By Kellie Lagoy
A new era is about to begin for the Virginia Wesleyan baseball club with the addition of new head coach Chris Francis.
Francis is no stranger to Norfolk, Virginia, and all that VWC has to offer. The new head coach used to hold an assistant coaching position here, and is returning from a three-year stint at the College of St. Rose in Albany, New York.
“We have strong ties to the school here. Just sort of a place that we love very much. It was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up,” Francis said.
The vision of baseball at Virginia Wesleyan is changing with Francis’s arrival, and there are going to be high hopes once the season kicks off. The expectations for this team are different, and the new values are making Francis confident about the future of the ball club.
“We just added some structure and some discipline. We’ve started to develop quite a bit of leadership. From a talent level we are there, but the leadership and the structure is something that we’ve been focusing on. Being good citizens and being people that this institution can root for and rally around is an important goal for us. We also brought in nine transfers this January. We’ve had some roster turnover, but looking at this ball club, we have the right mix of people in the program, and we’re excited,” Francis said.
Playing for a Division III college means that life doesn’t revolve around the baseball diamond. It means that everything that happens off of the field is often more important. Francis and his coaching staff want to see their players working hard on the field, in the classroom, and at everyday life.
“Our expectations are to be leaders off the field. We talk about what they’re going to do after we leave here, and we want our boys working on the top floor, not the bottom. So our structure is built around building those kinds of kids. Also, grades were outstanding this past semester. We don’t have a single kid that isn’t eligible to travel. Basically, if your regular life is in order, the baseball business takes care of itself,” Francis said.
The Marlins will begin their spring season on the road. The Valentine’s Day matchup will be against the Salisbury Seagulls.