18th Annual Bill Lierman\'s College Coaches Clinic

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 16, 2011

Lierman coach’s clinic turns 18, stronger than ever




They come for the baseball, but they come back for the love of the game.


College coaches from Texas, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and California are in Anchorage for the 18th annual Bill Lierman College Coach’s Clinic that runs next week at Mulcahy Stadium and Kosinski Fields.


John Maley of Incarnate Word University in San Antonio is making his 11th trip in the last 12 years.


“My favorite part of the clinic is seeing the excitement of the participants and spending time with the fantastic local people who allow us to come back year after year,” he said.


The clinic – which is sponsored by The Alliance for American Legion Baseball and Alaska Airlines – is named after the late, longtime Chugiak Post 33 manager who helped create it in 1994. In 2005 Alaska Legion Baseball named the clinic in his honor for his tireless dedication to young baseball players.


When the clinic began there were 46 players. Last year that number swelled to all-time high of 135.


“We are very proud of how the Bill Lierman College Coach’s Clinic has evolved over the years,” said George Wing of CSU Dominguez Hills in California.


This year’s list of coaches include Maley, Wing, Rick Baumann of Treasure Valley CC (Ore.), Brian Billings of Puget Sound (Wash.), Shawn Humberger of the College of Idaho, Levi Lacey of Everett CC (Wash.), Eric Madsen, Utah Valley University, Brian Schweiger of Cal State San Bernardino (Calif.), Rod Strickland of Lane CC (Ore.) and Chad Wagner of Lower Columbia CC (Wash.).


“Being a young coach I am very excited for this camp in general. This is the first camp that I have been a part of and I’m excited to not only help the kids but work with the great coaching staff,” Wagner said.


Players at the clinic will learn proper techniques in base running, sliding and rundowns while getting insight on game situations, handling adversity and getting to the next level.


“I have seen some great changes in players over the years of working the camp,” Lacey said. “It’s rewarding to see improvements in players who use the information we give them.”


As former players, these coaches have been in the cleats of today’s players because they all attended baseball camps when they were younger.


“A good majority of the baseball knowledge I have I got from camps, and I apply it to this day in my teachings,” said Humberger.


Some, like Wagner, saw it as an opportunity to shine in front of other players.


“Being from a small town (Sequim, Wash.), I was always excited to prove that good baseball players didn’t have to be from the big Seattle school. I was always very excited to work out and prove people wrong,” he said.

Others, like Madsen, wanted to show off for coaches.


“I remember wanting to learn the higher level of instruction as well as trying to impress them with my abilities,” he said. “I loved the excitement they brought, along with their interest in each player at the clinic. I have used many things that I learned while participating in those clinics. I try to bring excitement and energy as I instruct, while trying to show guys how things are done at the college level.”


Lacey agreed.


“I remember how excited I would get each year leading into the week of camp,” he said. “I always looked forward to working with coaches that motivated and challenged me to become a better player.”


For some of the Alaska players they may never get this kind of exposure again, so the coaches encourage them to treat every day like the bottom of the ninth inning.


“Do not waste this opportunity to stand out for the college coaches and try to improve yourself as a baseball player and person,” said Wing. “When the clinic is over, the coaches are gone and you may not get another chance to impress.”


The message is clear.


“Work for what you want,” Lacey said. “I try to deliver that message through baseball. Accomplishment comes from commitment and dedication. 


Sometimes baseball is just a metaphor for the game of life.


“Part of my message at the clinic is to never let your goals be derailed,” Maley said. “We'll all experience the ups and downs in life and baseball, but the question is ‘What are you going to do?’ Will you let the setbacks destroy your plans, hopes and dreams? Or will you use those to make you stronger and more determined to tackle what's thrown at you?”