Friday, January 29, 2016

Gary McClure on Inspiring a Winning Team

Gary McClure
Former head coach Gary McClure says it was never hard to inspire his team, the Austin Peay State University Governors, to play, but the 2013 team was even less of a challenge.

2013 was an outstanding year for APSU baseball, recalls retired head coach Gary McClure. That year’s team, he says, was not difficult to inspire at all. Many of the players were entering their third year together and had gotten to know each other really well. This group had been part of a freshman-heavy team that started things off right with an astounding and unexpected Ohio Valley Conference regular season championship, a conference tournament championship, and an NCAA Regional first round win over number one seeded Georgia Tech who hosted the regional. After that, the team never really lost steam. Gary McClure says he had over half a dozen freshmen start in 2011, and by 2013 they played as one tight, cohesive unit.

By the time the team got to Bloomington, there was no doubt in the mind of Gary McClure that they would continue to perform. McClure recalls that his pep talks that year were really more about reminding them they were a good team with experience and about the need to have a day in and day out business like approach and to not let your guard down. He told them they needed to respect the game of baseball and the game would be good to them. McClure says his 2013 coaching strategy was focused more than anything on helping these young men perfect the abilities he knew they already possessed, let them have fun, and play the game..

While this team did have some extremely talented players which was demonstrated by 7 players moving on to professional baseball after the 2013 season. Gary McClure says we had very good talent and depth throughout our entire team and somebody different could step up on any given day. That team was very balanced offensively, defensively, and from a pitching standpoint. They also were a team that was very unselfish and did the little things that sometimes get overlooked. To win, you always have to overcome adversity and this team was no different. We had to fight through injuries and have other players to step up. The bottom line is they won and it takes special people to do that. McClure notes that this club had a great approach and the makeup and chemistry was tremendous. Truthfully, it was an honor to have the opportunity to coach them and as enjoyable if not the most enjoyable year i had at Austin Peay.