December 15, 2017
Over the last 20-plus years, Monte Brooks has traveled, sometimes trekked, to the annual American Baseball Coaches Association Convention, whether it was in Nashville, Atlanta or Anaheim. He rarely missed. He hoped each year to glean from some of the country’s best baseball minds.
On the morning of January 5, 2018, it will be Brooks’ turn to impart know-how built up over five seasons of minor league baseball, 21 years as manager at The Master’s University and hours sitting under the instruction of past ABCA speakers.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to share about our program at the ABCA convention,” said Brooks, a first-time speaker. “The history of the convention has been influential for me and impactful for me and helpful for our program.”
Brooks’ session at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis is titled, “Don’t Cut Corners: Avoid Neglecting Corner Infield Play.” And for good reason. Over the last six seasons, the Mustangs have led the NAIA in fielding percentage three times. In two of the other years, they were second and third, respectively.
The nifty glove-work has led to three NAIA World Series appearances in the last five seasons. The Mustangs have advanced to that stage four times in all since Brooks took over 21 seasons ago.
He has since led TMU to three conference titles and been named conference coach of the year four times – regional coach of the year, six times, most recently in 2017.
But next month’s trip to Indianapolis isn’t about all of that. Brooks just hopes to do for others what has been done for him.
“I’m passing down a lot of what I’ve learned to the next generation of coaches,” Brooks said.
Other ABCA Convention speakers include University of Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan, who led the Gators to the 2017 NCAA Division 1 title, and Augie Garrido, the Division1 all-time wins leader, among others.
The world-renowned convention’s clinics cover pitching, hitting, fielding, strength and conditioning, team building and motivation over three days.
When Brooks returns, it’ll be time for final tune-ups before the Mustangs, ranked No. 14 in the preseason NAIA Coaches’ Poll, open their season on January 19 at Marymount.
TMU’s first home date is a double-header vs. Marymount on January 20.