Q&A: Coach Willy Child

Inside The Ivy caught up with Coach Willy Child, the head coach of Springville High School in Utah, where the Cubs drafted first round pick Mark Pawelek on Tuesday.

Inside The Ivy: Coach, tell us a little about the player and person Mark Pawelek.

Coach Child: Well Mark pitched for us four years from the time he was a freshman when he came into our program. The first pitch we saw him throw, we were excited about his talent and it was obvious that he was going to do great things. He needed to work harder each year. His goal was to always be the best. He was not only blessed with some God-given talent, he's just a great kid.

Inside The Ivy: In your opinion, what are Mark's strongest attributes?

Coach Child: Well he's a competitor first and foremost. All of his pitches move. He's able to strike out good hitters with his fastball, which he throws around 95-96 mph. He's got a great slider, changeup, and curveball. He has the ability to come with any pitch. He doesn't walk many people. He's able to strike them out on a variety of different pitches. That's why he holds the state strikeout record.

Inside The Ivy: If there's one thing he could improve on, what would it be?

Coach Child: That's a tough question. I'm just a high school coach, but I know he had a zero ERA, so it's hard for me to pick something out. He was almost perfect for us.

Inside The Ivy: If you had to compare him to one person in the majors right now, who would that be?

Coach Child: Since he's a left-hander and pretty big and tall, there are a lot of guys to choose from. I hate to make those comparisons. He has the ability to throw a fastball right by you. He can make you look bad on a slider, too.

Inside The Ivy: How would you describe Mark's work ethic?

Coach Child: Mark has his own routine and workout, and has ever since he was a freshman. He not only does that on his own, but he's always there working out with the team. In the winter, he'd pitch bullpen and other things our pitching coach asked him to do, plus the running and crunches that we asked of him. Then he goes out on his own and does more than that. He works very hard in the weight room.

Inside The Ivy: How do you feel as a Coach knowing one of your players was drafted in the first round?

Coach Child: Well I'm real excited for Mark and his family. They deserve it. As coaches, we've said for four years how fortunate we are to have a talent like that. We knew we were going to win if we scored a couple of runs. As a coach, it's something you might never have again.

Inside The Ivy: Did you perceive Mark going this high?

Coach Child: I thought he would fit right in there from everyone I talked to. All the scouts said he was a first-rounder, probably a bit later with some of the college players going high. This was about where I expected him to go.

Coach Child has been with Springville High School for nine years as a coach. He has been the school's head coach for five years.

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