Auburn, Ala.--Still less than a week on the job as Auburn’s new baseball coach, Butch Thompson has been a busy man since announced last Thursday by Jay Jacobs. Hitting the road immediately to Jupiter, Fla. last Friday for one of the biggest amateur baseball events of the year to check out several Auburn commitments in action, Thompson is now gearing up for the first big recruiting weekend of his tenure coming up surrounding the Auburn-Ole Miss football game on Saturday.
Before that happens however his staff could start to come together with the possibility that at least one assistant coach could be named this week in advance of the recruiting weekend. While that’s still in the works with Thompson expected to talk to several guys this week, he has several things in mind that he’s looking for when it comes to building his Auburn staff.
“I’m looking for men above reproach who are going to be builder of men,” Thompson said. “Of course you’ve got to put together the best baseball team, but at the end of the day I want our team to be great, to be held to a standard. At the same time I want to make a lasting difference with these guys. That’s what we want at Auburn. We can do both and we believe we can do both.”
Planning to continue his role as pitching coach and a lead recruiter even though he’s now the head coach, Thompson said that everyone involved will be a recruiting coordinator in his opinion because it takes everyone to get that job done. As for the baseball side of things for his assistant coaches he said it comes down to specific skill sets involved.
“To complete me a little bit I think we need somebody that can really teach hitting because that’s a void,” Thompson said. “I think we need some recruiting help because recruiting never stops in our league. That kind of transcends all our sports so we need a skilled recruiter that knows the SEC and doesn’t need a transitional period.
“We need an unbelievable field coordinator that can teach every position on the field,” he added. “Then as a head coach I think we’ll need a little help with the pitching, the day-to-day and pitch-to-pitch, somebody seeing every pitch. I’ll have a huge in pitching because I do it, but somebody has to be there to see every second and every moment to insure that the development is happening.”
Trying to get his staff in place as quickly as possible while also making sure he gets the right guys for the job, Thompson said that in his mind still the most important thing on his plate is making sure the guys on the current team transition smoothly and get prepared to improve as players between now and the season in February.
“I think the biggest challenge for me now is am I trying to do something with these players to make myself feel better or am I still trying to think about their development,” Thompson said. “January 13 is the first day of school and we’ll get one month leading up to the season. I think everything we do, even if it takes a few days here to get everything concrete and in line before we get out there, is really important to make sure I’m doing things that are still developing the player.
“I’m getting updates and with these individual meetings every time I spend a second with them I’m learning more about them. Instead of putting them through a tryout I just them to keep developing as ball players. I think we’ll bridge the gap pretty quick.”