- Recruiting has changed due to pandemic, adds new perspective to the process
- Attack, legacy, vision are three keys Thompson focuses on when building a strong program
- Coach discusses Auburn’s three-year journey to College World Series
Auburn’s head baseball coach Butch Thompson joined Jake Crain on The JBoy Show’s July 13 episode to discuss what Auburn baseball looks like during COVID-19. Thompson explained how the team has pivoted and kept a positive outlook on what’s ahead; he also noted that one thing that doesn’t stop, regardless of a worldwide pandemic, is recruiting.
“Recruiting never stops,” said Thompson. “I think even more energy has been put into recruiting now. We’re absent as far as physically getting in the car or jumping on the airplane and going to a tournament, but what’s not absent is your Rolodex of people you’ve known for decades in this business. That drive time or that sitting and watching a game time has been replaced with sitting at your desk, making phone calls, connecting with your Rolodex, getting a feel for who the best players are.”
In the process, Thompson is discovering he’s learning more about the individual players and talking to their parents. He sees an increase of human touch, a deeper dive on character and a stronger connection taking place during recruiting. While he looks forward to getting back to normal, Thompson also said he hopes that this new component of recruiting remains. Being able to understand the players and their families more as people provides a new perspective that can only improve the recruiting process, he said.
Thompson shared that when it comes to creating a program and recruiting, he bases his decisions on three key words: attack, legacy and vision. From the beginning, he has looked for staff and players who are individuals of integrity and above reproach. He wants good people first,’ he says. Second, he wants their default to be aggressive towards everything that they do. However, vision is the key to success.
“A vision is one of the most important things we can do. It’s not a brag, a pump your chest; you can overdo everything,” he said. “But man, you’ve got to believe your program is second to none, and you’ve got a chance to win a championship, or I think we are all wasting our time.”
At the end of the day, Thompson is simply proud of his players. And there is a lot to be proud of. The team has made it to regional play three years in a row, and getting close to Omaha (the college World Series) all three years as well, finally making it for the first time in 22 years in 2019.
Competing means never taking a day off, but Coach Thompson believes that the best way to persevere is to take care of everyone else around you. “Your courage has to be greater than your fear,” he said. “Your preparation has to be bigger than your fear. And if you’re trying to build the best team, you’ve got to figure out that love has got to be greater than your fear. Sometimes maybe you won’t get down on yourself when you want to because everyone is counting on you. If you can ever trigger that or somebody realizes this is not about myself, this is about everybody else.”
This discussion from recruiting to the College World Series between Crain and Thompson can be found, along with all the JBoy Show podcast episodes, on Anchor, iTunes/Apple, Spotify, Google, Breaker, Overcast, PocketCasts, RadioPublic or YouTube.
Hosted by Jake Crain, the JBoy Show burst on the podcast scene in April 2020, delivering an in-depth look at Southeastern Conference (“SEC”) sports with an emphasis on the SEC West. With topics ranging from recruiting and real-life athlete experiences to a multi-episode series honoring legendary Auburn football Coach Pat Dye, the JBoy Show has already been ranked as one of the top-10 sports news shows on Apple Podcasts.
For more information about the JBoy Show, visit www.TheJBoyShow.com.
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