Interview: Illinois-Chicago coach Mike Dee

Head coach Mike Dee and his Illinois-Chicago Flames battled Vanderbilt hard on Friday and Saturday before falling 2-1 and 1-0. After Sunday's 14-5 Commodore victory VandyMania spoke with Dee and got some comments from him on Vanderbilt.

VandyMania: Tell me a little about your program. You've had three wins over the top 20 programs so far this season. You must be pretty proud of that.
Mike Dee: Yeah it feels good to win and it feels good to win against people who obviously very talented and well coached and all that sort of stuff but we have an expectation to win those games and I don't mean that we are going to win all of them but we wouldn't schedule people that we wouldn't think that he had a chance to play with so we're actually a pitch or a hit away from winning a few more of those games which I'd feel alot better about.

VandyMania: Where did you find that Chrnkovich kid? He looked really good yesterday.
Mike Dee: He's a Chicago kid. He's a local Chicago kid that we really like. Not only does have some physical ability but he's an engineering student. He's really smart and we felt that he had a chance to learn really quick but to be real frank with you he is pitching a lot better this early than we anticipated that he was going to and I'm really pleased that he is and he is in a really good place mentally right now.

VandyMania: Yes, he is. He did really well yesterday. Zac Peterson also did a good job on Friday. Looks like you have two outstanding pitchers there for starters.
Mike Dee: Yeah. I'm going to be honest with you I've been coaching for 25 years and he is without a doubt the toughest kid I've ever coached. He is really really mentally tough and what you saw on Friday is the way he pitches every week and has really for three years. He is a really tough on competitors.

VandyMania: What are some of the things that make Vandy tough to play against.
Mike Dee: Well, they are just very, very intense and they are very, very disciplined and obviously their pitching is outstanding but it's not just the ability, they've got great command and great poise and the hitters are just very disciplined. It's hard to get them off balance and they have to pitch so hard; every pitch matters. I thought we did a pretty good job on Friday and Saturday but they still managed to score a couple of runs and you know their pitching held us down. They are so well coached and have so much energy; they are really fun to play because they do things right and they don't take things for granted and they are going to be a very difficult team for anybody to beat on a regular basis because of that.

VandyMania: Having played against two top 20 programs do you think that Vanderbilt is a legitimate No. 1 team?
Mike Dee: Well they are certainly the best team that we have played. That part I can tell you. There are a lot of teams out there that I haven't seen but I've seen a lot of good teams over the last 20 years and none of them played any harder than these guys do and have the right amount of talent and understanding of what they're trying to do so. I think they're legitimate at the top of the heap right now and it will be very difficult for somebody to take them out of there.


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