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Questions About College Baseball Recruiting

Coach Brian Shoop
Birmingham Southern College

Another in our series of interviews with small college coaches. -- An interview with Coach Brian Shoop of Birmingham Southern College, Alabama. Coach Shoop has a reputation for teaching and producing excellent college baseball players and even more so for having outstanding people in his program

The 2001 season marks the 12th year with Brian Shoop at the helm of the Birmingham-Southern baseball team. From the time he arrived on campus, one of his main objectives was to return the Panthers to the prominence they experienced in the late '70s and early '80s. After 11 seasons, Shoop has certainly accomplished his goal.

Shoop's 11-year record stands at 455-200-1, and in the past decade the Panthers have captured six regular season conference titles and seven conference tournament championships. The Panthers have made eight regional appearances and finished no worse than third with three runner-up finishes and three regional championships. BSC has been ranked in the final NAIA poll in nine of Shoop's 11 years with seven top 10 rankings and three top five rankings, and 2000 marked the program's seventh consecutive 40-win season.


Note: Birmingham Southern is currently making the transition to NCAA Division 1. They will make the change beginning next year and will play in the Big South Conference.

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

Answer: There are different levels of NAIA schools. The good ones, in my opinion, are at the same level as the good DII schools -- which is the same level as the mid-level DI schools.

Question: BSC is a small school located in Alabama yet your baseball program has produced many professional players. How are you so successful in recruiting players to BSC?

Answer: BSC is the #1 liberal arts school in the south. With the highest student profile in Alabama. We have a lot to offer. Also players must play to develop into prospects

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

Answer: Yes actually more than the DI's
DI = 11.7
DII = 10
NAIA = 12

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

Answer: Yes - On a weighted scale depending on ACT (or SAT), GPA and class rank

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

Answer: A great way to evaluate both a school and a player

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



Answer: 11th grade. Do not send a standard form letter. Send a personal letter, with correct names and spellings

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

Answer: Yes -- High school coach, and not form letters

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: Minimal help

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

Answer: No

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 college coaches review unsolicited tapes?

Answer: We do review them

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: Hitting -- batting practice & games / Pitching -- games only

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 BSC attend any showcases?

Answer: We attend selected showcases, but there are so many that there is no way to attend them all. It is not a big part of recruiting

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: It differs with each coach. It is very important to me

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: No -- I like to see how a young man handles failure

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


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

Answer: Again every school is unique. At BSC we want:
Gifted academically (avg. 27 ACT)
Seeking a Christian college environment
A Division 1 player

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

Answer: We are primarily a southeast based team

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: I went to Malone College -- hardly a "Top 40" program in the world's mind. There, I met my wife, committed my life to Christ, played for an incredible coach who deeply impacted my life (Bob Starcher), and made contact with Ron Polk. I wouldn't trade my college experience for anything

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

Answer: Outwork, out hustle your competitor
Excel in the classroom
Honor God with your actions -- He in turn will honor you

You can contact Coach Shoop at:
Birmingham Southern College
900 Arkadelphia Road
Birmingham, Alabama 35254
(205) 226-4797
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Revised February 09, 2003 .