Notre Dame Coach Link Jarrett Joins The Baseball America College Podcast
This week on the Baseball America College Podcast, Notre Dame coach Link Jarrett joins Teddy Cahill and Joe Healy to talk about taking over as head coach of the Fighting Irish, fall ball, his success at UNC Greensboro, Thanksgiving and more.
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Notre Dame in July hired Jarrett after he spent seven years as coach at UNCG. He led the Spartans to the NCAA Tournament in 2017, their first appearance in 20 years, and in 2018 they won the regular-season Southern Conference Championship for just the second time in program history.
At Notre Dame, Jarrett takes over a program that went 24-30 in 2019 and hasn’t had a winning record since 2015, also its last regionals appearance.
Jarrett is tasked with getting the Fighting Irish back to the NCAA Tournament and competing in the always difficult ACC. He said his first order of business this summer was assembling his coaching staff.
“Hiring of the staff is really the most important piece of what you’re doing when you get a job like this,” he said. “Rich Wallace is the recruiting coordinator who has been at Creighton and (Jacksonville) and High Point, actually came here from Jacksonville. He’s built really good rosters at three private schools and getting him on board to help navigate what this landscape is like now with recruiting has been great.
“Scott Wingo, he played at South Carolina, he’s on board as our volunteer assistant. To bring two national championships and the MVP of the College World Series, just to have that type of person in your program that brings a very extravagant record and such a taste of winning at a high level, to have him around our guys every day is important to me and important to our program.
“Chuck Ristano has been at Notre Dame, this will be his 10th year, so he knows the lay of the land here and has a pretty good grasp on where we are with the kids that were already committed and the roster that we have in place now.
“That was the biggest piece of it for me, was the second half of the summer making sure we had our staff in place. Recruiting never stops, it doesn’t ever end. You’re trying to add and build and knowing your roster and what you think you need is important for that ’20 class. The back end of the summer was more staff related and recruiting related.”
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Once Notre Dame got back to practice this fall, Jarrett was able to see his new team up close. He said he came away impressed with the pitching staff.
“I would put our pitching a little bit ahead of our defensive and offensive capabilities right now. That can change month to month and obviously year to year. but what I saw, especially when you have that many lefthanded arms that have good stuff, that gives you a foundation to roll out there and stay in some games. Defensively, you can look at last year’s numbers, not good enough defensively to help that pitching staff excel but I feel like they can. So, trying to move some people around a bit, get a little more athleticism on the field is really what I feel like we can do right now with the personnel we have to make this thing move a little bit.”
Jarrett is looking forward this week to Thanksgiving. He didn’t have any trouble picking his favorite part of the meal.
“Slam dunk, turkey,” he said. “Slam dunk, no doubt, turkey. I want that outside that’s got a little crispness to it. You’ve got to have a mixture on your plate, I think, of some white meat, but also some of that dark meat. Not too much gravy, just a little bit of gravy.”