Interview by Ashlynn McQuillen
There is no denying the strong talent the Millersville baseball team has put on display season after season. Millersville alum, Jon Shehan has played a huge role in rebuilding the Marauder baseball organization into what it is today. In 14 seasons, the Millersville Marauders have totaled four 40-win seasons, nine NCAA tournament appearances, eight PSAC Eastern Division Championship titles, two NCAA Atlantic Regional titles, and a PSAC Championship title.
Coach Shehan, who is a five-time PSAC East Coach of the Year, a three-time ABCA Atlantic Region Coach of the Year, and the 2016 HERO Sports Division II Coach of the Year, talks expectations of the upcoming season and the process of continuing to be a winning ballclub below:
AM: Based on last year’s results and what you have coming back for the year, what do you want to see improved the most out of your ballclub?
Jon Shehan: We talked about this a lot as a staff and as a team. There wasn’t one single area that needed a major overhaul from last year’s club. That said, we have done a very good job as a program putting a product on the field that has consistently won PSAC East Championships and provided NCAA Regional births and continues to do very well in the classroom year after year. The standard here is already high. That said, how do we raise the bar? This fall, we asked our team what it would take to increase 100 small areas by 1%. We created a long list and hopefully our attention to detail will lead us to where we want to be in June.
AM: You were able to completely rebuild the Marauder baseball organization over the years, and have personally accomplished a lot. What message are you hoping to get across to returning players and new recruits?
Jon Shehan: Winning is a product of consistently doing your job day in and day out. You hear the cliché all the time—focus on the process. No other game depicts this life principle more than baseball. The teams that win the most are the most consistent in their preparation, their ability to be present, and their ability to deal with failure and loss. There is no magic success bullet—no matter what infomercials will tell you. Sustained success requires setting a high standard and year after year, day after day, having the discipline and accountability in place to do your job to level of the standard in place.
AM: Millersville has landed as the No.2 seed three seasons in a row for the NCBWA Atlantic Region Preseason poll, and you were within two wins of the NCAA championship tournament a season ago. What has been the atmosphere and attitude this off-season, knowing your team has been so close to the NCAA tournament play year after year?
Jon Shehan: First of all, I hate pre-season rankings. At D2, for the most part, very few people take the time to dive into current teams, new players, the loss of graduating classes and losses to the MLB draft. Pre-season polls are pointless—other than to get recruits and fans excited. Polls are mostly a product of last year’s finish and program reputation. It is nice to have a reputation at D2 that is now recognized by those to vote for the pre-season polls, but our goal is to finish in the number one slot at the end of the season—both regionally and nationally. This group is super hungry. We have a group of upper classmen that have played in a lot of big games but have never hoisted a trophy over their heads. They know the time is now. We have super leadership and I am excited to see what they do with their team this spring.
AM: Anyone following Ville’ baseball can easily notice the talent season after season, take Chaz McCormick for example, winning the World Series in ’17 with the Astros. What do you hope to see from your graduating seniors after they leave this organization?
Jon Shehan: If you are asking if we have a few potential professionals in this group of upper classmen, the answer is yes. I believe a few of them have the ability to play professional baseball. Jeff Taylor, Kris Pirozzi, and Bren Taylor probably lead a group of individuals that have the talent to get it done professionally, but the draft is super tough. Players have to have great years and things have to fall into place. That said, everyone who will graduate in May, or have graduated and are currently taking graduate courses will likely be very successful. Our goal is to make sure these young men leave Millersville ready to become leaders in business, the classroom should they become educators, industry, and in their relationships with others. I am thrilled about where this group is headed in the future!
AM: What are your expectations going into the 2022 season?
Jon Shehan: I hate expectations! HA! All jokes aside, we have a very high standard here. Success is getting to a World Series in Cary, NC in June. That is what this group is aiming for and for them to end their season anywhere else will be disappointing for them. We certainly have the team on paper to do it but the game is not played on paper. The league and region are very good again. It should be a challenging but fun year.
Jon Shehan has set a great example of hard work and dedication, which has significantly shown within his ballclub and the players. Through the years of rebuilding and Shehan’s high standards for success both on and off the field, Ville’ baseball fans should be looking forward to an exciting 2022 season.