The latest guest on The Base Path Podcast is the newest Division 1 college baseball coach in New England.
Brian Hamm accepted the head coaching position at Yale University in June — fresh off a Division 3 national championship season with Eastern Connecticut State University. Hamm spent four years at Eastern, the last of which was one of the most successful in history for any New England college baseball team.
The Warriors posted a 49-3 record that included a program-record 23-game winning streak. Hamm was just the fifth coach in New England’s college baseball history to guide a national championship team, joining Eastern legend Bill Holowaty, who was at the controls for all of the program’s titles in 1982, 1990, 1998 and 2002.
Former Yale coach John Stuper retired after 30 seasons as head coach following the 2022 season. Hamm will now look to put his stamp on the Yale program.
“The biggest challenge is being in the Ivy League and the limitations that the Ivy League has on recruiting, starting with transfers,” Hamm said. “Yale does not bring in many transfers as a university, let alone in the athletics department. So, to bring in a transfer for baseball will be incredibly rare. It happens. We currently have a left-handed pitcher who transferred from Duke, but he’s the only one.
“The other challenge is that we’re not able to have graduate students play,” Hamm said. “So, the Ivy League rule of four years to complete four years of eligibility really limits taking advantage of the extension by the NCAA. If you look back at what we did at Eastern, we were ahead of the curve in terms of adapting to the transfer model with the transfer portal, taking advantage of the two years of additional eligibility that the NCAA gave.”
Hamm believes that he can now work the fact that Yale rarely admits transfers to his favor.
“I would say that the biggest benefit is to be able to look a recruit in the eye and say, ‘We’re not going to bring in a transfer to take your position,'” Hamm said. “When we say we’re committed to you, we are committed to your development.”
Hamm’s recruitment of high school players will now start by ensuring each prospective student-athlete can fulfill the minimum admission standards for Yale. As a result, he may extend offers later than most D1 coaches, many of whom have been accused of overcommitting to players during the pandemic — only to withdraw offers later in the recruiting process when it becomes clear there won’t be a roster spot available.
“It’s a big problem because it leaves high school players — we’re talking about 17- and 18-year-olds — in a really difficult place,” Hamm said. “They’re talented players who have the opportunity to play at a really high level. They’ve committed themselves.
“The door swings both ways. Right? In terms of players committing to the programs and not honoring what is expected of them in terms of developing in high school as well. But it really does start with the college programs that commit players. Part of that trend is also once they get to the college campuses, they then lose their spot to a transfer, because that transfer has been offered no money and they’re two years into playing for a Power 5 school.”
Listen to the entire podcast with Yale coach Brian Hamm.
The New England Baseball Journal podcast is brought to you by the University of Nebraska High School.
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