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By: Benjamin E. Lykens (Whetstone Staff Writer)
Brett Underwood believes that neither his youth nor his inexperience as head baseball coach at Wesley College will have any negative effect on his team’s chances this year.
“My delivery to the players will be different because I’m a little younger and a little newer and I think that because of my age it helps me relate to the players,” he said.
Underwood, 29, understands the challenges of being a first-year head coach.
“The biggest challenge is getting the team prepared to win,” he said. “In the past I could focus on what I had to focus on but now being in charge of everybody, I have to focus on all facets of the team.”
Underwood was an assistant for six years under former head coach Tripp Keister, who recently accepted a job to manage the rookie level Golf Coast League Nationals.
“Coach Keister started my coaching career and I am very grateful for that and he has meant more to me than anyone the last six years,” Underwood said. “I know he’ll do a great job there, too.”
During Underwood’s time as an assistant to Keister, he learned how to manage young men but he also is bringing his own aggressive individual style.
“We want to be aggressive but you can only be aggressive if we have good attention to detail,” he said. “Coach Keister’s attention to detail was fantastic and that’s one of the biggest things I’ll try to take from his coaching style.”
Greg McKee, a senior third baseman, believes that Underwood creates a more relaxed environment.
“A little more laid back but not a challenge,” he said.
Steve Perone, a junior first basemen, believes things haven’t changed very much.
“Since we’ve been here it’s been business as usual,” he said.
Whether the environment of the team has or will change, the Wolverines are looking to have a successful season.
Underwood may be young but his players believe that he will take them to the next level.
Mark Mattern, a sophomore first-year baseball player, thinks that Underwood is the right man for the job.
“He’s a great coach and very knowledgeable,” he said. “I think we’re going to have a very good season.”