Stetson’s Therneau Pitching Coach Of Year

Editor/Collegiate Baseball

DELAND, Fla. — Dave Therneau is Collegiate Baseball’s National Pitching Coach of The Year for 2018.

Now entering his fourth season as the pitching coach at Stetson, Therneau will be the 16th recipient of this award at the American Baseball Coaches Association Convention in Grapevine, Tex. this January.

Here is why he was chosen as the top pitching coach in the nation.

For the third straight year, Stetson’s pitching staff broke the school record for strikeouts:

2018: 635 strikeouts.
2017: 538 strikeouts.
2016: 485 strikeouts.

The year prior to Therneau arriving at Stetson, the Hatters had 379 strikeouts.

Five pitchers were drafted after last season including Logan Gilbert who was a first round pick by the Seattle Mariners.

He led all NCAA Division I pitchers with 163 strikeouts joining with Jack Perkins and Mitchell Senger to make the Hatters just the second program in NCAA history to have three hurlers record 100 or more strikeouts in consecutive seasons (Rice, 2002-03).

Brooks Wilson tied for the NCAA lead with 20 saves.

The Hatters tied for the NCAA lead, and tied the school record, with nine shutouts during the year and the staff posted the lowest team ERA (2.66) of the aluminum bat era.

In addition to shutouts, strikeouts, saves and ERA, the Hatters led the nation in fewest hits allowed per nine innings (6.81) and WHIP (1.11). Stetson was third in the nation in K/9 innings (10.5) and K-to-BB ratio (3.31) and was fourth in winning percentage (.787).

The Hatters also allowed the lowest opponent batting average (.207) and allowed the fewest extra-base hits (90) in the aluminum bat era.

Therneau enjoyed a highly successful 8-year stint as the pitching coach at Embry-Riddle prior to coming to Stetson as the Eagles made seven trips to the NAIA World Series.

During his tenure at Embry-Riddle, Therneau’s pitchers combined to earn 17 All-American honors, while eight were selected in the Major League Baseball draft. 

In 2010, Embry-Riddle’s pitching staff led the nation in ERA at 2.63, and the Eagles ranked among the top 10 teams in the nation in ERA in seven of Therneau’s eight seasons.

Therneau’s System
“Last year, I knew we were striking out hitters at a record pace,” said Therneau.

“In fact, the last three years, we have increased our strikeout total each year. People are trying to paint me as some sort of strikeout guru, and I find it humorous because I am not.

“The strikeouts we have had the last three years are a direct reflection of our strike throwing. If you keep hitters defensive all the time, they will strike themselves out.

“My first year at Stetson, we set the school record for strikeouts in 2016 (485) and broke that my second year and then shattered the record last season (635 strikeouts). I am really proud of how many strikes the pitchers on those staffs threw to get ahead in many counts.”

Therneau  said pitchers are immediately immersed into his system when they arrive on campus.

“We have a high quality throwing system with intelligence.

“We start by conditioning their arms and bodies to handle the throwing we do.

“I have always believed that to be good at throwing, you need to throw.”

Therneau said that weight training for pitchers must be used carefully and monitored.

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The rest of this extensive story explains his heavy long toss process for pitchers to the point of fatigue, why strengthening the lower half of the body is crucial for power and explosion, the importance of pitchers being tested for strength levels and flexibility with every facet of their body.

In addition, he explains why his pitchers don’t run long distance, his process for teaching his players how to pitch, which takes time, why he doesn’t call pitches, how he gets pitchers to be mentally tough, his challenging bullpens, why throwing inside is vital and his process for recruiting.

Past CB Pitching Coaches of Year

  • 2017: Nate Yeskie, Oregon St.
  • 2016: Jason Dietrich, Oregon
  • 2015: Alan Dunn, Louisiana State
  • 2014: Karl Kuhn, Virginia
  • 2013: Nate Yeskie, Oregon State
  • 2012: Shaun Cole, Arizona
  • 2011: Phil Cundari, Seton Hall
  • 2010: Mark Calvi, South Carolina
  • 2009: Jerry Weinstein, Col. Rockies
  • 2008: Scott Forbes, North Carolina
  • 2007: Dan Spencer, Oregon State
  • 2006: Gordie Alderink, Grand Val. St
  • 2005: Tom Holliday, Texas
  • 2004: Derek Johnson, Vanderbilt