OMAHA, Neb. — Tim Tadlock sat in the high-back chair casually. He wore a white Under Armour T-shirt and black shorts.
He smiled and cocked his head slightly as he was peppered with questions from the surrounding media at Rip Griffin Park on Tuesday.
After a while he said, “You guys know it is just a baseball game on Sunday.”
Just a game.
The Red Raiders face TCU in Game 2 of the College World Series on Sunday at 2 p.m. It is the biggest game of Tadlock’s career, though, and the biggest game in the history of Texas Tech baseball.
But, anyone would be pressed to get Tadlock to admit that.
But, still that has been his philosophy all season long for the Red Raiders.
“It is an out at a time.”
“It is just one inning.”
“It is just a baseball game.”
Those sayings are the mantra of this team and each player on the Texas Tech roster has bought into those core values that Tadlock has taught all season.
“You know you can see it with every program he has been at,” junior pitcher Chris Sadberry said. “He knows how to coach. He has brought the right people in and he is a great leader and I think that is why we have been so successful.”
It’s not Tadlock’s first World Series.
Tadlock guided the Grayson College Vikings to back-to-back National Junior College Athletic Association Division I World Series titles in 1999 and 2000.
And he went to Omaha, Nebraska as an assistant with Oklahoma in 2010.
But, Tadlock won’t even credit those experiences as to what could have helped the Red Raiders make the CWS so soon in his tenure.
He instead, as always, defers to the rest of his coaching staff.
“I think our whole staff has helped with their experiences,” he said. “We have all been in different venues and have some experience that can help our guys.”
The 2014 Texas Tech baseball postseason roster has three players who were on campus when Tim Tadlock was hired as an assistant by then-coach Dan Spencer. So, the turnaround from 2013 to 2014 was done mostly by players the current Tadlock recruited himself over the last three years.
Two freshmen (Dylan Dusek and Cooper product Ryan Moseley) started in the Coral Gables regional. Three seniors on the roster even get significant playing time (Devon Conley, Jonny Drozd and Adam Kirsch).
And still the team went from 26-30 a year ago to the College World Series.
“He is a player’s coach and he relates to the players really well and the rest of the coaching staff,” Sadberry said. “He loves the whole process of baseball. He shows up every day looking to get after it and win.”
So, his team mimicked him. And in all three phases of the game, the Red Raiders have improved — hitting, pitching and fielding.
The only area Tech has not improved is in stolen bases, but with the makeup of the team, Tadlock knew the Red Raiders weren’t going to be swiping many bags, anyway.
“(It is) the way he carries himself. He does everything right. It is unreal. (He) is what we needed for this program,” said junior shortstop Tim Proudfoot. “We just know how much he loves us and if we just trust in him — he obviously trusts us a lot and so far we have been unstoppable. Hopefully we can do that in the World Series.”