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NEWS

Taylor Excited to Coach With USA Baseball

by | Jun 29, 2022

Coach Rucker Taylor

 

An opportunity to teach, an opportunity to learn.

That’s what Davidson baseball coach Rucker Taylor sees in front of him as he gets set to coach in the USA Baseball Prospect Development Pipeline League, which begins Wednesday.

The PDP League, held at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, is a partnership between USA Baseball and Major League Baseball and is the primary identification event for the 18U National Team.

Taylor and a handful of others will join 12 former Major Leaguers as coaches for four teams, comprised of 100 invited 18-and-under prospects. It’s a week of development, assessment and competition for high school players in the class of 2023, many of whom will be drafted next summer or play at a top college program.

“To be a part of USA Baseball, after my experience a few years ago, it really is an honor,” said Taylor. “The organization does everything¬†first-class. It was a no-brainer to take it when asked.”

Taylor will be an assistant coach on Team Navy, along with former MLB All-Stars Greg Swindell and Dmitri Young, while Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin will manage the team. Six-time All-Star outfielder Lance Berkman, relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins and first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz are also among the other former big leaguers coaching in the event.

Named the Atlantic 10 Conference Coach of the Year, Taylor just completed his fourth season as Davidson’s head coach and his 10th year in the program. His Wildcat teams have compiled a 112-62 record (.644), including a program-best 43-13 mark this spring, while winning Davidson’s first outright regular-season title.

This is Taylor’s second stint with USA Baseball after he coached in the inaugural 13U/14U Athlete Development Program in 2019. His involvement coincides with Wildcat catcher Michael Carico’s time in the Collegiate National Team Training Camp, which will begin in Cary on Thursday before stops in Durham and Charlotte.

Taylor and Carico are the latest Wildcats to partner with USA Baseball, following former Davidson coach Dick Cooke, who led Davidson from 1991 to 2018. Cooke coached on seven USA staffs, including on Olympic teams in 2000 and 2008 and as pitching coach on the 2003 Collegiate National Team.

“I think Davidson has a great connection with USA Baseball, with Coach Cooke in the past and Michael playing now,” said Taylor. “And to be working with USA Baseball while Michael is playing is really special.”

The PDP League strives to offer a top-notch amateur baseball experience, mixing competitive gameplay, individualized development and evaluation sessions, educational seminars for living professional baseball lives and more.

Taylor said his primary goal is “to add value to the players who will be there,” but he also wants to be a sponge and obtain as much new and helpful information as he can to benefit the Wildcats in the future.

“You look at some of the people that are coaching, the people you’re having breakfast and lunch with, sharing the bus with,” he said. “You look at the amount of coaching knowledge and playing experience there, and as a baseball guy, just as somebody who appreciates the game, I just hope to take it all in.”

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