STORRS — UConn’s baseball coach, Jim Penders, is the prime example of a coach who is very high on player development and the numbers don’t lie.
Under his belt are numerous appearances in the NCAA tournament including a Super Regional appearance in 2011, three conference titles and a total of 43 players either drafted or signed by professional baseball clubs.
Of those players is World Series MVP and New Britain’s own, George Springer of the Houston Astros.
During the 2015 MLB season, a program-record five former Huskies played in the big leagues: Nick Ahmed (’11) of the Diamondbacks, Matt Barnes (’11) of the Red Sox, Scott Oberg (’12) of the Rockies, Mike Olt (’11) of the Cubs and George Springer (’11) of the Astros.
But what has been the key in prepping his player for the big leagues?
“Surrounding themselves with the best assistant coaches in the country, and providing them competition every single day with top-notch teammates,” said Penders.
Penders completed his 14th season as the leader of the program in 2017. Overall in his tenure, Penders holds a 488-345-4 record where he has record 30 or more wins in 11 of his 14 years at Connecticut.
When asked what has been his greatest moment as the Huskies’ coach, Penders said, “simply being a small part of our players’ lives, as for one moment on the field, winning AAC, Big East, and NCAA regional championships.
In order for coaches to have continued success in winning, the recruiting process is very important. When it comes to that aspect of his job, Penders looks for mental and physical toughness among many other skills.
“Toughness, mental and physical, confidence with work ethic, and selflessness,” said Penders. “It also helps if they can study and play.”
Penders will deliver your sports report Tuesday night on the FOX61 News at 10 and 11.