Catching Up With Coach Brandon May
Jan. 31, 2014
ATHENS------ Here's the latest in a series of interviews with the new coaching staff. Next up, volunteer coach Brandon May. The Bulldogs open the season Feb. 14 at Foley Field.
A native of Marietta, Ga., May played collegiately at Alabama after a stellar career at Lassiter High School. A three-year starter for the Crimson Tide, he earned All-SEC and Academic All-SEC honors. He was a 36th round draft pick of the Chicago Cubs and spent three years playing professionally and then entered the coaching profession. He served as a student assistant at his alma mater last year before being named a volunteer assistant on Scott Stricklin's staff at Georgia this past July. May is working with the infielders, assisting Scott Daeley with the hitters and serving as the first base coach.
How do you like being back home in Georgia?
"My wife, Taylor, got a job in Atlanta the week before I got this, and it's all worked out great for a newly married couple. She's my rock. It's been great to stay in the SEC. I'm an hour away from where I grew up, and I know this is a special opportunity to work with Coach Stricklin and this staff at Georgia."
What advice do you have for players about professional baseball?
"Once you sign, going to the baseball field is your job. If you've got a 7 p.m. game, you're at the field between 12 and 1:30 p.m. There are no classes to go to, all your work is at the field. If you're not a top three or top five round selection, you're on the cutting block every day. You have to stay healthy and produce, and if not, you're gone."
How has the transition been from playing to coaching?
"I'm only 26 so there's not a big difference in my age and the players, and I feel like I can relate to them and build strong relationships. Whether I'm in the office or at the field, I want to do the best that I can to build relationships. I'll do whatever you need me to do, from throwing BP (batting practice) to hitting fungoes. I worked with the catchers last year at Alabama and this year I'm helping out with the infielders, the hitters and camps."
Did you plan on getting in to coaching?
"My first year of pro ball, I tried to be a catcher, and I was hurt a lot and then my next year I got sick so I started looking ahead. I was disappointed, but I knew if I didn't move up a level each year, I needed to find something else. My number one priority after I got the phone call (that my playing career was over) was to go back to Alabama and finish my degree. I got released in December and by January I was enrolled and got an opportunity from Coach (Mitch) Gaspard to be a student coach with the baseball team. I knew I wanted to stay in baseball. I love the memories you create with a team. If you can have a positive impact on someone, that's more important than the wins and losses."
What are some of your favorite memories from your playing career including against Georgia?
"My senior year of high school we won the state title, and we had eight seniors on that team. We had a great bond and still do. Over the years, you remember things like music blaring in the locker room after big wins, the road trips. I knew all the guys that played for Georgia from 2007-09, and we were competitive and wanted to win. There was a lot of offense on those teams, and I seemed to always play well in those games. I remember the only time I got the bunt sign all year was against (All-American closer) Josh Fields, and I didn't get it down and struck out. Also, I hit a grand slam off Justin Grimm in 2009."
What is your mindset when you're coaching first base and the runner gets picked off?
"I feel like it's my fault if they mess up. I feel responsible. The first base coach's job is to be in the ear of the runner at all times. Everybody sees us getting the batting gloves or guards from the hitter, but also we have to be aware of things. We tell them things like get back on a line drive, read the dirt ball. We have to do a lot of reminders for the base runners."
What is one thing Coach Daeley and you stressed to the hitters in the fall and now?
"Coach Daeley worked with them on the mental side, what are you thinking on deck? What pitch are you looking for? I think we made a lot of progress. My pet peeve for hitters is to be ready, know the situation and that builds confidence. We want them to be dedicated, work hard and expect to be great. If not, you're wasting the day."
Do you slide over to coach third base if the situation arises during a game?
"That hasn't come up yet, but I know I have to be prepared and know the signs. I haven't seen Coach Daeley get too fired up, he stays on an even keel."
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