Metheny Interview

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Questions About NCAA Division II Colleges

Coach Mike Metheny
Head Baseball Coach
Southeastern Oklahoma State University


The 2002 season marks the twenty-second year Mike Metheny will guide the Savage baseball team. His Southeastern career has spanned over thirty years as a player, graduate assistant, assistant coach, and now head coach. Metheny's college coaching record is 873-312-2.

While a member of the NAIA, his teams enjoyed 7 trips to the NAIA World Series with 2 runner-up finishes. Savage teams claimed 14 conference championships and he was recognized as the conference coach of the year 9 times and regional coach of the year 7 times.

In January, 1999, Metheny was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame at the American Baseball Coaches Convention in Atlanta, Ga

Southeastern became eligible for NCAA II in 1999 and Metheny's teams quickly gained national recognition as they captured a Lone Star Conference championship and finished runner-up at the South Central Regional.

In 2000, the Savages vaulted to another Lone Star North Championship and a berth in the South Central Regional. After losing the first game of the tournament, Southeastern battled through the losers bracket to win the Regional and advance to the NCAA II World Series in Montgomery, Alabama. The Savages swept through the Series and on June 3, 2000, were crowned as the National Champions.

Metheny was honored in January, 2000 at the American Baseball Coaches Convention in Nashville, TN as the National Coach of the Year.

 
Question: Can a Division II baseball program offer "paid for" recruiting visits? (like at DI schools)

Answer: Yes

 
Question: How many baseball scholarships are allowed at the DII schools?

Answer: 9

 
Question: As a DII program how do you define the "geography" of your recruiting area?

Answer: We recruit primarily in the SE quadrant of southeastern Oklahoma but also include all areas of Oklahoma. It is much more economical for us to recruit Oklahoma players and because of the high quality of players, we feel we can stay in our state and be very competitive at the national level.

 
Question: How would you compare the baseball talent at the DII schools to those of other classifications?

Answer: Most DII colleges can compete with all levels of competition with the exception of the above average DI teams. We have recently moved from NAIA and the quality programs in that classification can compete the same. I think quality DII, quality NAIA, and small DI programs are very close.

 
Question: What is the general opinion of Division II baseball coaches about the "online internet recruiting services?"

Answer: It is interesting to see these but I am not sure how practical they are. You will be exposed to many more players but for me, this increases the work and responses I should make. In reality, I am not sure how many of these players will become prospects for our program.

 
Question: What percentages of your baseball players receive academic assistance (scholarships, etc.)?

Answer: I would estimate that approximately 10% will receive academic assistance.

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

Answer: We do not have camps or tryouts so it is not important. It would be helpful if you had camps, but for us, i t is not practical.

 
Question: How important are "walk-on" players to your program and DII schools in general?

Answer: Walk-ons are players we know absolutely nothing about and only a small percentage of these will make our spring team. We will have several invited players who you might consider walk-ons - that is, they do not get scholarship help - and they can be very important. Approximately 4-6 of these players will make our 22-25 man roster.

I would think that many DIIs would encourage walk-ons because of limited scholarships.

 
Question: How important are junior college transfers (if at all) to your program?

Answer: JUCO players are the most important type of players to our program. In Oklahoma, we have several junior colleges. They get the best high school players for the first 2 years, then we can recruit these. I would estimate that at least 80% of our players have been at a JUCO. They have less options, have 2 years of maturation, and are 2 years more experienced. They are our best choice.

 
Question: When should a player or high school coach send a letter of introduction to a DII coach?

Answer: In the fall of his senior year is the best but early spring is not too late.

 
Question: Is it better to have the player or the high school coach send the letter - or does it make any difference:

Answer: I would rather have a recommendation from a coach but it I get many letters from players.

 
Question: Should the introductory letter include statistics from a player's high school and/or summer team?

Answer: The high school would be the best but I would also consider an American Legion type summer program.

 
Question: With the recent growth of the high school baseball player showcase events - How important are these events to you and your staff?

Answer: Very important because we do not have the camps or try-outs on our campus. So, we go to showcases, all-star events, etc. to get a look at these players.

 
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: My age puts me in the "old school" of thought and honestly, these things are initial distractions to me. However, the personality of the player will affect me more in the long run and if he is the right kind of person, these distractions will not affect my relationship with the player.

 
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 they can play there, go and play. If they can't, then choose a place and go play. Everyone can't go DI, some should not go DI. If you go DI, you may be a big fish in a big pond. If things didn't work out at the DI, then he might be a big fish in a small pond. Go someplace and play. A lot of players at our level go into professional baseball and some make it to the majors!

 
Question: Are the recommendations / opinions of the player's coaches and teachers a part of your scouting / recruiting process?

Answer: Yes. All of the above things are a part of the process.

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

Answer: The best step would be a summer team after high school graduation such as American Legion. If he can make this team, then look for a university that needs his position or "him". For us, the next step would be a JUCO unless we really had a need for this player. Then, after 2 years, look at the options again.

 

Coach Mike Metheny
Southeastern Oklahoma State University
Durant, Oklahoma 74701
Southeastern Oklahoma State Baseball
dwester@sosu.edu99(athletic director)

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