Cassera Interview

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Questions About Junior College Baseball Recruiting

Coach Tom Cassera
Head Baseball Coach
Montgomery College
Germantown, Maryland

Tom Cassera-Head Coach
6th year @ MC/G
Region XX Championships in 1998, 2001, 2002
2 trips to the NJCAA / Div.III World Series in Batavia, NY.
4th place finish in 2001 World Series
Region XX Coach of the Year in 1998, 2001, 2002
Maryland State College Coach of the Year 2002
Overall Record @ MC/G is 114-112
7 All-Americans in 5 years

Question: Montgomery College is an NJCAA affiliated school, many of the folks that visit the HSBBWeb assume that the caliber of baseball played at an NJCAA (juco) school is not as good as that played at an NCAA D2 or D3 program. How do you respond to that?

Answer: The NJCAA is a direct feeder to most D1, D2 or D3 programs that are looking for experienced players that can handle the education part. Most of our players are ready for the next level.

Question: Do NJCAA baseball programs have the ability to offer athletic scholarship money?

Answer: Some do and some do not. We do not. Most junior / community colleges are inexpensive anyway - so it is as if you are on scholarship

Question: Do NJCAA schools "blend" athletic and academic scholarship monies together to create a package for the good academic student-athlete?

Answer: We do offer academic scholarships, but never athletic scholarships

Question: When should a player write a letter of introduction to a junior college coach? (i.e. after his 1 1th grade year, etc)?

Answer: Fall of his senior year or as early as the summer before his senior year

Question: Is it better to have the player's high school coach send the first letter? Or does it make any difference?

Answer: A hand written letter from the player would be nice. We will contact whoever afterward

Question: Do sending copies of high school / summer team statistics help? Are they of value to you, when included in an introductory letter?

Answer: They do not hurt, especially if the player is competing against good competition

Question: Should a player or coach send copies of clippings from local newspapers, that include highlights about the player?

Answer: No need sending MC/Germantown that info. All we need is ... What is your interest in our program / school and your baseball information that can be processed

Question: How important is it for a player to attend a junior college team's summer camp?

Answer: Not as important as some think. We like the high school players to attend our camp, so that we can show them what we have to offer them as far as the program is concerned

Question: Are the "online" internet recruiting services taken seriously by college coaches? Would you recommend them to a high school player and his family?

Answer: I receive 5 to 6 emails a week from players who have made a school list a mile long and just happened to add our school to the list.

Question: Should a player send a videotape of himself in baseball situations and games? Do junior college coaches review unsolicited tapes?

Answer: NO! Only if the coach requests one.

Question: If a tape is requested, by you and your staff what suggestions would you make to the player? Such as. All game situations, some individual fielding and batting practice? Pitchers in games only or is just throwing to a catcher good also?

Answer: Keep the tape brief, live or practice format. We only need to see a few swings, etc. 3 - 5 minute and include all aspects of that player.

Question: With the continuing increase in the number of "Showcases". In recent years how important is it for a player to attend this type of event?

Answer: I established a prospect team for players, in the fall of their senior season, in our area and it has been a great recruiting device, for us. I no longer attend because our fall season includes 36 scrimmages.

Question: How important is a player's physical appearance? I do not mean is he 6'-1" tall and weighs 205 lbs. What I am referring to is tattoos, body piercings, odd hair styles, manner of dress etc. Are any or all of these items a "negative" when a college coach sees a prospective player?

Answer: To some! We want a player to be a solid citizen & student, on top of being a player that has a great work ethic. All the extra-curricular looks just means the young man has too much spare time!!!.

Question: If a player has a bad day when a college coach is in the stands watching him for the first time. Does that mean that it is "over" as far as that school is concerned?

Answer: What constitutes a bad day? If a player takes good cuts, has good mechanics, is coachable and HUSTLES - send him my way..

Question: How important is a player's "attitude appearance" when in a game or at practice?

Answer: Most important. He has got to want to get better and the only way to do that is to pay attention, believe and get to work

Question: As the head coach of a smaller college what are the major differences in recruiting when compared to the "major" schools?

Answer: We stay local and try to take care of the players in our general area. We will offer the same forms of program, the only difference is they will play as freshman!

Question: As the coach of a smaller school do you recruit on a more regional scope than other larger schools?

Answer: We stay in our county; only players that contact us do we follow-up on, out of the area.

Question: So many high school players have the attitude that if they do not play college baseball at one of the D1 top 40 programs they have failed. What advice can you offer a high school player regarding the "big school" stigma?

Answer: If you want to play major division 1 baseball and haven't been formally invited, make your statement at the junior college level. The scholarship money will be better because of the two years of experience.

Question: What other advice would you give to a high school player that hopes to play college baseball?

Answer: A player must have the desire to compete at a higher level. Be realistic in evaluating your skills. Not everything that is good costs a lot of money!

Our program in a nutshell..... We involve approximately 30 players each year, during the fall. If you contribute and keep up - you enjoy the spring.

We scrimmage 4 year institutions and 2 year schools in the fall. (30-35 scrimmages August - October)

Spring workouts begin the second week of January with the season starting February 15th in North Carolina.

We schedule 50-56 games through May. (played 51 last spring)

Weight training starting in November.
We don't enforce a study hall, but we do check grades bi-weekly, along with attendance and work study habits.

We also expect our players to help with all winter and summer clinics and camps, because these are our main fund-raising source.

Also...... 3 sets of uniforms, team spikes, travel bags, travel warm-ups, team jacket, etc.

Our travel includes trips to Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware and New Jersey. Region XX Tournament in Pittsburgh, PA. NJCAA Division III National Tournament in Batavia, New York

To contact Coach Tom Cassera
Montgomery College - Germantown
Baseball Office
20200 Observation Drive
Germantown, Maryland 20767
telephone: (301)414-0393


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Revised February 09, 2003 .