By Jim Rueda
---- — Things are going pretty good for Minnesota State baseball coach Matt Magers these days.
Last week, for example, more than a month after his team's season ended in the championship game of the College World Series, Magers was bestowed with the 2013 CaptainU Division II National Baseball Coach of the Year Award. That followed the Division II National Coach of the Year Award given by Daktronics a few weeks earlier.
Few will argue that he is deserving. He guided the 2013 team to a 42-9 record and a second place finish in the national tournament. The Mavericks also won their second straight Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference playoff title.
In his usual humble style, Magers said he didn't see this latest award coming.
"To be honest I wasn't even aware of the CaptainU organization until they gave me the award," he said. "There are so many more associations and organizations around now that give out awards then there used to be. Ten years ago there were maybe one or two national awards and that was it."
Still, he admits it's nice to honored.
"When individual players or coaches win awards I think that's a positive reflection on the whole team," he said. "The more successful a team is, the more those players and coaches will be seen and have an opportunity to be recognized."
The Mavericks have been seen plenty under Magers' guidance. In his five years as head coach he has led MSU to a 215-66 (.765) record, including four consecutive 40-win seasons. In three of the last four years the Mavericks have finished seventh or higher in the national tournament.
So with all that hardware taking up space in his house, you'd think Magers could relax a little bit and enjoy some down time with his family. The fact is, Magers is working as hard as ever.
"I'm on my way up to the Twin Cities right now to watch the Gopher Classic," he said from his cell phone on Friday. "June, July and August and all pretty busy scouting and recruiting months for us. This coming year's recruiting class is already done so now were working on 2015."
As soon as the Maverick's season ended, Magers and assistant coach Adam Christ kicked their recruiting efforts into high gear. First there were the regional and state tournaments for high school teams. Now it's a lot of American Legion tournament.
The Gopher Classic is the biggest Legion tournament in the country. Magers attends it every year. He's looking mostly at pitchers, because that's who he works with the most on the MSU team, while Christ is scouring the countryside for position players.
"It used to be all games for us but there a lot of showcases during the summer now, too," Magers said. "That's where players come and show off their fielding and hitting and arm strength and speed. A lot of coaches attend just to evaluate talent."
There are still plenty of games to watch, too. The Midwest Legion Baseball Classic in New Ulm is another big one for Magers and Iowa runs its high school season all summer instead of in the spring. The Legion baseball playoffs start up in a few weeks, as well.
Magers said the recruiting game has become a lot more national than it used to be. Because of the showcases, he is able to look at players who hail from coast to coast.
He is looking at kids from as far away as Washington State and Connecticut and everywhere in between. In fact, this year MSU will have its very first Canadian-born player entering the program.
Magers said he is able to get in a few working vacation weekends away with his family during the summer, but those are few and far between because his kids are playing baseball, too. If the college baseball season has a down time now it's usually around Christmas time.
"From the middle of October, when our fall ball season ends, to early January it gets pretty quiet," he said. "Practice can start up again on Jan. 10 and that's when everybody gets excited to start the new season."
Matt Magers Head Coaching Summary Year Yrs GP W L Pct. NCAA Finish 2009 1 55 38 17 0.691 38th 2010 2 60 44 16 0.733 7th 2011 3 52 40 12 0.769 T-26th 2012 4 63 51 12 0.810 3rd 2013 5 51 42 9 0.824 2nd Totals 281 215 66 0.765