Shelton Interview

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Questions About Junior Colleges
Coach Brad Shelton
St. Catharine College
St. Catharine, Kentucky

Note: Coach Shelton is no longer at St. Catherine's. He is now the head baseball coach at Cumberland College, in Williamsburg, Kentucky.

Coach Shelton enters his sixth season with an overall record of 153 wins and 55 losses as a head coach. The Patriot Program has grown tremendously under his guidance.

Coach Shelton has built SCC Baseball into a nationally ranked program that has consistently sent players to the next level.

His aggressive offense has resulted in four teams that have finished in the top 10 nationally in hitting. Over the past five seasons, nine players have hit over .400.

Shelton was named 2000 Fellowship of Christian Athletes Male College Coach of the Year for South-Central Kentucky and American Baseball Coaches Association NJCAA Division II Regional Coach of the Year.


Question: St. Catharine's is an NJCAA affiliated school, many of the folks that visit the High School Baseball Web assume that the caliber of baseball played at an NJCAA school is not as good as that played at an NCAA Division 2 or 3 program. How do respond to that?

Answer: I think often that the talent at many NJCAA schools is as good as NCAA DII programs. We have several players who were recruited by NCAA DI programs, but opted for the junior college route in order to improve their skills and / or academics. Junior college athletes are eligible for the major league draft after their freshman and sophomore seasons. At the four year level players are not draft eligible until after the junior season (or 21st birthday). Junior colleges often have more talent than some of the four year schools; however, that doesn't mean the teams are better. Maturity, experience and leadership skills are more evident at the four year level. These are skills we are trying to develop in addition to the physical skills. What we try to promote is the chance to play as a freshman and improve skills while getting a solid start academically.

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

Answer: For the NJCAA the scholarship limits are:
Division I - 24 (tuition, room, board, books and fees)
Division II - 24 (tuition, books and fees)
Division III - No athletic aid

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

Answer: Some do. We encourage a prospective student-athlete to apply for as many scholarships and grants as possible, in addition to academic aid

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

Answer: It can't hurt. Even if the coach at that school isn't recruiting players for that player's position. There could be other colleges working the camp. We recruit kids that we coach at other school's camps. I have players on my team that I coached at Morehead State and Kentucky's camps.

Question: When should a player write a letter of introduction to a college coach? (i.e. after his 10th grade year, etc.)

Answer: I think early in the junior year is the best time. That gives the coaching staff ample time to evaluate a player, get to know him, and decide if he is a prospect.

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

Answer: It depends. There are several high school coaches here in Kentucky that I really trust to give an accurate evaluation, but some will say anything to get you out to see their guy play. Being the only junior college program in the state of Kentucky, we are overrun with form letters and recommendations. If I'm not familiar with the coach, I'd prefer a note from the player.

Question: Do sending copies of a players high school / summer team statistics help? Are they of value to you - when received with an introductory letter?

Answer: Stats can be helpful if we are familiar with the type of competition the player's team plays. I like to see a sixty time, height, weight, and strength measurements. (bench squat, etc.) For position players, some helpful stats are; stolen bases, extra base hits, rbis and fielding percentage.
For pitchers, some helpful stats are; strikeout to walk ratio, innings pitched and era.

Question: Should a player or high school coach send copies of clippings from local newspapers that relate accomplishments of the player?

Answer: I like to look through them to see who the recruit's team is playing. I also like to read the student-athlete's comments to get an idea of how well spoken he is and what his attitude is like.

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'm not sure if they are a good idea or not. We keep an eye on them. We've even signed a couple of kids that we learned about on these sites. I just think a lot of marginal players are on these sites. Most coaches don't have the time to sort through the marginal players to find that great one. My advice would be to use the service only if it is not going to be a financial strain on the family, but if you can play chances are someone will see you anyway.

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

Answer: I like videotapes better than anything players send. I watch every tape that I receive. They are more beneficial than profiles, resumes and recommendations.

Question: If a tape is beneficial to you and your staff what suggestions would you make to the player? Such as all game situations? Some individual fielding and batting situations? Pitchers in games only, or is throwing to a catcher good also?

Answer: I like to see a pre-game infield routine and game footage. Batting practice is good, but I want to see a hitter face breaking balls and live situations. Game footage is most beneficial for pitchers. We want to see how guy competes, how he sets up hitters, and if he controls the tempo of the game.

Question: With the increasing number of high school talent showcases in recent years how important is it for a player to attend this type of event? Do you and/or the coaching staff at St. Catharine's attend any showcases?

Answer: Showcses are beneficial. We attend several every year, especially in the winter months.

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 hairstyles, manner of dress etc. Are any or all of these items a "negative" when a college coach sees a prospective player?

Answer: I like to see a clean cut player out there. Signs of individuality are not impressive to me. If I was a high school player again, I would not want one thing (that I could control) to turn off a college coach or pro scout. I read once that Jack Leggett (Clemson) doesn't recruit kids that play in jewelry. Is an earring worth losing a scholarship to Clemson?

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: Not necessarily. I look at a guys tools. Can he run and throw? Is he an athlete? Does he have some bat speed? Does he have a live arm? A quality pitch? I also like to see how he handles adversity. How is his attitude? Is he happy with a win even though he may play poorly? Does he hate losing even though he played well?

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

Answer: Attitude is top priority. A player can't control his size, skills, abilities, etc. He can control his "attitude." I like positive people. I like motivated people. The bible tells me "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!" That's my internal motivation. That gives me a positive attitude.

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

Answer: Facilities and campus activities. We can't offer a large fieldhouse, high rise dorms, fraternities or 5,000 people at home games. We can offer a quality education, good coaching and a chance to improve as a player and as a person.

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

Answer: We recruit mostly in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. We are the only junior college program in Kentucky and there is only one in Indiana. We can be competitive with the kids from our region. However, we occasionally sign a player from outside the area. We have had players from Puerto Rico, Canada, Oklahoma and Texas.

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: Junior college is a great route to NCAA Division I, but there are great programs at every level .... NAIA, NCAAI, II and III. Lare universities are not always the best choice for student-athletes. I encourage our sophomores to consider every option. Don't rule out a program because it's not a DI. There are many NAIA, NCAA DII and III teams that could easily defeat some DI teams.

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

Answer: Keep your priorities straight. God, family, school and baseball. Give your 100% best in everything you do and you'll have no regrets. I've seen many players who were baseball baseball baseball and when the playing days were over, they were lost. Find a college that has what you need. Spiritually, emotionally, academically and athletically.


Coach Brad Shelton
Head Baseball Coach
Cumberland College
Baseball Website

Note: Coach Shelton is no longer at St. Catherine's. He is now the head baseball coach at Cumberland College, in Williamsburg, Kentucky.


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Revised February 09, 2003 .