Two-time Texas Collegiate League Coach of the Year, Derek Matlock will return for his third season as the Outlaws head coach. Matlock has been the head coach of the Outlaws since their inaugural season in 2005 and was honored as the TCL Coach of the Year in both 2005 and 2006, after leading the Outlaws to the 2005 League Championship and a Division Championship last year. Tim Howell from dentonoutlaws.com sat down with Coach Matlock to discuss his success and the outlook for 2007.
What can we expect from the 2007 Outlaws team?
Coach Matlock: Our 2007 Outlaws squad is shaping up to be a team with great speed coupled with a deep pitching staff. We have led the league in stolen bases for two years in a row and that has allowed us to really keep the opposition’s pitchers on their toes. Speed can really change a game. So, in 2007 we will capitalize on team quickness and a deep pitching staff that has really become a hallmark to Outlaws baseball.
Obviously, winning the last two TCL coach of the year awards is extremely impressive. One of the over looked aspects of this award is that each year you are coaching a very different roster. How do you go about assembling a winning team each year when there are so many new faces?
CM: You have to build a relationship with each player, therefore, they will trust you and that will give you an opportunity to coach them. Building up trust from your players is absolutely crucial. Once a team buys into your coaching ideas and really opens up and trusts you, then you know they are ready to learn and play good baseball. We have a great coaching staff that loves kids and the players can really see that. That helps our team come together.
You have found success at every level of baseball you have coached-from High School to college and on up to the Texas Collegiate League. What are some of your favorite aspects and the differences in your coaching approach from level to level?
CM: For the most part, the game is the same at all levels. You have to have a passion for the game. Kids at all ages can read this in a coach. Trust me, these kids know if their coach is passionate about the game or not. I’ve always been passionate about the game, and I think this rubs off on the players. Through passionate coaching you can set high expectations. If their coach has high expectations the players will play up to those expectations.
Much is known of all of your coaching accomplishments; but at what age did you decide that you wanted to dedicate your life to coaching baseball? Also, what is your background as a player?
CM: I knew that I wanted to coach at a relatively young age. I was in High School when the thought really first dawned on me. It has made me feel good to teach others how to play the game the right way. As far as my playing days, I played ball at Howard Junior College for two years.
Thanks for your time, Coach Matlock. We greatly appreciate it. Good luck to you and the Outlaws on another successful campaign in 2007!