Kevin Kocks, who has 550 wins as a head coach, was hired by Culver-Stockton last month to replace Chris Terry, who moved to Eastern New Mexico.
Bob Broughton, courtesyrunner.com: Your previous head coaching job was in a Division I program, Cleveland State. What led to Cleveland State dropping baseball?
Kevin Kocks: Cleveland State dropped baseball due to financial reasons, so they say. We had no warnings...
BB: What were the highlights of your five years at Cleveland State?
KK: We turned academics around in three years. The NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) was a big issue when I got there. 95% of my players graduated and ended up playing in a multi-million dollar stadium. Cleaned up the image of the program while I was there.
BB: Are you bringing any players with you from Cleveland State?
KK: No players coming to Culver-Stockton, as we placed them all before I knew I was coming here.
BB: Culver-Stockton did well last year; 37-17, a 24-4 conference record, and two post-season wins. What do you think the the Wildcats need to move to the next level?
KK: This year's team will need good team chemistry to sustain a level to compete at the national level. We will continue to recruit quality athletes and students. [Austin Keaton, one of Culver-Stockton's best hitters last season, is not returning.]
BB: Have you had a chance to meet any of the recruits you're going to have this year?
KK: No chance to meet the new or returning kids; I've been busy rehabbing the field.
BB:Your previous head coaching job was a Spalding, which was an NAIA program at the time. You did very well there; you were named Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year four times, and made three trips to Lewiston. What are some things that you remember from Spalding?
KK: The relationships with the kids, the memories of the NAIA World Series, and the friends I met.
BB: Your best finish at the Baseball National Championship was in 2005. What was the highlight for you of that tournament?
KK: Being with the kids and watching our program mature.
BB: Tell us about the day that Jake Ford hit five home runs [the college baseball record].
KK: Incredible day to watch. don't think it will be matched.
BB: What's Ford doing now?
KK: Jake is working in Louisville, KY and is coaching high school ball.
BB: Not very many people who will read this have ever been to Canton, MO. Had you spent any time there prior to taking this job? What are the selling points for Culver-Stockton?
KK: I had never been to Canton, but it is refreshing to get away from the big city and all those people. Here at Culver we have a courteous campus with great people who are here for the students. A slower style of life that I enjoy. Great engaged studies with a progressive learning environment. We have a great baseball program that will be staying strong. The facilities are getting better and better and we have people who care and want to work...