Ready for a new era of Oregon baseball? New head coach Mark Wasikowski is. The 48-year-old met with the media for the first time after being officially introduced by Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens on Friday. Here are some of the most interesting takeaways.
Former players went to bat for Wasikowski (pun intended)
While interviewing six candidates for the job, Mullens had conversations with former Duck players Wasikowski coached during his time at Oregon as an assistant to former coach George Horton from 2012-16.
His players insisted that Wasikowski cared deeply about his student-athletes, developed them on and off the field and instilled a highly competitive spirit.
One of the main reasons Wasikowski returned to Oregon was to take the program to the next level.
"I want a program that wants to push the envelope,” Wasikowski said. “I want a program where guys show up every day to not only beat people, but make a statement that Oregon baseball is for real."
His goals are simple- make it to Omaha for the College World Series and compete for national titles. He noted that when the program was rebooted, that was the vision. "It's time to fulfill the dream," Wasikowski said. The Ducks haven’t reached the tournament since 2015, the season he left to become head coach at Purdue.
Oregon baseball new head coach, Mark Wasikowski at his introductory press conference:— Bri Amaranthus (@BriAmaranthus) June 14, 2019
"It was very difficult for me to leave here 3 years ago... This program started with a dream and a vision... It's yet to be accomplished... It's time to fulfill the dream."#GoDucks pic.twitter.com/T8CYzbDBko
Fast Hard Finish?
Although Wasikowski has a defensive philosophy, he also “wants to see the baseball hit into the gaps, hit over the fence." He plans on leaning on pitching and defense as Oregon’s sustainable product while also creating an entertaining product for fans at PK Park.
Speed was a major point of emphasis. Wasikowski stressed the value of stealing bases, and pushing tempo to put pressure on opposing teams.
The Oregon baseball program is going to get a much-needed fresh start. Wasikowski said players will have a chance to forge their reputations in his eye in coming months. It’s important to note a number of current players were at the press conference.
Wasikowski also expects to complete his coaching staff in coming days.