Q & A with Head Coach Tim Corbin

What 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 to me.

“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 for me.

“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.”

As 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 attending Vanderbilt?
“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 forefront.

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.”

How 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.”

“Erik 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.

“It’s 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.”


Vanderbilt Athletic Department
2601 Jess Neely Drive
Nashville, TN 37212
615-322-GOLD (4653)