CHAT TRANSCRIPT: Chat with Coach Pat McMahon

Coach Pat McMahon joined Gator Country for a lunch-time chat today and answered many questions from the fans. Here's our transcript from today's chat for those of you who missed it:

(Special thanks to Mark McLeod and John Hines for setting this up...)

Solari (Aug 24, 2005 12:00:17 PM)
Folks, welcome to Gator Country chat with Coach McMahon, who is the winningest coach (percentage wise) in Florida history!

Solari (Aug 24, 2005 12:00:46 PM)
I want to take the chance to thank Coach McMahon for joining us today.... This is a moderated chat where we'll field your questions and I will pass them on.

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:00:55 PM)
Thanks for having me, I 'm glad to be here

Solari (Aug 24, 2005 12:00:59 PM)
We'll get started now - go ahead and type your questions.

bossgator1 (Aug 24, 2005 12:01:08 PM)
Coach when did you first realize how special this team would be?

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:02:18 PM)
I am very proud of what we accomplished last year. The guys played their hearts out and always believed. They worked very hard in every phase, both on and off the field and I am a believer that hard work pays dividends in everything you do.

UFInsider (Aug 24, 2005 12:02:27 PM)
What was your favorite memory about the run to Omaha? How do you think that experience will help out this year?

Solari (Aug 24, 2005 12:03:11 PM)

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:03:44 PM)
Experience is a big teacher but each must take that and learn from it. The Super Regional here in front of the tremendous crowd was phenomenal and the support we had for both the Regionals and Super Regionals was great.

Bob Redman (Aug 24, 2005 12:04:02 PM)
Congratulations on a great season Coach McMahon, were you surprised to get as far as you did this year?

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:05:12 PM)
Bob, no because hard work, setting the tone and taking advantage of the moment is such a big part of preparation. We have huge goals every year but it was a very special year for so many reasons.

ApkGator (Aug 24, 2005 12:05:26 PM)
Coach, congrats on a great season. With the departure of Tordi how do you look to retool the infield? Who might step into the open spot/switch positions?

Solari (Aug 24, 2005 12:06:18 PM)

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:06:50 PM)
Obviously losing Justin is a huge void. We are very happy for him, it's a goal he has worked very hard for. He will always be a Gator. It will be an opportunity for returning players to shift positions and for some of our recruits to step in and play. Fall practice will be important to solidify all positions.

jhoyman (Aug 24, 2005 12:06:58 PM)
Hey Coach, since you are losing Boss and Horne, that would leave some openings in the rotation wouldn't it ? I'd like to tryout. Oh, and thanks for that wonderful card you sent me. I'll be coming to see you soon.

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:08:03 PM)
justin, we are checking on your eligibility status. it's great to hear from you. you are special, hope things are going well

PackTheMac (Aug 24, 2005 12:08:10 PM)
Congrats Coach Mac and Thank You for taking the time to hang out with your fans!! Is it easy for a an experienced coach to tell if a pitcher has improved when they report for the throwing program with Coach Jones or do you really need more to evaluate?

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:09:41 PM)
Nice question. Obviously we set up a specific plan for each individual. It's is their responsibility to 'work' the plan. That's where improvement results. Day-to-day hard work is how we get better.

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:10:45 PM)
Gavin is continuing to play football this year and we support that very strongly. We wish him and the football the best of luck this fall. We expect Gavin to play baseball again and look forward to having him on the field.

GatorTom (Aug 24, 2005 12:10:55 PM)
Coach is Tate Casey in the plans for pitching this year or is he only concentrating on football now?

Solari (Aug 24, 2005 12:11:15 PM)

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:11:33 PM)
Yes, he is. Similar to Gavin, he is concentrating on football and he and the football coaches will make that decision after the season.

franz (Aug 24, 2005 12:11:37 PM)
Coach, how are the renovations to the stadium coming along? How will this impact recruiting and the baseball program?

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:13:04 PM)
They are coming along very well. We are excited about them. It will be an adjustment - but in a very good way. Presently, construction is moving along. All teams in the Lemerand Center have had to adjust for locker room space, etc. but everyone will manage.

GatorTom (Aug 24, 2005 12:13:13 PM)
What rookie players have stood out to you who could possibly contribute to this team when Baseball starts?

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:13:55 PM)
We had our first team meeting yesterday. We will start workouts later this fall. Strength and conditioning is of utmost importance right now before we step on the field.

Bob Redman (Aug 24, 2005 12:14:46 PM)
Are there any young guys that we didn't get to look at much this year that may have a chance of making a big impact early?

Solari (Aug 24, 2005 12:14:53 PM)
(Ignore that one, please)

MajorGator (Aug 24, 2005 12:14:57 PM)
Coach - I know its early, but do you have an idea of what the starting rotation might look like for next season?

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:15:41 PM)
It is early...we have an idea if we started tomorrow but fall practice will be a huge step for our pitchers in solidifying roles.

GatorTom (Aug 24, 2005 12:15:47 PM)
Would you like to see an age limit when it comes to the MLB draft much like the NBA now uses?

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:17:19 PM)
It is tough replacing our four seniors - Mike Pete, Jeff Corsaletti, Tommy Boss and Connor Falkenbach. Obviously, the loss of Justin Tordi to the Cincinnati Reds and Alan Horne to the N.Y. Yankees this late - a day before school started - is an adjustement. I have always looked at it that it will be an opportunity for other players to step forward.

Ski Gator (Aug 24, 2005 12:17:37 PM)
Coach, I have seen Chas Spottswood from Key West pitch and most of the time no one can touch him. Do you expect him to get involved fairly quickly in the rotation? Thanks, and keep up the great job you are doing.

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:20:09 PM)
I have very strong feeling about the current MLB draft rules, a signing date much earlier in the summer would be a huge asset to college baseball. Having only 11.7 scholarships makes the late loss of players even more significant. We are very excited about Chas joining the Gator baseball program. He is an outstanding athlete from a great Gator family and we look forward to seeing how he responds to making the adjustment at the college level.

Solari (Aug 24, 2005 12:20:14 PM)

GatorTom (Aug 24, 2005 12:20:41 PM)
Just how good is Matt LaPorta?

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:21:38 PM)
Matt is an outstanding person. He is a great practice player with a strong work ethic. His experience this summer with the USA National Team will only help him get better.

bossgator1 (Aug 24, 2005 12:21:43 PM)
Coach, what areas do you need to address in recruiting this year?

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:23:43 PM)
We have worked very hard on our recruiting plan that we implemented when we arrived. I think we have made significant steps in so many areas, particularly in the state of Florida. The professional baseball draft has affected all areas of recruiting but we continue to make strides. In a lot of ways, it is a good problem for us to have.

GatorTom (Aug 24, 2005 12:23:52 PM)
Coach what area in Florida would you say you concentrate more on when it comes to recruiting?

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:25:30 PM)
GatorTom, really good question. It is as simple as our positional needs and where the very best players are that year. Best players means; who we feel will fit into our system, who are not just outstanding players but outstanding people with a great work ethic who can handle the high and stringent demands we place on our players in our system.

ApkGator (Aug 24, 2005 12:25:43 PM)
The high number of that a reflection of an aggressive philosophy at the plate?

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:26:52 PM)
We have got to cut down on swing and misses; a lot can be attributed to the outstanding pitching we see, particularly in the SEC and the tough schedule we play. A lot of related to gaining experience as young players.

franz (Aug 24, 2005 12:27:07 PM)
Coach, in retrospect ... how important was it to win that series against Miami? .... coming back to win the last two after losing the opener ... what kind of confidence booster was that for the team and do you think it had a long term positive effect?

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:28:35 PM)
We really enjoy competing against Miami. They are a well-prepared club with great talent. Rivalries are very special to compete in. I do believe it was a great series for the Gators, as we worked hard to get better during the season. The tremendous fan support for that three-game series set a valuable tone for the year.

NYGator1991 (Aug 24, 2005 12:28:44 PM)
Coach McMahon, do you and Coach Donovan, and/or coach Meyer compare notes when it comes to student athletes, and if so, what have you learned from either of those two?

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:30:21 PM)
I really enjoy talking with Billy and Urban - they are outstanding coaches and people. What makes the University of Florida such a special place is all of our coaches and the way we get along with one another, share ideas and philosophy.

MarkMcLeod (Aug 24, 2005 12:30:46 PM)
In your opinion is the Florida League (wood bats) a program that should see significant growth and success?

Solari (Aug 24, 2005 12:31:24 PM)

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:31:35 PM)
I am very much in favor of the Florida League - it is another avenue for players to improve. I appreciate all those who have helped get the league started.

gatorzz (Aug 24, 2005 12:31:45 PM)
Coach, with the national exposure of the team this past year on ESPN, coupled with the upgrades of the stadium, I think UF is put into a situation to start becoming a powerhouse. Will we see any more exposure of UF baseball on ESPNU anytime soon? In other words, has the SEC come to an agreement with ESPNU yet to broadcast UF games nationally? Thanks.

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:32:59 PM)
That's a good question. That would be a discussion that will come up at the SEC meetings, particularly among the athletics directors. I do hope we can continue to increase the exposure of the sport.

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:34:44 PM)
I am in favor of a national starting date. I think it would help market college baseball as a whole. In my opinion, that should be the middle of February for many reasons, most of all to fit in the 56-game schedule. I am not in favor of pushing the season back further, it would be a huge detriment to USA Baseball, the great summer leagues that I am a proponent of.

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:36:35 PM)
Bob, really nice question, and an important one. I think one of the easy answers would be the fact that we have many experienced positional players returning. Will they use that experience and grow and learn while continuing to improve? That is one of the many challenges. Needless to saty, I am very excited about the star t of a new season.

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:37:56 PM)
I think that one of the biggest areas of concern every year, particularly in college baseball, is the development of a pitching staff. The second factor is the depth factor - there are many reasons, mainly scholarship equations.

PackTheMac (Aug 24, 2005 12:38:07 PM)
Was the problem with Bryan Ball's arm something that we can possibly expect to see next season?

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:39:07 PM)
Bryan is really improved and battled for the ballclub. He rested this summer and rehabbed. Hopefully, this will be a big help toward preparing for the season.

UF23NotreDame3 (Aug 24, 2005 12:39:21 PM)
Coach, I think that Tommy Boss is a terrific competitor. What do you say to MLB scouts and coaches that can help him get a look? What are your thoughts?

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:40:43 PM)
Tommy Boss is an outstanding competitor, and more so an outstanding person. Needless to say, I am so proud of him in so many ways. We will continue to work very hard so that he will have an opportunity to continue his career professionally. I will tell you Tommy will be a success in anything that he does.

NYGator1991 (Aug 24, 2005 12:40:54 PM)
Congratulations on an outstanding season! I was wondering if you have seen a noticeable impact among players that you are recruiting in their attitudes towards UF as a baseball school.

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:42:05 PM)
Thank you for the comment. We have worked very hard in our recruiting plan to lay a strong foundation to work our positional and class balance and recruit the very best of the best. It is moving in a very positive direction in every way.

GatorTom (Aug 24, 2005 12:42:13 PM)
Coach just how important are the pitching coach and hitting coach when it comes to making out the gameplan for games?

Solari (Aug 24, 2005 12:42:43 PM)
Folks, we'll be wrapping this up in a few minutes.

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:42:58 PM)
Our staff is very important in every way. Coach Parenton, Coach Fleetwood and Coach Jones do an outstanding job.

Feeding Frenzy (Aug 24, 2005 12:43:18 PM)
Do you ever see an increase in baseball scholarships being allowed by the NCAA? It seems to be the biggest farce of any scholarship limitations and a real reason so many kids jump to the pros.

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:44:31 PM)
That's good -- you're speaking to the choir with that comment. It is very frustrating. However, I do not see that changing anytime soon. I do wish and hope but we will work within the constraints to do the best job we can.

GatorFansRule (Aug 24, 2005 12:44:38 PM)
Do you ever see college baseball going to wooden bats?

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:45:12 PM)
It probably won't happen anytime in the near future. We practice most of the fall and in many of our drills with wooden bats.

GatorTom (Aug 24, 2005 12:45:21 PM)
Coach if you had your choice what team would love to play against for a 3 game series?

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:45:42 PM)
Texas once again for the national championship

Solari (Aug 24, 2005 12:45:46 PM)
That's the last question, folks. Many thanks to Coach McMahon and John Hines for joining us today in chat!

Solari (Aug 24, 2005 12:46:00 PM)
Best of luck to you in this upcoming baseball season, Coach!!

BrowardCoGator (Aug 24, 2005 12:46:10 PM)
Thanks for coming in coach and congratulations on a great season last year. GO GATORS!

MarkMcLeod (Aug 24, 2005 12:46:19 PM)
Thanks to Coach Mac and Big John!!

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:46:21 PM)
thanks so much for the opportunity to visit. I really enjoyed the questions and hope to do it again soon.

GatorTom (Aug 24, 2005 12:46:22 PM)
Thank you Coach

gatorzrule (Aug 24, 2005 12:46:24 PM)
Thanks Coach. The Gator Nation is lucky to have a Class person like you as their coach

Solari (Aug 24, 2005 12:46:31 PM)
Hope to see you here again soon!

Feeding Frenzy (Aug 24, 2005 12:46:34 PM)
Thanks Coach

franz (Aug 24, 2005 12:46:36 PM)
thanks Coach!

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:46:38 PM)
take care, everyone!

Solari (Aug 24, 2005 12:46:41 PM)

NYGator1991 (Aug 24, 2005 12:46:44 PM)
Thanks agian

UF23NotreDame3 (Aug 24, 2005 12:46:45 PM)
Thanks for the win over ND!!

Coach McMahon (Aug 24, 2005 12:47:12 PM)
GO GATORS and on a special note wish all of our UF teams the very best of luck as they start their seasons

BrowardCoGator (Aug 24, 2005 12:47:14 PM)
Great job again to Ray and company for another great chat!

btgator (Aug 24, 2005 12:47:17 PM)
Thanks, Coach. Keep up the good work!!

PackTheMac (Aug 24, 2005 12:47:18 PM)
Bless you and the family!!

Solari (Aug 24, 2005 12:47:32 PM)
Indeed, Coach... We have a great school.

TBLightning (Aug 24, 2005 12:47:44 PM)
Thanks, coach!

Solari (Aug 24, 2005 12:48:02 PM)
Okay opening up chat.

Solari (Aug 24, 2005 12:48:16 PM)
Thanks guys for joining us!

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