Former independent league player Jerod Edmondson will take over as Emerson baseball’s head coach, according to a post on the team’s Facebook page, announced in late June.
The position was vacated in early May after part-time head coach Dave Hanley stepped down due to scheduling conflicts with his full-time job, according to a statement on the athletic department’s website. Hanley had been with the program for 11 seasons.
“We did a thorough search, and received in between 45 and 50 applications,” Patricia Nicol, the athletic director, said in an interview.
A hiring committee, which included two current members of the team, unanimously selected Edmondson, Nicol said.
“[We picked him because of] his passion for baseball and his experience,” Nicol said. “It was just his standards, his expectations, and his excitement.”
Senior catcher Steve Cameron, one of the team representatives on the committee, said he was impressed by Edmondson’s interview.
“He knows the game, and he loves teaching it,” the visual and media arts major said. “He likes to win, which is what we want.”
Edmondson, 31, played collegiate baseball at Saint Anselm College and at UMass Lowell in 2007 as a graduate student. At UMass, Edmondson started all 53 games and batted .336, leading the team in RBIs with 42, according to the team’s archives. He played eight seasons in the independent Can-Am league and retired as the all-time hits leader last year.
In a leadership capacity, Edmondson has been an assistant coach at Framingham State University the past two years and is currently the hitting coach for the New Jersey Jackals.
“Being in professional baseball for the last nine years [as a player and a coach] has given me a different perspective and made me a better coach,” Edmondson said in a phone interview. “I try to teach my college guys the way to play the game at the professional level.”
The Lions have struggled the past few seasons, posting a 7-79 record since 2013, notching just two conference wins since the transition to the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference in 2014.
“When you really struggle, the mindset becomes ‘I hope we can just win a few games, and be a little bit better than last year,’” Edmondson said. “Instead, we need to show up and say, ‘We have a chance to win today.’ It’s not always the most talented team that wins, but the team that works harder.”
The position will remain part-time, according to Nicol, but the department hopes to have it expanded to full-time in the “near future,” as a part of a plan to have every coach be a full-time employee.
Cameron said though his expectations of next season with Edmondson are high, he realizes the program has a long way to go.
“I think that it might not reflect in our record [next season], but our play will improve and it will be a more enjoyable experience,” Cameron said. “We’ll get better as baseball players.”
Edmondson has already gotten to work—he said the day after he was hired in late June, he went to a tournament in New Jersey on a recruit visit.
“There’s a lot to do, and I’m on it,” Edmondson said.
The last time the Lions won more than 10 games was in 2012, when the team went 12-26. None of the players on next season’s roster were on the team that year.
“[The players have] gone through some tough times and they’ve persevered,” Nicol said. “They’re hungry to turn the page.”