Jeff Mercer is the new Indiana baseball head coach. After four seasons of coach Chris Lemonis at the helm in Bloomington, he’s now moved on to Mississippi State.
Since being named as head coach on July 2, Mercer has completed the rest of his coaching staff. The biggest name on the staff is seven time MLB All-Star and World Series Champion Scott Rolen who will be IU’s Director of Player Development.
The Hoosier Network caught up with rising IU sophomore outfielder Sam Crail, who is spending his summer playing baseball in the Northwoods League with the Kalamazoo Growlers, to get his reaction to the new coaching staff.
Hoosier Network: How did you find out about Coach Lemonis going to Mississippi State and what was your initial reaction to that?
Sam Crail: First of all, I found out on twitter and then we all got together in the GroupMe and we were talking about it. First off it was kind of sad because it was the guy who recruited me and everything and I went through that whole process with him. It was really just a sad moment for me and I didn’t know how to feel about it. But then after hearing about who we got, and I was obviously happy for Coach Lemonis because it’s a great opportunity for him, but getting Jeff Mercer is really exciting for me.
HN: What have you heard about Coach Mercer so far?
Crail: I’ve heard he’s really a player’s coach and I actually know him a little bit because he recruited me out of high school. He’s really just a cool guy who knows the game.
HN: What were those conversations like when he was recruiting you coming out of high school?
Crail: My last summer, he was in the process of becoming the new head coach and he didn’t really recruit me very heavily until the last weekend and it was kind of like a rush. But the way he treated me and my family was unparalleled. He’s such a great guy, took time out of his day and the situation he was in, he was really busy. He just really treated me with respect.
HN: How cool do you think that he grew up an Indiana fan and now he’s finally getting his dream of becoming a head coach for IU?
Crail: Man, I think it’s awesome for him because I grew up around the (Indiana) Bulls organization and he’s kind of come full circle, it seems to me. He played in the Bulls organization and then went to Wright State and he’s always had dreams of coming back to IU, especially with his dad coaching at IU. I think it’s going to be really cool.
HN: It was also just announced that Scott Rolen would be joining the coaching staff, how awesome is that to have a former big leaguer and World Series champion helping coach you guys?
Crail: Yeah, what a great opportunity for everyone. It’s going to be amazing to hear and taught by such a great pro mind like him. I really can’t put it into words how excited I am about it.