The Collegian
Thursday, May 19, 2022

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Woodson formally introduced as Spiders' new coach

"We're going to win here. I'll tell you that right now," said Tracy Woodson, who was formerly introduced as Richmond's head baseball coach on Tuesday.

"We are going to be competitive. We are going to play good schools. My expectations are always high and I'm setting them high here."

Richmond athletic director Keith Gill fully endorsed the new hire.

"When you think about all of the factors that we were looking for in a baseball coach, Tracy embodies them," Gill said. "He's been successful at all levels of baseball, he's coached at all levels of baseball and he's won at all levels of baseball."

The players appear to agree with Gill.

"It's kind of hard to say that you don't want to be coached by guy who's played in the major leagues and who's had that much experience," senior shortstop Michael Small said. "Everybody that I've talked to has been really excited, and we're looking forward to getting back."

Woodson, originally from Richmond, coached at Valparaiso for seven seasons prior to joining the Spiders. Woodson led the Crusaders to consecutive Horizon League championships and NCAA tournament bids in his final two seasons. He won the Horizon League's coach of the year in 2012.

Woodson began his coaching career in 1997, coaching several minor league teams before joining Valparaiso.

Prior to coaching, Woodson played professional baseball in the minor leagues and the MLB. He played in the MLB for five seasons from 1987-1993 with the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers, where he was part of the 1988 World Series winners.

"When you're playing at the highest level, you're going to know more than everyone else," Small said. "It's going to be little things that other people may not have picked out in someone's swing or something like that. His experience can bring a lot to the table."

Woodson will replace Mark McQueen, who had a career record below .500 with the Spiders. Richmond has not won the Atlantic 10 nor earned a NCAA bid since 2003.

"The expectation for me is to build the RPI," Woodson said, pointing toward strengthening the team's strength of schedule. "Let's get an at-large bid."

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Small said: "We all know that talent-wise, we are better than pretty much the rest of the conference. We could just never get over that hump, and I think he might be that piece."

In addition to Woodson's successes on the field at Valparaiso, he also played a large role in helping the team's academics. The team's GPA rose from 2.7 to 3.3 during Woodson's tenure with the Crusaders.

"One of the things that really impressed me about Tracy was the fact that he also finished his degree while he was coaching," Gill said. "He set a great example for those players in terms of the value of education... and that's really important to us at Richmond."

Woodson assures he will also compete with recruiting as well.

"I'm gonna hammer this state," he said. "I'm gonna hammer this city. I'm gonna hammer every high school coach in this area. If I can get [recruits] on campus, I can sell it. I know I can, and I know my staff can."

Woodson believes the team has the talent to succeed now and he hopes he can provide the leadership needed to take the team to new heights.

"When the doors are closed and I'm with my team, they are going to know who's in charge," he said. "I'm going to run a program, I'm going to set out a plan for them, they are going to understand where they are supposed to be, when they are supposed to be there, how things are supposed to be done."

Contact staff writer Jack Nicholson at jack.nicholson@richmond.edu

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