Dream come true: Greg Goff introduced as Alabama's new baseball coachBy Tyler Waldrep | 06/22/2016 3:16pm
Greg Goff wants Alabama to return to Omaha. CW / Jonathan Daniels
On Friday, Greg Goff realized a dream when he was introduced as the 31st baseball coach for the University of Alabama.
Twelve years ago, when Goff took over Montevallo’s program, he never imagined he’d be in this position- 12 years ago Alabama’s influence over the state was more like a nightmare for Goff who remembers having to ask players more than once not to wear Alabama gear to events like tryouts.
“Everybody in this state just grows up loving the Tide so as a small school in the state we had to fight that a little bit, but I’ll tell you what I’m glad to be on this side now,” Goff said.
Goff spent the previous two seasons coaching at Louisiana Tech University where he led the Bulldogs to their first NCAA bid since 1987. Goff’s teams have recorded 40 wins at least once at each of his three stops for a total of six times in 12 seasons. Alabama has recorded 40 wins twice in that same time period (2006 and 2010).
“Going to a place for two years is tough. That wasn’t the plan. We had an awesome, awesome opportunity there and was very blessed to be there and when coach Battle called and we talked about the Alabama job I thought I was dreaming and I wouldn’t have left Ruston, Louisiana if it wasn’t my dream job.”
Whether he can have the same success in the SEC remains to be seen, but the former Kentucky pitching coach has a plan to get the Crimson Tide back in the postseason and back to Omaha.
Goff said starting the season out with some opponents that give his team some confidence is good, but Alabama has to play a challenging schedule to have a chance to return to the postseason.
“We got an at-large bid for the first time in school history [at Louisiana Tech],” Goff said. “That was because we had 15 or 20 games with top 25 [teams].”
But playing good teams isn’t enough for the Crimson Tide. Goff’s team has to win those games and to do that he some battles to win on the recruiting trail.
“I do know that in any coaching, recruiting is important and you better recruit good players in this age,” Alabama Athletics Director Bill Battle said. “In pretty much every sport where there is a professional league you need to be able to attract talent that has a chance to go to the next level and they better believe that you can develop their talent to send them to the next level.”
One week ago, six Alabama baseball players were selected in the 2016 MLB draft. Some of those players, like fourth round pick,Thomas Burrows, will have to be convinced that returning to play for Goff is the right decision.
Once he’s spoken with current team, Goff will turn his attention to the future.
"Our number one goal is recruiting. Our number one goal is to win this state… if kids hadn’t heard from Greg Goff in the next 24-48 hours they will,” Goff said. “We’re gonna recruit this state, we’re going to own this state.”
The New Joe is one of many resources Goff intends to leverage to help the Crimson Tide succeed in the postseason. Goff said the new stadium is one of the best in the country and that it will turn visiting recruits into commits.
“It’s a park that you can make a huge home-field advantage,” he said. “We get the Joe packed like that there’s going to be people not wanting to come play us.”
When teams do visit, Goff said his teams will need sound pitching and good defense to win championships, and when his team is on offense he wants to see his guys be aggressive.
“We want to be able to lead the country in stolen bases, on base percentage is very important to me,” Goff said. “...We’re going to let our guys swing early and put their best swing off and try to put a ball through the wall, but with two strikes we’re going to try to put the ball in play and make them defend the field.”
If he can get the right pieces in place, then Goff’s aggressiveness might be exactly what Alabama needs to return to Omaha.
“This facility, we should be hosting regionals and that’s our goal is to host regionals” Goff said. “To bring three other teams to Tuscaloosa and to beat them and then to move on to the next round.”