Mike Glavine has played in and coached countless baseball games in his lifetime, from Little League to Major League Baseball. But the first-year manager of the Northeastern University baseball team said his new job has come with pregame butterflies.
“That caught me off guard a little bit,” Glavine said. “I find myself more antsy now before the game as the head coach than when I was the assistant. I just want to be sure I’ve put these guys in the right position to succeed.”
While he was initially surprised by the pregame anxiety, Glavine noted that his bout of the jitters is symptomatic of his passion for the game and his team. “If you aren’t nervous before games or you don’t want the team to perform well and win, then you probably shouldn’t be in the profession,” he said.
Glavine is a veteran of the Northeastern baseball program, playing for the squad in the early 1990s and serving as an assistant coach for eight years. He took over as head coach at the end of last season, succeeding Neil McPhee, who retired after 29 years as manager.
“I think he’s brought a real good atmosphere to the team,” senior co-captain and pitcher Nick Berger said of his new skipper. “He has everyone focused on the same goals, he has everyone working hard, and he’s making sure we all play to the best of our abilities.”
After more than a month on the road—a stretch that included trips to Texas, Florida, and South Carolina—Northeastern will play its 2015 home opener at Friedman Diamond in Brookline, Massachusetts, on Tuesday against Boston College. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.
The Huskies last played a Boston-based team earlier this month, taking the Red Sox to extra innings in their annual exhibition game on March 3 in Fort Myers, Florida. Northeastern’s pitchers struck out 10 Red Sox batters in the 2-1 setback.
Tuesday’s game marks the start of a six-game homestead for the Huskies. It is the latest home opener for Northeastern since 2008, and the team’s 19-game stretch away from home to start this season is its longest in seven years.
“As a coach I do like opening up on the road early because I think it builds a lot of chemistry,” Glavine said. “But we’ve been on the road long enough and I think these guys deserve to play at home.”
While Glavine and his players were hoping to return to Friedman with a better record than 7-12, they are confident they have the necessary pieces to contend for Colonial Athletic Association supremacy.
“I think you’ll see the record improve greatly as the team goes on,” said Josh Treff, catcher and junior co-captain. “I think it’s about playing a complete game. We’ve shown we can do everything at times and now it’s just a matter of putting it all together.”
The goals for this year’s team are threefold: To return to the CAA tournament for a third-straight season; to win the tournament; and to secure a bid to an NCAA regional.
Glavine said that this team can achieve all those goals. “I like the overall makeup of this team a lot,” he said. “I think we are very talented in all areas of the game.”
Despite only winning one of three games at the Big Five Baseball Bash in Pennsylvania earlier this month, Glavine said he was pleased with specific performances by the Huskies, including scoring seven runs off nine hits in a 7-0 victory against La Salle and the pitching staff striking out 17 batters in a 2-0 loss to Saint Joseph’s.