Auburn Baseball: Recruiting, History, Schedule, Coaches & More
Every year, at about this time, high school student-athletes search for the universities that will meet their needs and help push them to the next level of academic and athletic achievement. For many of these students, Auburn University is seen as a great option to further their goals. When you consider that this university is the second largest in Alabama and one of the state’s two public flagship universities it makes sense.
While originally it was a private liberal arts school during it’s founding in February of 1856, it later became the state’s first public land-grant university. It would later make history when, in 1964, Auburn admitted its first African American student.
For students who want to enjoy a quality education with classroom sizes that have an average student to faculty ratio of 19:1, then Auburn is a dream. Baseball students, however, can enjoy athletic scholarships and a rigorous training program that many universities simply can’t beat.
So if you’re wondering how you can become an Auburn Tiger or why we consider it such a prestigious placement. Read on and we will help you understand more.
But first, we have to figure out the recruitment process.
How does Auburn find their players?
Like many recruiting universities. Auburn goes through an annual year long selection process to help them find the new talent to replace graduating seniors. While Auburn has their own spin on each of the following steps, it’s nearly universal how the great rosters fill their ranks every year.
Let’s take a look at some of these methods.
General Recruiting Tools
There are general recruiting sites that coaches will scan through name-by-name to help determine whether or not you would be a fit for their roster or the larger university. These sites provide a convenient way for your information to be collected, making recruitment far easier.
University Camps and Showcases
Every university hosts training camps and showcases that are open for enrollment to the public. These camps and showcases are designed to give student-athletes the chance to train, compete, and show their skills.
It’s no surprise that many university coaches, like Auburn, pay close attention to the results of these camps. Certain student-athletes will always stand out and thanks to hands-on observations and experience, coaches will know that the student is the real deal rather than snippets carefully chosen for highlight reels.
We’ll go into University camps and showcases more later, but for now, consider this to be one of your first and best options to get noticed.
As a tip
Be sure to reach out to a coach before you show up, because with other campers there for the same reason as you, you want to increase your chances that the coaches will look out for you specifically.
Talent Scouting/Identifying Services
Coaching takes a lot of work and recruiting eats time into an already busy schedule. That’s why many coaches use talent identifying services to send them notices on promising recruits that meet their roster’s needs.
Sites such as National Preps may not be for students, but they can be a powerful tool to getting your name in a coach’s inbox. You might be wondering how you can take advantage of this?
That actually goes along with our next hot tip.
Recommendations from High School and Club Coaches
Many coaches rely on the recommendations of high school and club coaches to help them make recruiting decisions. High school and club coaches want to see their best athletes succeed and will make a good faith effort to be upfront about your statistics to recruiting university coaches.
This matters, because even the highest level player won’t get very far if a high-school coach doesn’t announce and verify their skill level and physical attributes to a university coach.
Student-athletes can take advantage of this by getting on their coaches good side. Building a rapport will lead to more frequent assistance since, professionalism aside, everyone works harder for those they are on good terms with.
Similarly, if you are on great terms with your coach, you can direct them to talent scouting sites and organizations and their referrals will help scouts deliver your name to university coaches.
But it’s not just scouting and referral websites that get in on the action. Thanks to the Internet, you have a powerful tool at your disposal.
Everyday, more and more companies look at a prospective employees social media page to get the scoop on who they are when they aren’t at the office. So it stands to reason that recruiting coaches will look up prospective students online as well.
Not only will recruiting coaches check out student-athletes of interest to see whether they would be a strong fit for their universities, but they’ll also look for posts about you from rival schools and competitors.
To take advantage of this, we recommend that you put your best face forward on your social media page and carefully curate what goes to your feed. Another strategy that is riskier, but may pay out well in the end, is being open to what universities contact you.
Some schools pay attention when they notice that their rivals have taken an interest in an athlete and may work harder to get your commitment first.
As a tip
We urge caution since showing too much interest in a school that contacts you or misrepresenting the facts, may get your applications tossed away.
For many coaches though, nothing beats the personal rapport that can develop by direct or face-to-face communication. This means emails, phone calls, and letters and the exchanges that these personal communications can help develop.
Ideally, this will make it so that coaches no longer need outside sources to remember your name. But it also helps you determine if a coach is the right fit for you. As long as you keep aware of NCAA mandated periods where coaches may not speak with you, this is a great choice.
If you’re asking yourself whether you are the kind of player Auburn wants, then let’s see if you meet the cut.
What types of players does Auburn look for?
You might be thinking that all you need to get onto a recruiting list are great grades and great game statistics. While those certainly help, as we’ll discuss below, Auburn expects quite a lot more from their potential recruits. The following is a short list of what you must have to appear high on Auburn’s list of potential recruits.
Even the greatest local players on a high school team is in for a surprise the first time they get out onto the field. Because each and every member of Auburn’s team was chosen because they are the best for their specific positions.
This isn’t to say that a student-athlete can’t make a strong impression after recruitment. Instead, think of it as an opportunity to learn from student-athletes who faced the same struggles that you did. The seniors earned their freshman positions and have seasons of experience that could be shared and help you grow.
Students that can take this lesson to heart tends to be a more valued and welcome member of the team in the locker room and are more desired by recruiting coaches.
Unless you are lucky enough to live close to Auburn, you’ll be most likely moving out of your town, out of your state, and possibly even out of the country in order to play for this team. So you don’t have adults looking over your shoulder making sure you manage your time and make healthy decisions.
There are a lot of temptations to deal with when you live on your own and coaches want to trust that their recruits will be able to overcome these temptations to keep up with their on and off field responsibilities.
If you need an idea of what to expect, see if you can talk to current or past players who can share their experiences.
Speaking of what current players may say, they’ll likely tell you that coaches work hard to foster a family feel in their teammates. They want players who can help each other out both on and off the field and help create a positive environment that more toxic players and attitudes would simply not allow.
For that reason, coaches prefer positive players to join their squads. This doesn’t mean that you have to be bubbly if you aren’t naturally so. Instead you should be ready to play and you should be supportive of your fellow teammates.
This mix between encouraging and serious also helps in another facet that coaches look for.
On the same token, even if you have dreams of graduating and jumping right into a professional baseball career, Auburn’s recruits are students first before being athletes. It’s vital that you remember that and act accordingly.
Keeping up your grades will keep you with your scholarship and will keep you in a place of honor on your team. It also shows the kind of drive and determination to succeed that is very attractive to coaches from all universities, including Auburn.
If you have trouble with maintaining strong work habits, we recommend finding a counselor who can help you find a training or time-management program that works for you.
Finally, coaches are looking for players who excel at their positions and are ready to push beyond their own limits. As we said earlier, even the top local stars at the high school level have a world of improvement to make once they reach the collegiate NCAA level of competition.
Coaches therefore are looking for accomplished players who display talent and a willingness to learn. Because even the most naturally gifted athletes will struggle to keep up with players who show superstar dedication to training and fitness.
Now, let’s look at what you can expect when you play for Auburn.
The Coaching Staff at Auburn
While the players may be the parts of the team that draw in the crowds. Every athlete knows that no game plan can succeed without a rockstar coaching staff to head up the team’s best efforts. That’s why we’re here to take a moment and recognize some of big names on the coaching staff of Auburn University.
Head Coach Butch Thompson
Named as Auburn’s head baseball coach on October of 2015, Thompson enters his fourth season with the Tigers in the 2018-2019 season. He had previously spent three seasons as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator from 2006-2008. His style of coaching has produced major league players, with eight of his former pitchers, including Grant Dayton, Chris Stratton, Kendall Graveman, and others, making the cut.
Assistant Coaches Karl Nonemaker and Gabe Gross
Gabe Gross re-joined the Tigers coaching staff as an assistant coach before the 2018 season. This is after serving as an Auburn first-team All-American player in 2000 after leading the Southeastern Conference in hitting with a .430 average.
Karl Nonemaker was named assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the Tigers’ baseball program in the fall of 2018. While he served on Auburn’s staff from 2005-2007, he helped the program reach the NCAA regional final in 2005. He assisted Gabe Gross with the Auburn offense in 2018 and helped lead the unit to it’s best season since 2010.
What is Auburn Baseball like?
Students who get recruited for Auburn’s baseball team can expect to be a part of a strong team. They’ll be trained to make winning plays and can expect to be a part of a team that doesn’t let defeat stop them. This strength of character means that Auburn will continue to excel and advance and may be expected to make NCAA tournament appearances.
In a May 2018 interview, Head Coach Thompson had this to say about his team, “This team can be exciting. This team has defensive pieces in the middle, this team has pitching, this team has a good catcher, this team has power. We have to figure out and understand, this is who we are. This is our identity, and get our best players playing the best heading into a regional.”
So if you are looking for a team with power, positivity, and passion, you can’t go wrong with Auburn.
Does Auburn have any notable rivalries?
Auburn has traditional rivalries in the University of Alabama and the University of Georgia. The heat between these teams is enough that the end of season stretch of games is known as the “Amen Corner.” The university also has a hot rivalry against The Alabama Crimson Tide, which is known as one of the most intense in the country.
The Baseball squad has specific in-state rivalries with the Samford Bulldogs and Troy Trojans.
What this means is that the school is passionate about their sports and college identity.
How can I get an invitation to play for Auburn?
Like most universities, there are several must have requirements that must be met in order to receive a scholarship to play for this prestigious team. While every university has their own slight variations on these themes, they cover three main areas that we’ll go over below.
The reason we list Academic Requirements first is that, by NCAA standards, scholarship winning students must be Student-Athletes. This means that their primary purpose in coming to this university is to complete their studies and perform excellently in the classroom.
The NCAA proves their dedication to this goal by requiring all Division I schools to meet the following academic minimum requirements to get their foot in the door.
- Complete 16 core courses to include…
- Four years of English
- Three years of math (Algebra 1 or higher)
- Two years of natural/physical science (including one year of lab science if your high school offers it)
- One additional year of English, math or natural/physical science
- Two years of social science
- Four additional years of English, math, natural/physical science, social science, foreign language, comparative religion or philosophy
- Complete 10 core courses, including seven in English, math or natural/physical science, before your seventh semester.
- Earn at least a 2.3 GPA in your core courses.
- Earn an SAT combined score or ACT sum score matching your core-course GPA on the Division I sliding scale, which balances your test score and core-course GPA.
Even if you have met these requirements, you have to remember that there is a competition for a limited number of spots on the team each year. So if you want a higher chance at successful recruiting, you have to surpass these standards. You can never go too high.
Every position has particular requirements to excel in those roles, but what it all boils down to is staying match-fit and keeping up with your skills training. Once you enter the Auburns roster, you’ll be able to work with your coaches to find a training routine that works for you and your role.
But what you might want to do now is talk with your coaches about your strengths and weaknesses as a player and ask about exercises and training programs you can use to improve. You should also get accurate measurements of your player ability and physical attributes (height, weight, etc) and ask your coaches if you’re playing for the right position for you.
Personality and Management Skills
When you enter university level athletics, coaches are going to require a lot more of your soft social skills than you ever thought possible. You’ll be expected to not only show a willingness to learn, but you’ll also have to become a positive and supportive member of your team.
You’ll also need to be able to master managing your time, because at the university level you won’t always have someone hanging over your shoulder reminding you of what you have to do.
Specifically, you’ll want to show some of, if not all, of the following traits.
Even if you were considered one of the top players at your high school, one of the early lessons you learn at the university level is that you stand among others who were also top stars of their school. Coaches don’t want someone who thinks they’re better than the rest of the team, so showing humility will keep arguments from happening, but give you a better chance of learning from and teaching the members of your roster.
Athletic competition is difficult. That much is always true, with the long hours of work that you can expect. Coaches know that even if you falter, that if you’re willing to get back up and keep moving forward, then you’re far more likely a strong fit for their team.
With only so many hours in a day, you can’t afford to waste a lot of time. One of the biggest struggles that incoming freshman often face is knowing how to prioritize what they have to do against what they want to do, which can lead to messed up sleep schedules or missed appointments and assignments.
So start getting your time management skills on point now.
As the season and semesters grind on, it can be overwhelming to think about all the responsibilities that will fall in your lap as a player. When the pressure is high, many players have to stand up and find strategies that will help them overcome. But the trick is to make sure that your stress relief doesn’t get in the way of any of these other goals.
Hobbies and extracurricular activities that don’t take you too far away from your athletic and academic work are a great way to do this.
If you can manage to keep up with these traits, then you might be ready to get recruited to play for Auburn. But here’s a few final tips that will get you started on the right foot.
3 Tips to Getting Recruited by Auburn Baseball
Contact your local coaches and Auburn’s recruiting coaches early and often
Local coaches are often the trusted source for accurate assessments of your skills and value as a player. So if you want your name to make a stronger impression on Auburn’s recruiting coaches, then you should talk with your current coaches. Build a rapport with them and ask them for honest feed back about your areas of improvement, strengths, and talents.
Your interest and enthusiasm for improvement will often show up in their feedback letters and emails that Auburn’s coaches will see, which will only make you look better in their eyes.
As far as Auburn itself, if you are interested in playing for the team and want the university to watch your growth and performance, you’ll want to talk with them. Auburns website lists Nonemaker as the recruiting coordinator for the team, and he can be reached by the email address on this page.
When you speak with him, just remember to be respectful of his time and position, but enthusiastic about learning more. Also be sure to let him know if you are showing up at any tournaments or showcase camps. But be aware that there are certain periods of the year where coaches cannot speak with you at all, so be aware of those dates.
Start gathering clips for your highlights reel
An important part of making coaches notice you is to have a stellar highlight reel that shows your performance in a game. You’ll want to get lots of clear shots that show you at your best, because it will give you more room for later video editing and clip collection. Find someone who can record you playing on a high quality camera and use that to enhance your application.
Participate in the Tigers Summer Baseball Showcase Camp
University run showcase camps are an excellent way to get noticed by your potential future coaches. Not only will they see you perform in-person, but you’ll also be able to see for yourself if this team is right for you.
As we said before, make sure that you reach out to recruiting coaches to let them know you’re on the way. Ideally you’ll do this after you’ve built up a rapport with the current recruiting coach so that they are already eager to meet you.
You can learn more about their camp by checking out our write-up on this page.