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Conversations with College Coaches: University of the Pacific

June 30th, 2011  |  Published in News

Softball Factory is privileged to work with programs from every level of college softball. We strive to educate and guide our players when it comes to choosing the right school. The more information a player knows about a school, coach and program, the better. Recently, our staff interviewed Brian Kolze, the head coach at University of the Pacific. The team won its first Big West title this past season, leaving the word champions on the team’s mind.

1. How long have you been coaching? How long a Pacific?
This will be my 25th year coaching Division I softball. I coached at UNLV for 4 years, Sacramento State for 1 year, and this will be my 20th year at Pacific.

2. Who are some of your mentors or coaches that you look up to and why?
I would have to start off by saying Shan McDonald. She gave me the opportunity to coach by hiring me and I learned a great deal from her. I’d also add Mike Candrea from Arizona, John Rittman from Stanford, and Sue Enquist the former UCLA coach because we have always used one another to bounce around ideas.

3. What is the first thing about your school that you’d want a recruit to know about?
Its uniqueness. We are a small private school that is surrounded by many bigger schools. Pacific is a traditional Ivy League School with one of the best educational programs in the state.

4. What qualities do you look for in a prospect on the field and off the field?
I look for a player that will take care of the academic end and will not cut corners both on and off the field. School puts you on the field; being on the field does not let you slack off in school. I’d also like them to know that the grade that you are in does not matter; it is your performance on the field that matters.

5. How has video helped you in the recruiting process?
Video helps to show repetition. It is our way of initially seeing a player in a practice situation, and then if we are interested we will seek them out in a game situation. The automation available today with DVDs and links to videos are the best investment a player can make. It makes it so convenient for me as a coach.

6. When do you start seriously looking at a player during the recruiting process?
For me it is a little different since academics are so important at our college. I would say I look at a player seriously when they are in late 9th grade and early 10th grade. It gives them a chance to prove themselves academically in high school.

7. Do you recruit from Junior Colleges?
Every once and awhile we will recruit from a Junior College for a quick fix. If we do though, I need that player to help the team the day that they get there. The player must be a strong match for our team.

8. Can you break down your fall practice schedule? What do you try to accomplish?
The fall is all about teaching. I want my players to understand the situational aspects of our game and to get their technique down. The goal is to have them understand our defensive principles and our offensive strategies. We treat the fall as if our season were going to start at the end of it. We could get back in January and it could rain for a week, putting us behind. I always plan for a worse case scenario with the weather just to be safe.

9. Do you have a strength and conditioning coach?
Yes we have a tremendous strength and conditioning staff. Marcus Dorin and Tony Sandoval work do all the instruction for our team.

10. With everything that has changed with baseball bats, what is your stance on how softball bats affect the game today?
The softball world is getting better and better every year, but we still have a lot of work to do. Making a 10-page list of what bats are acceptable is not the answer in my opinion. This is only one man’s opinion, but I feel that manufacturers should have less input. We need to stop grandfathering bats in; they need to have a life span on them.

Bats that meet compliance at the beginning of the season should be required to meet compliance at the end of the season too. Bats get hotter and hotter during the season and teams are putting up these amazing numbers. The problem is what do you do with those games when at the end of the season the bat is no longer in compliance? We need to do something about it.

11. What part of the 2011 schedule/year are you looking forward to the most?
We have a lot of returning players coming back this season who had a lot of success this past year. I am interested to see how they will adjust to the pressure. I want to see them elevate themselves even more than they did in this past season. We have a tough first month on our schedule, and it’s going to be mentally challenging for the team.

12. Anything planned for your facilities (upgrades, changes, etc.)?
This past year we actually got lights and had our first night game! I am really pleased with the support we have gotten from the University of Pacific. We are getting a new scoreboard, and are in the process of raising money for new dugouts. Change does not happen overnight, but there are plans in place.