Image credit: Air Force coach Mike Kazlausky (Photo courtesy of Air Force)
On this episode of the Baseball America College Podcast, presented by Rapsodo, Teddy Cahill and Joe Healy are joined by Air Force coach Mike Kazlausky to discuss his long history with the Air Force Academy, watching his players experience learning baseball at the same time they learn skills at the academy and playing for Paul Mainieri.
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Coach Kaz, as he’s more commonly known, has an impressive personal history, both in and out of the Air Force Academy. Not only did he attend and graduate from the academy while playing for the Falcons baseball team under Paul Mainieri, but he later held a role as an assistant coach in the program at various stages of his career, all while either serving as a pilot or as an instructor at the academy.
On the field, he’s brought success to Air Force, a place that hadn’t experienced much of the sort on the diamond before he arrived. He’s second all-time in wins among baseball coaches at the academy, and the 30 wins the 2016 team collected under his guidance are the second-most in a single season in program history.
At the same time, he and his staff have also developed a knack for placing high-end players into pro baseball. Pitcher Griffin Jax was a third-round pick in 2016, power hitter Nic Ready was taken in the 23rd round three years later, and just this offseason, outfielder Ashton Easley, one of the most dynamic players in the Mountain West and a surefire draftee had the draft been more than five rounds, was signed as a free agent by the Marlins.
Among the topics discussed on this episode are:
- What it was like to have players back on campus late in the summer
- Coach Kaz’s confidence in the group the team has returning on the mound
- How the lineup will replace a player as dynamic as Easley
- The recruiting pitch Kaz gives for Air Force
- His memories of playing for Paul Mainieri
- His history flying planes in the Air Force
- Seeing his players get to experience flying for the first time