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Will Fox
Caleb Longley
Jason Kelly
Texas A&M Baseball

Earley's assistants shine a light on Texas A&M baseball's new direction

July 10, 2024

Since being named the 21st head coach of Texas A&M baseball, Michael Earley rounded out his coaching staff with Will Fox, Caleb Longley and Jason Kelly. The three Aggie assistants joined TexAgs Radio on Wednesday to discuss the future of the program.

Key notes from Will Fox interview

  • I've learned a lot. I played at McNeese and just made that smooth transition into coaching. I worked with the pitchers for a little while, so I had to learn about myself and learn more about coaching. Moving forward, I had been in the player development and analytics role here, and I got to work under some great coaches, and obviously, for the last three years, I have been the best working with Michael Earley. I've learned a lot, but I still have a lot to learn.
  • It was an immediate “yes” when Earley told me about the job. As for my family, I grew up 45 minutes down the road in Montgomery, so they were fired up. My wife’s family is from College Station, so they were pretty fired up as well. Not only to keep me, but to keep the grand children as well.
  • This week was my first recruiting event as a full-time coach. I worked a lot with the infielders last year, but now I'm full-time. I'll keep my same routine with Earley, Caleb Longley and the hitters, so we are going to be a united front. As for the recruiting side, I'm fired up to get out there and find new Aggies.
  • Being a recruiter is going to be a smooth transition. I know what a good player looks like, and I know what a player that Earley likes looks like. I think it's going to be a good transition.
  • There are a couple of things I'm going to change as soon as we start in the fall. Other than that, everything is going to be pick-and-play from what I've learned as a player and a coach. Nothing is going to be set routine that we do, but it will be a little of everything. We're going to hang our hat on making the routine play. The harder stuff will come from a part of their athletic ability, but we are going to hang our hat on making the routine plays.
  • This coaching staff had a really good reputation with those guys in the portal. We worked with them, and we know them. We had a good feeling that they would come back.
  • The success in the postseason speaks to what Kaeden Kent did behind the scenes. He has so much fight, and he is going to “will-it” to get done. He's also very skilled, and he's hard-nosed. He's also a really good player. A guy like Gavin Grahovac coming back is big, too, and that solidifies another dirt spot.
  • I think Grahovac is a freak. He's a really good player, and he's super tooled-up. He came in as a utility guy but had never really played third base. For him to go to work, put his nose to the dirt, and say, “This is my spot...” I think the sky's the limit for that guy.
  • Kent is a captain. Like I said, he is hard-nosed and skilled. When those two things merge, you see what you saw in the postseason. That's when stuff like that happens. Kent could be an everyday shortstop in the SEC, and we could go to Omaha with him at shortstop. In fact, I hope we do.
  • We haven't talked about running the offense. I'm sure Earley will be running the offense, but I will be the third base coach outside of the dugout. It’s a “feel” deal. Being in the middle of the field my whole career will make it a pretty easy transition.
  • I knew Longley a little before this. He has always been a hard worker. Jason Kelly came in about a week ago, so I'm excited to break everything down with him. It's going to slow down some, but it's never going to stop.
  • This transition has been really fun. Getting to know the staff as were having visits has been a whirlwind. We're a united front already, so it's been good. Jace Hutchins was kind of the reason the pitching staff stayed together through this whole ordeal. Jack Mahala has been massive for our pitching staff, our hitters and our scouting reports for everything. He's really good at what he does.
  • Jason Hutchins is at it every day. He's at work before everybody. He's going to beat you to work, and he's going to let you know. I know much it takes to set up the camps, and he had to do that and run them on his own. That guy does it all.
  • The recruiting has been fun, but I'm ready to get this team on campus, have our first team meeting and set the tone for the program. There's going to be a lot of happy dudes. There's going to be a hungry team in there, too. They're going to be itching to get after it with the end goal in mind.

Key notes from Caleb Longley interview

  • I’m from a small town between Chatanooga and Knoxville, Tennessee. I played at East Tennessee State. I didn’t get good until my last year, and I made some changes. That led me down my coaching path. I got hired by Michael Earley at Arizona State. That was my first job. I didn’t know Earley or anybody at Arizona State. I was a mid-major player that wanted a start in coaching. I was the first to send my resume in, and he hired me at 23 years old to assist him there.
  • There was no mutual connection with Earley at the time. I had a resume ready, sent it over to him, answered a few questions and got on the phone with him and the head coach Tracy Smith.
  • When I walked into Tempe, Arizona State was the No. 3 team in the country, and we had Spencer Torkelson among a number of other really great players. It was a really good situation.
  • I was a young guy coming into Arizona State, but there was no ego with Earley. He was looking for the one percent to make a player better. We learned from each other, and it was a good match from the start.
  • I went to Texas at the same time Earley went to A&M. In 2021, Arizona State was the No. 2 seed at the Austin Regional, and Troy Tulowitzki was able to bring me over to Texas. He was doing his own research at the time, and he’s who brought me to Texas.
  • Sometimes, I take a step back and take a breath when it comes to this coaching rise. My wife was a softball player in college, so she understands the grind and the game.
  • I’ve known Will Fox some from conventions and here and there. Players love him, and he’s one of the best infield guys in the country. I’m excited to work with him more on a day-to-day basis.
  • Neither Earley nor I are married to an individual hitting philosophy. It’s about getting each player to be their best. We’ve always been competitive, and we’ve always compared and checked notes. I would look at his box scores and feel good knowing we scored 12 just to see that he scored 14 that same night.
  • Our plate discipline plan wasn’t as good as Earley’s. We hit a lot of homers last year, but A&M did too. There are teams that don’t strike out, but they don’t hit homers like A&M did last year. You want guys that can slug with a low chase rate. What Earley has done here has been great.
  • The walk is a weapon. The strikeout can be just another out if you’re hitting a double or a home run to score a run after a walk.
  • I steal a lot of coaching philosophy from other people. The plans are so individual to each player. It’s not the same thought or drill for every guy. We want each guy to be as efficient as possible. At the end of the day, how everybody gets there is different, and it’s about coaching each individual guy. We have a lot of good ones.
  • I’ve watched a ton of Jace LaViolette and Grahovac and those guys. I also watched a lot of the pitchers when doing my scouting. I’m excited to work with those guys and work toward getting them that one percent better.
  • The move to College Station has been great. My wife and I are looking at houses, and she sends me about 10 a day. The community has been great, and I love it. Everywhere we go, it’s all Aggies. I could not be happier to be here.
  • Jason Kelly is a complete baseball guy. He loves the game and knows the game. When I was young at Arizona State, he was on the staff as well. I would hammer him with questions, and he never made it feel like I was annoying him. He helped me learn a ton. He’s a players’ coach, and everybody wants to play hard for him.
  • I didn’t have to look up Blue Bell Park during the regional. I couldn’t hear myself think. The 12th Man effect is real. It makes it hard to pitch, hit and play defense in as a visitor.

Key notes from Jason Kelly interview

  • The last two weeks were a whirlwind. Being at Washington — which is a place I love and a place where I cut my teeth at the Power 5 level — I knew at some point I would want to come back to the SEC. When everything started to go down and got really serious, I got together with my family, and after a couple of minutes, they were in.
  • Once Michael Earley got the job, the real question came up. “Are you in?” I said, “Yeah!” Earley called back an hour later, saying he got the job. I was like, “Here we go.” I got in on Friday night, and we’ve been going hard ever since.
  • It was a combination of both wanting to come back to the SEC and being with Earley. You want to work with people that you want to be around every day. Sometimes it's hard to find that situation. He was one of three or four people that if they got a job, I would have to seriously think about my future.
  • Earley treated the players the way I wanted them to be treated, so we vibed in that way. When everything happened, I knew that I could come to a place that had a chance to win a national championship and a place where I could be myself. Being able to get together with Earley, Caleb Longley, Will Fox, Jason Hutchins and everybody else is a good thing.
  • I don't want our goals to look much different than they did last year at Texas A&M. They were one of the top teams in the country in ERA, strikes thrown and strikeouts. I want to follow that blueprint. We are going to hold runners, field our position and throw a ton of strikes. We're going to compete with the fastball, locate that pitch and then have an elite secondary pitch. Being able to see the development of these guys on a week-to-week basis is a really exciting thing that I want to do.
  • It's going to be data in the bullpen. I'm a hands-on guy, so I'm going to be back there with them. I'll be there making adjustments and helping them find the right state of mind. We have an incredible analytics department, so those guys will continue to do what they do and report the data to me. That's where I'll step in. Working together with those guys is a good culmination of people.
  • I've dug in a little bit, but mostly with incoming guys. I've talked with almost everybody, and I've gotten a good breakdown from the coaching staff. Everybody is incredibly talented. Getting those guys focused on the right thing, forming a bullpen and putting guys in the right position to get people out is what we're going to do.
  • You've seen the SEC start to go west and do a good job over there in terms of recruiting. Coaching on the West Coast for these last couple of years, you saw them picking away the best players. Look at Grahovac especially. I think my relationships on the West Coast will definitely help, and Earley’s relationships on the West Coast will as well.
  • Earley is a wizard. It's hard to put your thumb on what it is because, when you watch him, it's like normal to what a hitting coach is doing. Then you hear him talk and you see his gameplan, everything is at an elite level. His guys trust him, so his relationship with them is what sets him apart from anyone else.
  • Preparing for the A&M lineup is hard because you know they're not going to chase, so you have to throw strikes. Then you have to throw strikes against guys like LaViolette and Grahovac, and you know how that goes.
  • I was watching the Oregon game, and I was glued. You know Oregon because we played them twice, so you start to think about matchups. You're kind of playing coach along with it. That ballpark was rocking! I talked to Earley about it after the game, and he said, “I've never heard it like that. The place this last month has been out of control.”That's probably the most exciting thing I'm looking towards.
  • If we could start practice today, I would do it. I want to get to work. Excited is an understatement. Things have been moving so fast. I don't even have a computer yet. I just can't wait to see how this place operates.
Discussion from...

Earley's assistants shine a light on Texas A&M baseball's new direction

26,250 Views | 13 Replies | Last: 2 days ago by you moran
you moran
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Let's go win the natty.
The Chicken Ranch
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This team will be so stacked. Absolutely sick!
The Marksman
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These guys are awesome
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great insight into the new coaches.

i think what excites me the most is there doesn't appear to be big egos on the coaching staff. everything is geared towards playing for the name on the front of jersey not the back. i love that expectations are a natty or bust. that is what they should be and the coaches are not shying away from those expectations.
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Caleb fired me up when he said the 12th Man is a problem lol
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Outstanding interviews, Brauny! These coaches appear to be absolute perfect fits.
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I agree, outstanding Brauny. Thank you for all your work this whole baseball season with all your takes and reporting. You are the best in the business. Can you believe you've been doing this long enough that you interview a coach you hit fungo to? That's when you know your are doing something special.
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looking forward to the new regime
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Matsui said:

looking forward to the new regime
I, for one, welcome our new baseball overlords!!!

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Man, these guys have me fired up! And, I'm a fat 70 year-old who hasn't played competitive baseball since Little League. I was glued to my tv all Spring, and I'm ready to go!
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Each one of those gentlemen are absolutely amazing, and I am certain they are going to be incredibly successful in leading Aggie baseball for the coming years. I see men who are humble and committed to each other, their head coach, to the players that they may or may not be intimately familiar with (they will be soon enough) and, ultimately, to the finest, most supportive fan base in the entire country. Mike Early is assembling an awesome staff and that is evidenced by the massive return of players that ventured into the portal (I can't blame them). In short, I say FJS and let's go Aggie baseball!

Doug B '80
you moran
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Earley. Signed Trouble.

But good to see fellow old farts, older than me, pumped about Aggie baseball. Party at Luby's after we win the National title next year.
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