The 2016 Boston College baseball season was one for the record books. Not only did the Eagles reach the NCAA postseason for the first time since 2009, but they also came within one win of earning a berth the College World Series, something BC has never done in the modern era. However, as happens in all sports, with success comes personnel turnover. Not only are players lost to the MLB draft, but assistant coaches are often offered head coaching positions at other universities. Such was the case in June as Jim Foster, the Eagles pitching coach, accepted the head coaching position at Army. After Foster’s departure, BC Head Coach Mike Gambino acted quickly and, on July 19th, introduced Alex Trezza as the Eagles’ new Associate Head Coach.
Trezza comes to the Heights after a two-year stint as the Head Coach at LIU Brooklyn that saw him develop several All-NEC players and boast the top team GPA in conference. Prior to his time at LIU Brooklyn, Trezza made coaching stops at the University of New Haven, Aldelphi University, and Anna Maria College. Before he began his career in coaching, Trezza was a standout for Stony Brook University, playing shortstop and catcher for the Seawolves. He earned All-American honors in 2001, the first in program history, and was drafted that year in the 18th round by the Detroit Tigers. Trezza brings eight years of coaching experience and twelve years of playing experience with him to BC.
When asked what drew him to Chestnut Hill, Trezza explained that he wasn’t initially planning on leaving LIU Brooklyn.
“Honestly, I hadn’t planned on leaving Brooklyn, but when the opportunity presented itself, and after speaking with coach Gambino and visiting campus, it was an easy decision,” Trezza said. “Not only is there the attraction of ACC baseball, but the history of this institution with its academics, and the family-like culture Mike has built here; it’s something special.”
Along with being named Associate Head Coach, Trezza will handle the Eagles’ pitchers and catchers. A standout behind the plate during his own playing days, Coach Trezza is now one of the leading catching minds in the nation. In 2016 he was a featured presenter at the World Baseball Coaches’ Convention where, among other things, he gave two presentations titled, “The Hierarchy of Catching” and “The Prepared Catcher.”
“To me, the ‘Hierarchy of Catching’ goes: receiving-blocking-throwing,” Trezza explained. “Most catchers come in and are good throwers, but can’t really receive or block. If you can’t do those two well, it doesn’t matter how good you are at throwing, you’re not getting anyone out. So, we (BC catchers) work on all three every day, in that order.”
Trezza knows that there are some big shoes to fill behind the plate, as BC will be without Nick Sciortino, the everyday catcher for the last three seasons, who was drafted by the Red Sox in June.
“You can’t fully replace a guy like ‘Scores’, but Gian [Martellini], Aaron [Soucy], Jacob [Yish] and Jake [Goodreau] have been working hard all year and have improved in some key areas,” he said.
Trezza faces a similar challenge with a pitching staff that lost Justin Dunn, Mike King and Jesse Adams to June’s MLB draft.
“Those guys were rock solid. As a coach, you knew they would go out and compete every time they got the ball,” Trezza said of the now-departed pitchers. “But, there is a lot of talent and experience still on our staff, especially on the backend with guys like Bobby [Skogsbergh] and ‘Fern’ [Luke Fernandes] who have been around.”
When asked what the focus has been with the younger members of the staff, Trezza replied that a lot of time has been spent on the mental aspect of pitching.
“We’ve worked on how to spot and attack hitters’ weaknesses, how to manage a lineup as whole, and how to deal with failure and adversity, which may be the toughest thing for a young pitcher to do,” Trezza said.
Coach Trezza is unique in the sense that all of his coaching experience has come in the northeast, making him fully aware of the challenges that exist in sustaining success for teams in the region, something that is incredibly important for coaches at BC to understand.
“It is tough, no doubt, but if you look what Mike has already built here with a culture centered around character and work ethic; I think BC is in a great spot,” said Trezza. “BC is definitely a destination for recruits. Call it the ‘Flutie Effect’ but, we have the best academics in the country and we compete in the best conference. That alone is going to help us attract some of the best talent not just in the northeast, but from around the country.”
While it remains to be seen what is in store for BC in 2017, Trezza seems like a perfect fit for the hard-nosed Eagles. The attitude and philosophy he brings every day are exactly what BC will need to continue the success started in 2016.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for our first “Weekend Preview” of the year as the Eagles open their season on Friday night in Daytona Beach, Florida versus Bethune Cookman.