Ahead Of The Curve with Jonathan Gelnar

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February 6, 2020  

Michael Deegan- Head Baseball Coach, Denison University (OH)

February 6, 2020

During this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I interviewed Michael Deegan, Head Baseball Coach at Denison University in Granville, Ohio. Michael Deegan talks about writing his book Let It Rip: Life Lessons Learned Through Sports, being elite as a coaching staff before being elite as a program, competitive scrimmages, meeting with players individually, and facing the struggle of wanting to make everyone happy while knowing this is virtually impossible. 


Episode Highlights: 


  • How did Michael Deegan get involved in baseball and as a coach?   
  • What made Michael decide to write a book?  
  • How can you go about forming a strong team?  
  • Michael talks about 2013 and taking the job at Denison?  
  • What did this past fall look like in their baseball program? 
  • What are some of the details of building up his team culture? 
  • What are some of their favorite practice competitions? 
  • One-on-one meetings are crucial with players.  
  • How do they create a ‘culture of coaching?’”
  • How does he prepare assistant coaches to be ready to be head coaches one day? 
  • What are some standards they have and how do they hold each other accountable for them?   
  • What does a typical day look like in the spring? 
  • How does their BP setup work? 
  • How does Michael handle the struggle of wanting everybody to be happy?  
  • What is something that Michael Deegan is excited about learning and applying? 
  • What are things his players get excited about doing during practice? 
  • Is there anything that he believes that other coaches might disagree with?   
  • What is something we would notice at one of Michael Deegan’s practices?  
  • Are there any resources that Michael Deegan would recommend?  


3 Key Points:

  1. Michael Deegan has been able to learn from fantastic people by sharing his own thoughts through his writing.  
  2. Identify where you are has a coaching staff or as a baseball program, get your ego out of it, set goals, and take action. 
  3. They do six individual meetings with the players to ask questions and listen to what motivates them. 


Tweetable Quotes:

  • “What I’ve learned is that by having the courage to put something out there, then you learn a lot in return and so I did that through the newsletter and I’m just excited to see where the book takes it.” – Michael Deegan  (03:41)
  • “One of the things I have been able to do over my life is surround myself with really good people and put myself in environments that allow you to thrive and are curious and allow you to learn and grow, and to me, that is what team formation is.” – Michael Deegan  (05:26)
  • “If I were taking over a program right now I would say what you have to do is strip away everything. Take the emotion out of it and decide, where do you sit right now?” – Michael Deegan  (08:31)
  • “I think you really have to identify where you want to go. It’s creating clarity. We use a phrase that ‘clarity is king.’” – Michael Deegan  (09:07)
  • “We want to be elite as a coaching staff before we are elite as a program.” – Michael Deegan  (09:44)
  • “We want to play baseball a lot. I think there is sometimes a push for ways to manipulate our game. Our game is also beautiful in itself. So just a straight-up scrimmage is an opportunity to compete.” – Michael Deegan  (18:21)
  • “The biggest competition that we try to focus on is ‘me versus me.’” – Michael Deegan  (19:29)
  • “That inherent wrestling match between wanting everybody to be happy and also knowing that’s never happen, right? That’s just not going to happen. So for me, I always call on the shared vision of the program.” – Michael Deegan  (39:34)

Resources Mentioned: