. If it's blowing in, the outfield can really shallow up, especially depending on which direction. But it is a big park, and the way the backdrop is with so many people and a huge stadium, so hitting the cut-off man is really important and loud, convicted communication is really important. But yeah, fundamental defense is something that I think all of us preach, and this time of year, pitching and defense and timely hitting are going to be huge story lines.
TIM TADLOCK: Our defense really came together back about probably six weeks ago. We moved our third baseman to shortstop and really solidified some things fundamentally and really solidified just the communication within our infield. That's been really good for us.
As far as outfield throwing goes, those guys are out there to drive runs in most of the time and catch the ball that's in the air. If we throw somebody out at the plate, it'll be a surprise to me. (Laughter.)
MIKE MARTIN: I've got a quick story. He calls me about two years ago and says, you got a couple games, I've got two days, do you want to come? I said, I don't have any guaranteed money. He said, that's okay, we'll be down there next week, okay? Okay. So he comes in and kicks our butt. He ain't never going to get another phone call.
TIM TADLOCK: We were supposed to play golf, too.
MIKE MARTIN: That can be arranged. (Laughter.) I figured you'd be flaunting a Masters shirt today.
Our outfield defense has been pretty darned good all year long. Our center fielder was a fourth-rounder as a pitcher, but he's also a very good two-way player. Our right fielder, Reese Albert, is a very good right fielder. Our ballpark doesn't give our young men the opportunity to show how much ground they can cover because, as you well know, there's not a whole lot of yardage out there in right field. Left field we have a young man that you may have read about, Tim Becker. He's been playing very good defense for us, has a very good throwing arm.
TIM TADLOCK: What about the infield? I'm trying to get some more information. (Laughter.) You know I'm just kidding.
DAVE VAN HORN: I'll start with our outfield. We have a really good center fielder, Dominic Fletcher. He's been starting center field since he was a freshman. He's a guy if you run him in the 60-yard dash, he's not going to light you up, but as far as his routes, his reads, his jumps, whatever you want to call it, they're incredible. It's probably the best center fielder I've ever had, and I've had some really good ones.
I'm not sure what round he went into, sandwich pick or whatever this year. His brother plays second base for the Angels. We used to give Dom a hard time when his brother was in the Minor Leagues, just kind of kid him around the batting cage, saying you'll never be as good as your brother. Then all of a sudden his brother got called up to the Big Leagues and we started feeling bad about it. But Dom is pretty good.
Right fielder is kind of more of a hitter, big left-handed hitter, but our field is a little shorter in right. He does a good job out there. And the left fielder is a freshman, hits in the 9 hole, and it's more about his defense than the offense at this time. They all throw all right.
Infield has been solid. You know, if you look at Casey Martin, our shortstop, he's made some errors, but he's made some plays that I don't know if anybody else can make them. Got the quickest speed I've ever coached. It's unbelievable. He's made some great plays, and I'm just glad he's with us.
And then the other three guys, their fielding percentage is very high. They've done a great job. I really like our catcher. Defensively he's kind of the glue that holds it all together. Big-time leader. He's the youngest of three boys. One of them signed out of high school, one of them signed professional after three years, and then he came up and he's about as tough as they get because they beat on him forever, and he knows the game. He's really smart.
So you know, defense has had some really good days. This past weekend we didn't make an error in three games. Made a couple mental errors out there, but on the scoreboard we played pretty clean. We played pretty good defense down the stretch.
Q. Coach Martin, you knocked off Georgia, you knocked off LSU, now you've got to play another SEC team. Just wondering how you feel about that, given your success in the tournament so far against SEC teams.
MIKE MARTIN: If I was coming back to Florida State, I'd drop the University of Florida. That deserves more than that. You try to drop Florida, they run you so far out of Tallahassee, it ain't funny. But anyway, they've beaten us like a drum for a few years. The Southeastern Conference is obviously a very strong conference in all sports, but we just happened to have a weekend at the University of Georgia in which everything went our way. When we went to LSU, we just seemed to get the hits when we needed to get them. We got outstanding pitching from Drew and C.J. Van Eyk. It was just one of those weekends that you will always remember because there were some things that happened that you just don't expect to happen. But I was very, very pleased with the approach that our guys took at the plate, and I was obviously elated after the game was over because we were able to know we were coming back out here.
Q. Dave, can you kind of just talk about Jacob Kostyshock and what he's meant for you guys' bullpen because he's pitched 10 innings this year and he's only given up one earned run, so can you talk about what he's meant for the team?
DAVE VAN HORN: Well, obviously what you just said, he's been really consistent when we put him out there. There was a few weeks in there he had some arm soreness so we really took care of him. I think we didn't pitch him for three weeks, and then when we did, it was one inning here, one inning there. He threw two innings on Monday, really threw the ball well. That was good to see.
Throws hard, got a good slider, developed a good changeup. Another guy, this is another guy that he didn't get to pitch last year. He had to sit and watch. Went out to summer ball and did a pretty good job and made a little bit of a name for himself, came back in the fall and looked like he was going to be a guy that we could use at the back of the bullpen or maybe even start a little bit. But he's been big for us there, whether he's closing the game or just kind of bridging it until we can get to our closer.
Q. Given the demands of your profession, can you imagine coaching baseball at the age of 75? And if you can't win this, would a little piece of you kind of like to see Florida State win?
DAVE VAN HORN: A real small piece. (Laughter.)
I won't be coaching baseball when I'm 75. I'll be watching it. That's amazing to me. For someone to stay at one university as long as he's been, I think those days are gone. It's at this level now to keep people happy. He's done a tremendous job.
I think the key, he's always had great coaches and good people around him, a lot of support, but I won't be coaching baseball when I'm 75. I hope I'm alive at 75. (Laughter.)
TIM TADLOCK: I mean, I don't even know where I'm going next week, much less at 75. I'll agree with Dave, a very small piece as far as on the winning deal. All of us are competitors, and believe me, if we weren't here, yeah, absolutely. There was a time where absolutely you're thinking about it being 11's last year and you're going, until you qualify, you're going, it would be really cool if he could win this deal. And then you qualify, and you're like, no, that wouldn't be cool. (Laughter.)
And as far as -- I mean, I'll just say this: What a neat run he's had. It's been really fun to watch. You're talking about 40 years, I believe, and man, I think that started when I was 10 years old. So I've seen a big piece of it and being a big college baseball fan, that whole ride. For a guy to get into the game 40 years ago and to leave it better than he found it, that's something I think we all aspire to do.
ERIK BAKICH: I don't know if I can add anything to those guys. Coach Martin has been coaching as long as I've been alive. I just have so much respect for him. I've told him a couple of times now, I've asked him that question that every young coach asks the old wise coach, what advice would you have to have half the career that you've had. I sure hope so. That's 34 years from now, and I sure hope that's the case. But what an amazing career, a remarkable career, and to be able to do it with his son, I couldn't think of anything better.
Yeah, I think every single coach in the country was pulling for Coach Martin to get here, and I agree with these guys, now that we're all here, if we have to face him, we're not going to be feeling the same way. But certainly everybody is so happy he is here.
Q. Erik, there's now a 20-year streak of the No. 1 seed overall in the tournament not winning this, and you just knocked off UCLA to keep the streak alive. How does this happen? I've never seen anything like this.
ERIK BAKICH: It's baseball, and UCLA was the best team that we've seen, personally I've seen in a number of years, the most complete team, dominant pitching. They give you nothing. They don't walk you. They don't make errors. A lineup that was absolutely stacked. Coach Savage is one of the very best in the business, and the team they assembled was a historic Pac-12 team. We were on the other side of that in 2007 when I was an assistant at Vanderbilt and had five first rounders and four Major Leaguers on the field, and times it just doesn't go your way in a weekend, and it's baseball.
Q. Coach Martin, can you talk about Salvatore and how much he's improved this season?
MIKE MARTIN: That's a great question because that young man really has improved drastically from one year to the next. He's a guy that you look out there and you're not really impressed with him until you see him play 10 or 15 games in a row. He's very consistent. He's very much of a team guy. He's not a guy that falls in love with himself if he hits a home run. He's going to be Sadaharu Oh the next AB. He just gets up there, takes the same approach that he had when he got the home run. If he gets a base hit, fine. But he's a guy that I really think that one day he's going to play in the Big Leagues. I'm not saying he's going to be an Alex Rodriguez, but I'm telling you, he's that kind of player. He's a manager's player because if the ball is hit, you feel comfortable that it's going to him.
Q. For Tim and Dave, you both have talked about coming up through the JuCo ranks in Texas. What did that teach you guys about being a head coach? What are some of your memories about those days?
DAVE VAN HORN: I'll tell you what it taught me. It taught me that if you wanted the field to look right, you had to drag it yourself. You're going to recruit in your own car. You're going to spend your own money, and you're working to get where we're sitting now, and that's where it started. I think it made me a better coach, and I think you just -- you either sink or swim because you don't have a lot of help. We didn't even have a paid assistant. I'm asking guys to volunteer and help me out that are 22 years old just out of college, and what can you pay them, nothing. You get it on your resume, you can say you worked at the junior college. It teaches you how to beat the bushes, contact people, talk to people, talk to scouts and kids and parents, and it gets you ready for your next job, if that's what you want to do, if you have enough success.
I wouldn't trade those five years coaching junior college for any of them. It made me a better coach and probably a little bit better person.
TIM TADLOCK: It was more like 14 years for me. You know, it was the time of my life, quite honestly. It teaches you a lot of things. Probably the biggest thing, though, is right off the bat you've got to go look people in the eye and get them to come play for you because you've got a baseball field and you're going to ask them to drag the field, you're going to ask them to mow the field. You're going to ask them to help you along the way.
It probably more than anything teaches you to not shy away from going and getting good players, wherever you are. We had really good players, whether I was at Hill Junior College or Grayson County Junior College.
The cool thing is the relationships you build along the way. I've heard from -- this week literally probably heard from 40 guys that played for me 20 years ago. Those relationships go a long way.
A little tough when they send pictures of their kid in a baseball uniform at six, and they go, hey, he's coming to play for you, and I'm like, ooh.
But everything Dave talked about there, you're filling water coolers before you leave at 6:00 in the morning. You're driving the van. You're getting everybody out of bed if you need to. Just a lot of things along the way. You're driving the van back. I'm not a tobacco chewer, but there was one time coming home from Burnham, Texas, we left at 4:00 in the morning to play a triple header on a Saturday in the fall. I told them we'd come down there if we could play three in one day because we couldn't afford to stay at night, and I'm telling you, three miles outside of Burnham I had to stop and get a pack of Levi Garrett. I was like, I'm not going to make it, stay awake.
So it teaches you -- people will go play for you. I mean, that's the thing, too. It's probably the biggest thing. There's a lot of stories, but I mean, I can remember back when Dave had -- I think he had -- I think it was Todd Walker if I'm not mistaken --
DAVE VAN HORN: No, I was this close to getting Todd Walker to come play for me, and LSU come out of nowhere and they got him over Texarkana Junior College.
TIM TADLOCK: You're talking about, there's been a lot of good players go through junior college baseball. A lot of good coaches. There's a lot of good coaches right now in junior college baseball. It's very -- you don't hear about it. I bet there's not a person in the room that could tell me who won the national championship this year. Maybe a couple actually now that I look down.
And so it teaches you -- you get to do it all. I'm pretty sure Coach Martin got to do the same thing back when he first started in Tallahassee. I don't think that was much different at that time. You know, you live in a dorm, you raise your kids in a dorm, and you're coaching about 300 yards from there. It's pretty cool, until your wife has had enough of it I should say. (Laughter.)
Q. Tim, what kind of season has Bryce Bonnin had for you?
TIM TADLOCK: He's been -- he's gradually -- he's gotten better throughout the whole year. His stuff has been electric from day one. I can remember his first start, the presence, the mound presence was off the charts. Not sure he got a lot of people out that day, but we knew from that point on we were going to keep running him back out there, so we did that, and we reaped the benefits of it here down the stretch. He threw the ball really well.
Q. Coach Martin, of all the accomplishments, how meaningful has it been to have your son at your side for so many years through so much of it?
MIKE MARTIN: He's a lot like his mama when it comes to attitude. (Laughter.) He's an intense competitor. He loves a challenge, and Tim and Dave brought up recruiting. He's very, very much involved in the recruiting area. In fact, I would say he has recruited 95 percent of our guys on the team right now. And he has just been tireless in his efforts.
And I look back when I started coaching, and it was a lot different. In fact, when I started coaching, the football coach that lost the coin flip coached the team. But it's a lot different now, and Mike has been out there just showing everything that he can show to get back to come in and see what Florida State baseball is all about. And I think as a result of his efforts, we've had a recruiting class in the top five in three of the last five years.
It's fun. I'll say that. It's very much -- really to see him with that smile on his face like we had when we were at LSU is priceless. I'll never forget that as long as I live, to see your son and think that, heck, tomorrow is Father's Day, I'm entitled to get emotional. Wait a minute, tomorrow is Saturday, isn't it? (Laughter.)
Am I really 75?
Q. That's what I hear.
MIKE MARTIN: Don't believe that. I'll play you and bet on the golf course, too.
It's been challenging sometimes, but overall I'm a very blessed man to have had my son with me for 22 years.
THE MODERATOR: Guys, good luck tomorrow, and we'll be back tomorrow.
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