For this release of our Under the Gun series, the Dirtbags are excited to be joined by Robbie Allen, the head baseball coach at Brunswick Community College. As the first coach in the history of the program, Coach Allen has led the Dolphins since 2008.
Let’s get right to it. Start us off by taking through your career in coaching and offer us some of the influences that have guided you in your journey.
This is my 28th year as a head coach. The last 11 as the head coach here at BCC. I think there have been four men that have influenced me; my dad who was always there to encourage me, Jack Holley who was my high school football coach who always challenged me, Bill Wilhelm my coach at Clemson who helped develop my skill and Terry Collins who was my manager during my minor league career who helped teach me the ins and outs.
You have experienced the game at so many different levels as a player and coach. Speak to how those experiences have shaped you and what do you see consistent or different about the game from these different perspectives?
I think my playing experience has helped me explain to our players that this is a game of failure but that doesn’t mean that you accept failure. You have to learn from failure and don’t make the same mistakes over and over. As for the game itself it really hasn’t changed. I think sometimes we as coaches make the game harder that it really is, I like to keep it simple, work hard and have fun. We try to teach our players to beat the game itself. Do the little things well, play with enthusiasm and take care of your teammates. That’s how I was taught.
Since being at BCC from the beginning, you surely have seen challenges and accomplishments. Provide some insight on each and maybe share how overcoming a hurdle has led to a success or two in your time.
It’s all about dreams. Each player that has been through our program came to BCC because of their dream to play college or pro baseball. It is our goal as coaches to build a good relationship with them, their family and help them achieve their dream. We sincerely invest in our players and work really hard to help them find schools to continue playing at the next level. Believe me it’s hard to compete without scholarship money but many of our players have bought in to what we are doing. Thus we have been to the D-II World Series 3 out of the last 5 years.
What part of the game do you enjoy instructing the most? Also explain how you may go about developing a player to acquire that skill.
I really like all parts of the game but if I have to pick one it would be infield play. A good infielder has good footwork, so we start in the fall working on the feet to keep them working through the ball. We also include all the little drills that everyone uses but I think the most important thing is ground balls at game speed. We use a stopwatch with the fungo and sometimes we have players hit ground balls off the tee and run to 1B.
Tell us why you think a junior college or community college route is a good fit for some players?
Many players need to develop their skills and some need to get help with their academics. The JC/CC can help with both. Also a player could get drafted 4 times if he is that talented. Once after his freshman year at a CC, after his second year at a CC and then after his junior year at a 4 year school then after his senior year.
Finish up with a quick message to youth baseball. What needs to be the focus and how can the game work towards achieving that goal?
In my opinion the game has to be fun. The development of young players can be fun but at the same time there has to be competition. If a young player is never taught to compete they will never fully develop their talent.
A huge thank you to Coach Allen for his time in sharing with us and spending some time with the Dirtbags. All the best to him and his Dolphins going forward!