HUNTSVILLE - Matt Deggs was announced as Sam Houston’s eighth head baseball coach on July 27th and finalized his staff in the weeks following. Two months later, the day arrived for the players to come back to campus for the start of the fall semester and to get acquainted with their new coaches.
“This is a day we’ve been waiting a long time for,” Deggs said. “This is something we’ve been preparing for and it’s exciting to get everybody in the same room. Now we can get everyone headed in the same direction and start getting after it together.”
With the losses of four seniors to graduation and five juniors to professional baseball, there will be 23 returning players joined by a crop of 17 newcomers.
For the new group of players and coaches, one of the most important parts of this fall will be getting to know each other.
“Obviously you have to become familiar with your personnel. It has been good this summer that I’ve met a bunch of the guys and gotten to know several of them. But it’s all about figuring out your personnel. Finding out who can do what, who goes where and who brings what to the table. More than anything, it’s important to get these guys to function as a unit in everything they do. That’s our biggest challenge moving forward,” said Deggs.
Deggs’ offseason program consists of the “Omaha Cup”, a 10-week competition in the fall where his players are split into three teams, the Cherokees, Generals and Texians. The teams will compete in several categories, from the classroom to the weight room, to games, practices and community service.
The team will gather at 6:00 a.m. throughout the fall for conditioning exercises and team competitions. The fall will culminate with “Championship Week” and will finish on October 31.
“We had our first team meeting where we mapped out the standards and expectations of the program. Moving forward we start the Omaha Cup. It’s a great way to break the monotony of the fall and places emphasis on accountability, discipline and trust. It’s a fun competition and a great way to build the team in the fall,” said Deggs.
This offseason will also see some minor work done inside Don Sanders Stadium. The first project of laser levelling the infield dirt is already underway. The infield will get filled with new dirt and conditioner, improving the playing surface.
Expectations are high for the new coaching staff and their overhauled roster. Sam Houston will be in search of a fourth consecutive Southland regular season championship and selection to the NCAA Tournament.
The Kats are certain to play another exciting schedule filled with tough non-conference opponents. Don Sanders Stadium will host games against some of the state’s top programs.