Date: March 14, 2019
By: Eric Leary
Today on Under the Gun, Dirtbags Baseball has Tyler Jackson with us, who is the hitting at North Greenville University. Coach Jackson is in his fifth year with the Crusaders in 2019 as they are off to a solid season.
Coach, get us started with a look at how you’ve gotten to this point in your coaching journey and who have been some major influences.
Some of the major influences in my coaching journey starts with Monte Lee (Clemson) and Matt Heath (UT Martin). These two taught me much of what I know when I was a player for them at College of Charleston. Then getting to spend a year coaching with them and seeing how much time they put into the program really show me how to go about the coaching world. Landon Powell (North Greenville) gave me a chance as a young guy a year out of college and I will always be thankful for the opportunity that he has given me. Jon Coutlangus (North Greenville) has not only helped with baseball but also just how to go about everyday life.
As a player, you started in JUCO baseball with Spartanburg Methodist and then went on to join a DI program in the College of Charleston. Now at the DII level with North Greenville, how have experiences at different levels of college baseball provided you perspectives that you can translate into helping your players.
My experiences from the different levels has shown me there is a lot of good baseball out there. Each level the game is still the same and the talent is just as high at some of the best D2 as there is at the D1 level. Just making sure that every guy is ready to go is the biggest thing because there are some games that there isn’t many fans in the stands.
The success this staff has had at North Greenville in a tough Conference Carolinas has been impressive – a regular season title, a couple of conference tourney titles, and two regional appearances, not to mention several players who have gone on to play professionally. What is it about North Greenville that has allowed these teams to achieve at this level?
The players and the culture. Each year we have been able to bring in more and more talent that has helped us get to the point that we are now. I think the players are drawn to us because of the culture that we have created where we work hard but we also have fun while working hard. If we can created an environment where the players love coming to the field every day then that means they are also going to work and get better. That’s our goal for the guys every day is to show up and get better.
More specifically, the Crusaders have seen an uptick in offensive performance in your tenure – share your hitting philosophy.
My hitting philosophy is different depending on the type of hitter. Each one of our guys are on their own individual plan and have their own routine that they do. If you come watch us play you will see guys that will leave the yard but you will also see guys that bunt and play small ball. The more diverse of and offense you can be the harder it is to defend. The main reason we have been successful as an offense is because we have had guys come in and buy in to what we are trying to do as an offense.
What are some traits and characteristics you feel are essential for a player to employ if they are really serious about wanting to be able to transition from being a high school player to joining a college program and being productive?
You have to love the game and you have to work hard. Those two things are the drive behind every great player. If a coach has to motivate you to work hard or to put extra time into becoming a better player then chances are you’re going to struggle. Everyone at this level is talented but the difference between guys that have impacts on programs are the self-motivated guys that are also very talented.
Finish us up with a message you’d like to give to youth baseball today where the players are acquiring all the skills that will soon make them the student-athletes that college programs are looking to identify and recruit.
Know what type of player you are. If you’re a guy that can really run then play that way. If you’re a power guy then be that. I love guys that have a high baseball IQ and play the game how it should be played. Also remember that baseball is a game and to not be afraid to fail. Everyone who has ever played this game has failed at point. When you fail it is a chance to learn and get better. It is really the best way to learn at this game because you test your limits as a player because you never know what you can achieve if you never try to achieve it.
Some great insight from Coach Jackson today. We here at Dirtbags Baseball are wishing him and the North Greenville University program all the best as they continue to battle in the Conference Carolinas this spring.