College Podcast: Charlotte Coach Robert Woodard On 2020, More
On this episode of the Baseball America College Podcast, sponsored by Rapsodo, Teddy Cahill and Joe Healy are joined by Charlotte coach Robert Woodard to discuss his first season at the helm, his approach to summer ball for his players, his friendship with Daniel Bard and what Mike Fox means to him.
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Woodard, a North Carolina pitcher from 2004-2007, took over as head coach at Charlotte after serving as an assistant at UNC Wilmington, Virginia Tech and his alma mater. His first 49ers team, which had its season cut short, finished 9-8 with some ups, like a sweep of St. John's at home and a win over North Carolina State to end the season, and some downs, like getting swept by East Carolina over the last weekend of the season.
Woodard and his staff have taken a unique approach to summer ball for their players. Part of that was the plan all along, while some of it was a situation brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. The unplanned part involved scrambling to try to find new summer ball homes for position players who kept seeing opportunities disappear as more and more summer leagues canceled seasons. The planned part, though, was sending his pitchers as a group to Premier Pitching Performance in St. Louis, where they would train for the summer rather than play in leagues.
There is plenty to talk about when it comes to UNC baseball as well. Woodard's college teammate and friend Daniel Bard has been one of the best stories in MLB this season, as he returned to a big league mound for the first time in seven years after dealing with a case of the yips. Additionally, UNC coach Mike Fox on Friday announced his retirement, turning the program over to longtime assistant Scott Forbes. Woodard played for Fox and considers Forbes a close friend, so he came away feeling extremely happy for both parties after the news broke.
Among the topics discussed on this episode include:
- Charlotte's unique approach to summer assignments for players
- Continuing to gain a competitive advantage in player development in a time when much of college baseball is approaching it the same way
- What drew Woodard to the Charlotte job
- How Woodard and his staff are approaching this extended offseason ahead of year two
- Woodard's thoughts on Daniel Bard's return to the big leagues
- Mike Fox's retirement at UNC, what Fox means to Woodard and excitement over the upcoming Scott Forbes era