During mid to late February and into March at the University of Connecticut we are accustomed to the big names in Geno Auriemma and Kevin Ollie leading their respected basketball teams into March Madness with high expectations. However while the women continue to have extreme success, the men of late have sputtered out of control losing uncontested games on the court, and seemingly every recruiting battle off the court.
One coach though that finds himself having success early on in 2018, is Uconn men's head baseball coach, Jim Penders. In the land of basketball, Penders has quietly emerged as an absolute Alpha Male Savage, building one of the best Division 1 college baseball programs in all of New England, and now, the country. In his 15th season as the big dog at UCONN, Penders began the season with a career 488-345-4 record, while helping and developing 43 former players sign or get drafted by professional teams.
A barrage of former Uconn players have emerged into the big leagues, highlighted by the World Series MVP, George Springer. Using Springer as an example, Penders has been able to tap into the rich baseball talent which is suddenly no longer a secret, in the state of Connecticut. 18 of the members on the top 25 team in the country, all hail from the Nutmeg State, while another 15 come from close proximity in either Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island or Pennsylvania.
This years team, after an impressive and gutsy win over Georgia Tech in extra innings, find themselves rated as the 25th best team in the country by Baseball America. While the University of Connecticut continues to dump money into the dumpster fire which is their football program, maybe its time to slice off a larger piece of the pie to a program which through hard work, and a collection of fine local talent, has emerged as national contender.
My hats off to the hard work and dedication by the men of the Uconn Baseball Program, who over the past decade plus have truly taken it from average to savage.