Monday, January 24, 2011

Jaksa adds pair of assistants to coaching staff

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || January 24, 2011

Tyler Stovall made the 45-minute trip last March from his Cincinnati-area home to Oxford, Ohio.

With his cleats hanging up after two years in the Cincinnati Reds minor league system, the former Central Michigan outfielder said he just wanted to catch the Chippewas game at Miami University.

But during the game, Stovall realized he wanted something else.

“I decided I wanted to get into coaching,” he said.

So after the game, he pulled CMU head coach Steve Jaksa aside and, “Planted the seed in his head that I was interested in coaching.”

And this season, after trading e-mails and text messages with Jaksa in the offseason, Stovall will be back in Mount Pleasant to finish his degree and begin his coaching career as an undergraduate coach.

“He’s a welcome addition to our staff,” Jaksa said over the weekend. “We’re really pleased that he’s back.”

Stovall was the 2007 Mid-American Conference Player of the Year, leading the conference with a .391 batting average and 55 RBI. He added 58 runs and 20 stolen bases and was drafted by the Reds in the 20th round of the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft.

In the Cincinnati organization, he advanced to Single-A, hit .266 in two professional seasons, and decided to pursue other opportunities after the 2009 season.

“Playing professional baseball was a dream come true,” Stovall said. “I’m glad I did it for a couple of years.”

He graduated from Cincinnati’s Moeller High, the same high school that produced future Hall-Of-Fame outfielder Ken Griffey, Jr., and played three seasons for the Chippewas.

“Being part of the team up here was probably the best part of going to school,” he said.

In addition to his coaching duties, Stovall is working toward completion of a personal finance degree. He was named second team academic All-American in 2007.

“I’m pleased not that he’s just helping, but getting his degree,” Jaksa said. “He was a solid player and he’s a solid thinker.”

Jaksa said Stovall will work mostly with the outfielders but will spend some time working with catchers as well.

“Anytime you can add a coach, it’s a win-win situation,” he said.

And Stovall sees it the same way.

“You feel so much responsibility,” he said. “[Coach Jaksa] and CMU did so much for my career. This is a great place to start for any young coach, but to give back is amazing.”

Simmons added

Also new to the Chippewas staff in 2011 is Derek Simmons, who will work with infielders and give additional hitting instruction.

Simmons graduated in May 2009 from Georgia State University, where he was the first player in program history to earn all-conference honors twice in a career. He finished his career with top-10 marks in school history for batting average, RBI, home runs and runs scored.

“It’s been great so far,” he said. “I’m very excited. It’s going to be hard work to defend our title, but this team is capable of not only winning the MAC Championship but also advancing to NCAA Regionals.”

No comments: