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Baseball

Jarrett approaching new role with poise, patience

| Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Molded by the guidance of baseball coaching legend Mike Martin, newly hired Notre Dame baseball coach Link Jarrett is cognizant of what his new role means for the program.

Jarrett, who replaces Mik Aoki at the helm of the Irish, enters his 20th season coaching and his eighth year as a head coach. Coming from UNC Greensboro where he was twice named Southern Conference Coach of the Year, he is hopeful that he can bring his winning ways with him to South Bend.

“I’m honored to be here. Obviously, this program and this logo, putting this hat on, it’s always been really dear to my heart,” Jarrett said at a press conference Monday. “I think it represents everything that is classy and elite in athletics. This brand is world-wide. To put this hat on is a very special moment for me.”

Mary Steurer | The Observer

Notre Dame head baseball coach Link Jarrett shares his thoughts on the upcoming season at a press conference Monday. Jarrett was hired Friday to replace Mik Aoki, who led the Irish for the past five seasons.

Coming from an extremely successful program at UNC Greensboro, Jarrett will be making the transition to a Notre Dame team that has missed out on the NCAA Regionals for the past four seasons. His obvious goal for the coming season is to bridge that gap, helping elevate his program back to a competitive, playoff level.

“I want the guys to compete. I want them to have the chance to win championships and hopefully get this program to a point that we’re in Regionals. That’s what I want,” Jarrett said. “I’m trying to get to know the players, that’s going to take a little bit of time. I’ve started to talk to each of them individually.”

Jarrett noted the coaching philosophy he will be using with the players is the same as he used at UNC Greensboro and is a style he adapted by learning from his coaches over the years — most notably from Martin, the winningest coach in NCAA Division I baseball history.

“I wasn’t a great player, but I was a great student. I studied and I felt like [Martin] had a knack for putting us in the best position to win,” Jarrett said. “I pulled bits and pieces everywhere I went, and you feel like when you get your shot as a head coach, you have to find out what works for you with your personality. You pull the traits from some of those great leaders and … put them in to what you do.”

For Jarrett, one such trait has been emphasizing the importance of performing well in practice to ensure results during games.

“I’m probably more fiery at practice than I am in the game. The bulk of what you’re doing with [the players] happens in the day-in, day-out — it’s going to start in the first skill session we have. If you’re trying to create that in game one, you’ve probably let some things slide that you should have addressed before,” Jarrett said. “Practice-wise, it’s our job to really push and demand and teach and coach. In the game, it’s to strategize and try to find ways to navigate to win the game.”

Jarrett has not yet announced any staffing changes, but he has expressed his confidence in the group of players he has. He also emphasized that the most important thing for his team moving forward will be creating an environment in which the players can grow and thrive.

“It’s creating a culture and a path of development for these guys that helps them get better,” Jarrett said. “I’m going to look at that room and there’s going to be 35 guys that I don’t know anything about. It was the same way at Greensboro. And some of those guys, you could see them instantly start to turn the corner. The culture of that group, as it got better, everything we did on the field became more team-oriented. It was more focused on our group winning than it was on what those individual guys wanted or needed or thought or felt. It was the team — it was one pulse, not 35 guys doing their own thing.”

Jarrett believes the creation of such a culture will come a winning attitude, which will propel the his team to a level many of the players have not seen since putting on a Notre Dame uniform.

“The exciting thing is the sky is the limit. If you can get through your regular season and perform day-in and day-out with consistent performance — win the games that you need to win and steal some games — you’re going to be in a Regional,” Jarrett said. “That’s where I see this going. And I know it’s not easy. Everybody has the same practice hours, everybody has the same recruiting calendars. It’s just about how efficiently you use that.”

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