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Questions About NAIA Baseball Recruiting


Coach Ed Cheff
Head Baseball Coach
Lewis & Clark State College
Lewistown, Idaho


 


The 2003 baseball season will be the 27th for head coach Ed Cheff, who has developed one of the most impressive collegiate baseball programs in the nation -- at any level.

The  Warriors won the NAIA World Series championship in 2002 was the school’s 12th since 1984.  The Warriors also won five titles in the '90s.

From 1982 to 1992, the Warriors played in 11 consecutive national championship games and won eight, a feat never duplicated by a collegiate team at any level in any major sport.

The Warriors’ overall win-loss record under Cheff entering the 2003 season is a remarkable 1,307 wins and just 358 losses.

More than 88 of Cheff’s former players at L-C have played professional baseball and several have played in the big leagues, including four current major leaguers.

However, when Cheff is honored for baseball accomplishments, a great deal of mention is made of his involvement in other aspects of baseball and the Lewis-Clark Valley communities, a statement that makes a greater impact to the quality of the program than national championships and wins and losses.

He has been selected as the NAIA Coach of the Year six times.

The Warrior mentor has also been very active in baseball outside of Lewiston. He’s a nationally known clinic speaker and has addressed the American Baseball Coaches Association Convention on four different occasions. He was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame in 1994. In 1991, he was an assistant coach for the USA National Baseball Team. He spent the next two summers coaching the Anchorage Bucs in the Alaska Collegiate League.

In 1994, he returned to the USA Team as the third-base coach and hitting coach.

His teams at Lewis-Clark State have consistently been recognized by his coaching peers and professional scouts as being well prepared and very aggressive.

On May 11, 1996, he captured his 1,000th career win with a doubleheader sweep over Central Washington. He became only the third coach in NAIA history to win 1,000 baseball games.


Question: :Lewis & Clark State College is an NAIA affiliated school, many of the folks that visit the HSBBWeb assume that the caliber of baseball played at an NAIA school is not as good as that played at an NCAA program. How do you respond to that?

Answer: LCSC competes very well against the NCAA DI programs. Typically the top 10 - 15 NAIA schools are competitive with the DI schools. However the majority of the NAIA schools are more on a par with DII.

 
Question: Lewis & Clark is a small school located in Idaho yet your baseball program has produced many professional players, including five (5) major league players. How are you so successful in recruiting players to LCSC?

Answer: Great baseball town - best weather in the Northwest - excellent facility - small school setting where people care about one another. Faculty, staff, students - tradition and reputation of a solid program

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

Answer: The top 25 probably offer the full allowed NAIA allotment of 12 full rides

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

Answer: Very often - We try to recruit 5-10 academic/athletic combination players. (3.75 - 4.0 gpa)

 
Question: You have coached twelve (12) NAIA National Championship teams, been a coach with the USA National Team and a coach in the Alaska Collegiate League. How would you compare the players from the better NAIA schools to the players from the NCAA Division I schools?

Answer: The top 25-50 NAIA players are capable of playing in any program - Of the top 400 collegiate players I would suggest that 40-50 would be from NAIA schools.

 
Question: When should a player write a letter of introduction to a college coach? (i.e. after his 11th grade year, etc)?

Answer: After his 11th grade season

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

Answer: Either one is fine

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

Answer: So - So

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

Answer: No -- Not needed

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

Answer: Some DI guys rely a great deal on camp recruits - others less so. Players often spend too much money trying to "get a look." If a kid can play good programs will know about him.

 
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: NO!!

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

Answer: Somewhat - Especially for pitchers - It's hard to tell what a hitter is facing.

 
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: All of the above -- Quality of the tape is important

 
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: Not as important as many kids think. If it's a financial burden on his family a player needs to stay home. Again, if you can play a good program will know about you. Scouts can be a key reference for a player considering LCSC.

 
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: Not for me - I just ask if they are willing to abide by LCSC's jewelry, hair and dress policy. Kids that like a program will adjust to the program.

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

Answer: For a hitter - perhaps. However if I like a pitcher's arm action - poise & mentality during a bad outing I'll take another look. I don't recruit performance - I recruit potential and mentality.

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

Answer: 100% for me!

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

Answer: NAIA schools can not pay for visits - but kids can practice with us. LCSC's recruiting network on the west coast is as organized as any school - We feel that we can compete with some top DI schools for specific kids.

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

Answer: No

 
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: Make sure that you understand what "big time" really is_ Having great teammates. Being in a program where demands are high to become a better player

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

Answer: Having coaches that care about you on and off the field. Being in a program where work ethic and humility are important. Earning a degree while earning the right to play professional baseball

 


To contact Coach Ed Cheff
Lewis & Clark State College
Baseball Office
500 8th Avenue
Lewiston, Idaho 83501
telephone: (208) 799-5272
Lewis & Clark Baseball Website

 

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Revised February 09, 2003 .