Tim Corbin Delivers Powerful Message In Support Of A Third Full-Time Assistant Coach
OMAHA — On the eve of Michigan playing Vanderbilt in the College World Series finals, Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin delivered a powerful message in support of transforming the volunteer coach position into a third full-time assistant coach for college baseball.
A proposal to do just that failed in April by a close vote of the Division I council, but the issue has not gone away. There has been some talk that a recall could occur, though a timetable on such a vote remains unclear. American Baseball Coaches Association executive director Craig Keilitz has vowed to return the proposal to the legislative process in 2022, the next time the Division I council can take it up.
The issue of the third assistant coach and increasing the 11.7 scholarships baseball is allotted gained more life last week when Mississippi State center fielder Jake Mangum ended his college career by making an impassioned plea in support of both issues at his press conference just moments after the Bulldogs were eliminated from the College World Series.
Sitting next to Michigan coach Erik Bakich, who was a volunteer assistant at Clemson when Corbin was on staff as a full-time assistant, Corbin on Sunday delivered what amounted to an essay in support of the turning the volunteer coach into a full-time position. As one of the most respected college coaches in the country and an ABCA board member, his well-chosen words carry a significant amount of weight.
“I'm 32 years old, I'm married, I have a child, I leave the home at 7:30 every morning, I come back at 8:00, 9:00 at night. I do it Sunday through Sunday. I don't get paid. I don't get compensated. My wife stays home with a baby, can't afford daycare. And God forbid he goes to daycare, gets sick—I don't have benefits so I can't pay for that.
“Can't get a ticket to a football game, can't get a ticket to a basketball game, can't eat with a recruit.
“Why? I'm a volunteer.
“I stay all year, I work, I've got to go off in the summer, work camps.
“Why? I can't recruit. I'm a volunteer.
“I make camp money, I come home, put stress on my wife, can't have another child. Costs money to have children; can't do it.
“I'm a volunteer.
“It's the most short-sighted-thinking aspect of our game that we've been a part of. We lose good people to other jobs, other sports—softball, professional baseball. They leave baseball because they can't afford to stay in it. I've got a volunteer on my right. Why that hasn't been changed, why that hasn't been turned over in the last couple of years is really, really sinful. It's dehumanizing in so many different ways.
“It doesn't open up opportunities. We're very white inside the sport. Erik and I have a collection of minorities (on our teams), but because we're very white in the sport, we don't open up opportunities for other minorities. And I'm not talking about blacks, I'm not talking about Latins, I'm talking about women, I'm talking about other people that have an opportunity to potentially coach at this level, and you say, women in baseball? Women are in the NFL, women are doing Major League Baseball on TV. We limit ourselves greatly.
“And because of that, when you've got young people that aspire to go to college and play a sport, they look at the people coaching it, and when they don't see people like them, then they shut down the sport, then they move to another sport.
“I can't believe we've done that to ourselves. I can't believe that we didn't overturn that and say, we'll revisit it in 2022. 2022? I don't know if I'll be alive. We walk around and think that we're going to be living the next day. No, that should be adjusted immediately. It's something that needs to be done.
“For a 21-year-old kid like Jake Mangum to speak up, says everything you want to know. Student-athletes thinking about that position, thinking about that position and someone that they work with every single day, someone who's always there, and you can't compensate them or reward them with just simple medical benefits, it's baffling, and it's sad.
“It needs to be adjusted quickly, without question. We're better than that.”