Sam Blackmon Q & A
New Lions Baseball Head Coach leads team into 2014
SAGU hosts doubleheaders on Friday (at WSC) and Saturday (campus)
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Much is made of the parallels of spring and human life. Following fall and winter it is the time of year when nature gets back on its feet.
As the sun begins to shine longer and brighter comes the appearance of the groundhog and the robin. While buds turn to blooms, green dispatches drab as the new color.
There are so many reasons it is the season of hope!
To sports fans it also means the advent of the baseball season.
At Southwestern Assemblies of God University, whose 2014 campaign begins this weekend, the baseball program is undergoing a state of renewal.
Taking the reins of the team is first year Head Coach Sam Blackmon. His most recent posts were at East Texas Baptist University and the University of Dallas.
Blackmon is the point-man in charge of leading the Lions to their first winning season since joining the NAIA fifteen years ago. Over the past five seasons the Lions have won an average of 12.2 games and lost 30 games per season (.286 winning percentage).
His leadership brings the vitality of hope and promise.
He sat down recently and answered questions about the progress made during the fall and shared his thoughts about this season.
Question No. 1) As a new coach arriving in the summer, what were some of the first priorities on your list?
Coach Blackmon: Contacting returners, recruiting, scheduling games and field work were the first priorities we dealt with.
Q2) In regards to recruiting and building the Lions team, how many players do you anticipate carrying on this year's roster?
Coach Blackmon: About twenty-eight.
Q3) What kind of progress was made at Fall Camp?
Coach Blackmon: In the eight-week fall practice season, we felt good about the development. I think the team chemistry increased and we saw significant improvements from day one to the last day of practice.
Q4) Did you issue challenges to the newcomers and returning veterans?
Coach Blackmon: I don't think we made any challenges. We have been upfront with the players in our expectations and the ones who met them obviously have a slight edge (heading into the season).
Q5) As the team prepares for the new season, what improvements do you expect from last year to the new-look Lions of 2014?
Coach Blackmon: Not having seen last year’s team, that is a tough question. I do believe that our team will play hard and be competitive in all aspects of the game.
Q6) Is there a clear-cut area of improvement to date?
Coach Blackmon: I would think we are improved defensively.
Q7) What about the new schedule stands out to you?
Coach Blackmon: I think playing more on-campus games is a definite plus. I also think being in the SAC (Sooner Athletic Conference) will be a new challenge and definitely bring some exciting teams to our campus.
Having the first ten games of the season at home is also something we are excited about. (see schedule note below)
Q8) SAGU is entering a conference with a national reputation as one of, if not THE best in the NAIA. What challenges does that present to a team (SAGU) still seeking its first-ever winning season?
Coach Blackmon: In my opinion, this is the best conference in the nation. It does present challenges, but as competitors, you enjoy that aspect of the game.
Our job is to play the game the 'right way' and not get caught up in playing names on a jersey.
9) What kind of coaching staff does the team have this season?
Coach Blackmon: I believe we will have a solid staff. They are great men and great baseball people.
Chris Semprun will be our pitching and catching coach. Andrew Rickman will serve as our outfield coach.
Tommy Benningfield will be our corner coach while Derek Fortner will serve in the capacity of defense and offense. I will coach third base.
10) What kind of team should our fans anticipate this season?
Coach Blackmon: Based on what I saw in the fall, our team plays a good brand of baseball and play hard.
I am very proud of our players. I believe our fans will be as well.
SAGU OPENING WEEKEND SCHEDULE (two doubleheaders)
Friday, Jan. 31 at the Waxahachie Sports Complex vs Hillsdale College (Ok)
The Lions and Saints will play twice at the WSC. First pitch of the season at 4:00pm. Weather Forecast: High of 72, low of 52, partly cloudy.
The complex is on Broadhead Road, just over the bridge at Hwy 287 (across from Showbiz and Whataburger). Enter the soccer, softball, baseball and football complex and drive to the back right on Diamond #7.
The WSC is equipped with lighting, bleachers, concessions and restrooms.
Saturday, Feb. 1 on campus (adjacent to the Sheaffer Center).
SAGU and Hillsdale play a twinbill starting at 12 noon. Weather Forecast: High of 63, low 35, mostly cloudy.