Until the new FIU baseball coach is named, the GPP will try and round up as many of the candidates so that they may give their thoughts on the "Charmed" job they are pursuing. The first of our series of interviews is with um pitching coach J.D. Arteaga.
Before we get to JD, here's an update from sources and the FIU witches -- of course -- about the FIU coaching search as of Tuesday night. Former FIU pitching coach and current South Carolina pitching coach Mark Calvi interviewed today. That makes 4 interviews for the job: JD, Gino DiMare and Le Moyne College coach Steve Owens (interviewed Monday). Arizona State assistant coach Turtle Thomas is expected to interview for the job on Wednesday. Word is a coach could be named as early as Thursday or 10 days from now. Lazer Collazo did not interview and no word yet on Rod Delmonico interviewing.
Anyways, onto why do you want to be the man who leads FIU to Omaha....
JD, a former um lefty who holds the program's record for wins, pitched in the organizations of the New York Mets, Houston Astros and Texas Rangers. JD interviewed last week at FIU. The photo up above is JD pitching for the Caguas Criollos of the Puerto Rican Professional Baseball League.
GPP: What interested you about FIU?
JD: It's an exciting time right now at FIU. You've seen what's going on with Mario and football. I grew up around the campus and it's changed a lot. Any desire for the job got greater after seeing the facilities. FIU is such an attractive job for baseball. All the talent is in this area. It's not going to be easy to get them all, but you have to go and get the local talent to play here.
GPP: You guys beat FIU twice this year. What did you think of the FIU baseball team this year?
JD: They didn't have as good a year as they could have had. There's definitely some talent there. From the outside looking in, it looked like there was a lot of pressure there.
GPP: What can you do to make FIU better?
JD: My thing is you have to get the community involved. The community has to know your name, your face and so do the local high school coaches. Of course, you have to get the local players. There is so much talent in this area. I look at Louisville, who beat us this year and is going to the College World Series, they had 7 guys from Miami. That cannot happen. You have to give those players a reason to stay and play baseball here. I look at FIU like a Cal-State Fullerton. (GPP looked up CSF: 15 CWS appearances, that's pretty good) You have to stay local. There's plenty of talent in Miami, just like Los Angeles, to support 2 good baseball programs.
GPP: What are your strengths and do you feel you're ready to become a head coach?
JD: I can relate to people well. Whether it is out in the community or with players. As with any sport, there's a lot of psychology involved. You have to find out what drives some players. Some players like to be pushed, some like to be pulled. Am I ready to be a head coach? Absolutely. I've been an assistant for 5 years now and I have plenty of baseball experience. It's all I have ever done and known.
GPP: We've seen that FIU has had trouble developing pitchers since former pitching coach Mark Calvi left. Should you get the job, what is your plan for the pitching staff?
JD: You have to have a pitching coach, no doubt. I may handle some of those duties, but I will more than likely bring in a pitching coach. Everyone knows how important pitching is in baseball.
GPP: What should be the expectations of FIU baseball when a new head coach is named?
JD: It's definitely a job where you can build a quality program that wins consistently. This program right now is a "diamond in the rough". There is no doubt that FIU should be playing at the highest level of college baseball, going to Omaha. It's a strong desire everyone has. If it wasn't, then why is everyone applying for this job?
Thanks JD, for your time and thoughts and the GPP wishes you good luck in landing the job.
The FIU witches will review JD's answers about the "Charmed" job and see what they make of it in their coaching brew. And you guys thought, we'd get through a blog without a picture of the girls. Lucky you.
One thing the witches and myself have discussed that I'm sure some ignorant people may bring up: What if PG hires another um guy?
Well folks, let's bury this non-sense. You get the best coaches to win, regardless of where they previously coached. If FIU has a staff of all former um coaches and they win a football bowl game, lead the hoops squad to the Big Dance or reach Omaha to play for a national title, then no one will ever say another um-peep again. Forget, where these coaches are from and focus on the here and now -- FIU.