Q & A with Head Coach Tim Corbin
initially interested you about the Vanderbilt position?
“It was a combination of things. The commitment to
baseball, the new stadium, the school’s academic reputation,
coaching in the Southeastern Conference, and living in Nashville
were all factors. The fact that you are dealing with kids
that place a high emphasis on competing at the highest level
in both baseball and academics — the Ivy league school
with the SEC baseball competition. That was all appealing
“When I came for my interview I wanted to be sure
baseball was important to people at Vanderbilt. Regardless
of what type of coach you are, in order to have a successful
program, the administration has to be fully supportive.
If they are not, you have no shot what so ever. They have
to be supportive in helping you financially. They have to
be supportive in all aspects of helping you recruit kids
and be willing to give you the resources that it takes to
compete with the other teams in the SEC. If you can compete
with other teams in the SEC then you can compete with the
top teams nationally.
“That’s what I wanted to see. By visiting
and talking to people and having a Chancellor that is behind
athletics and an athletics director and administration that
takes a keen interest in what you are doing — that
all was appealing to me. I felt like it could be the place
“If I was going to leave Clemson it had to be for
something good. I wasn’t going to leave just to become
a head coach. Becoming a head coach was not my main goal.
My main goal was to go to a school that in time had a chance
to go to Omaha because that’s all I think about.”
What was the key to your success at Clemson?
“The key was having a head coach that gave me free
reigns in recruiting and allowed me to do my job. That was
how I learned so quickly. My personality matched up with
his. We were both driven. We wanted the same things. I was
very loyal to him. He was very loyal to me. I think anytime
you have a staff that stays together as long as we did you’ve
got something special. When you have consistency among your
staff it helps the team go a long way.”
an experienced recruiter, what is your plan to attract talented
student-athletes to Vanderbilt?
“The plan is first to try to recruit the state of
Tennessee as best we can. It’s our home state. It
makes sense to get the best players in Tennessee to Vanderbilt.
By keeping those guys in state, it draws interest in your
program from a local and statewide standpoint.
“But you also have to recruit some of the best players
in the country. Everyone knows what a degree from Vanderbilt
means. Everyone knows Vanderbilt from Alaska to Maine. They
know the academic reputation it carries across the country.
Now we have to raise the bar for athletics just as high.
A tremendous move toward that was building the stadium and
emphasizing the importance of baseball.”
What do you discuss with potential recruits about
“I talk to them about having the same vision as I
do — to come into a program and try to elevate the
tradition. I try to draw the analogy of why I decided to
come here and what was important to me as a coach. I think
they can draw upon being a student-athlete that’s
being recruited by other schools that are very competitive
and might have been more successful than Vanderbilt has
been. But yet they want to be part of the journey in getting
Vanderbilt to the next level. That’s what I try to
sell. But I don’t involve myself with kids that have
a low energy level or don’t have the same ideas that
I have as a coach. It is important to me as a coach to get
the best players, but not at the expense of doing things
the right way.”
What characteristics will your teams possess?
“I would hope that our players appear to be hungry
and enthusiastic about what they are doing. There’s
a workman-like effort to what we do. We want to improve
upon one aspect of the game everyday. The team knows that
defense is an emphasis. I explain to them that you have
to bring that to the ballpark every single day to be successful.
Defense allows you to stay close. It keeps you in the game
and then hitting allows you to win those games. When it
comes to building a team, pitching and defense are at the
How will Vanderbilt’s style of play compare
to the previous teams you have been associated with at Clemson?
“You can expect to see some similarities to Clemson.
It is only natural for certain things to rub off. Coach
Jack Leggett was the very best coach from which to learn.
I like being part of that game where pressure is put on
other teams by virtue of what you do. But I also think that
each team is different from year to year. Last year at Clemson
we were a team that could sit back and hit the long ball.
Right now at Vanderbilt we don’t have those capabilities.
There are a couple of guys that have power potential, but
if we depend on that we won’t be successful. We have
to execute the short game. We may have to give up some at
bats to move runners over to score. It’s going to
have to be a team effort on offense. You can still be very
successful without hitting the ball out of the yard. Texas
was an example of that last year.”
would you describe the mix of coaches on your staff?
“I think it’s a great mix. I like our staff
a great deal. I wouldn’t have it any other way. They
are young, enthusiastic and hands on. We try to do everything
with our kids. We workout with the kids. We teach with the
kids. All of our coaches have the ability to get out on
the field and demonstrate.”
Bakich also has tremendous energy as a recruiter and working
with the players on the field as well. Derek Johnson has
great energy and has the kids’ best interest in mind
at all times. He is a tremendous teacher with a very professional
approach. He is very black and white and gets something
out of those kids every day.
also rare when you get a guy of Michael Holder’s stature
as a volunteer coach. He has a great baseball background,
having played at Georgia Southern. His father, Terry Holder,
is one of the more prominent high school baseball coaches
ever in Georgia. He brings good experience to the team and
does a great job with our catchers.
“I love all three of them.”