By Derek Staples
Fitchburg State’s new baseball coach Keith Broulliard has already had a positive impact on the team roughly halfway through the season. The team has already surpassed its win total from last season, and the players are clearly buying into Broulliard’s system. He brings a mindset to the team that values character, discipline, and dedication. Those three characteristics were clearly emphasized by the coach in his selection of this year’s team. Certain players who displayed excellent work ethic were valued over players who showcased mere talent, but a seeming lack of dedication. For example, a player whom I spoke with but wishes to remain anonymous, was cut from the team because the coach “didn’t like (his) attitude”.
In order to maintain the anonymity of the player, specific identifying details will be excluded from this article. However, I can assure you that this player was a decorated baseball player who was an All- Star in his league in high- school, a two- time MVP, and a solid hitter who hit .300 in four straight years. His expectations were to be a starter for the Fitchburg State baseball team, but he was recruited by last year’s coach, who is no longer with the team. The player was told by one of the team captains that the reason why he was dismissed from the team was that he did not show up for tryouts, although he apparently had the flu. According to the player, the only reasons why he was cut from the team was that he did not display an adequate work ethic and he was unable to make tryouts. He does not plan to try out for the team next year.
It appears that coach Brouilliard brings a new team-first mentality to the team that can be likened to U.S. Olympic Coach Herb Brooks. This raises a crucial question that comes up frequently in all sports; is it better to have a very talented player on your team that lacks in dedication or have a role player who is willing to sacrifice more for the team? In order to have a successful, cohesive team, the players need to buy into the coaches system and consider themselves as equals. Coach Broulliard seems to stand by this team approach, which is part of the reason why the team is experiencing more success early this season than it did last year.