Scott Rolen added to IU baseball staff

New Indiana University baseball coach Jeff Mercer as added an All-Star to his staff.

That would be seven-time MLB All-Star Scott Rolen, who will serve as Director of Player Development.

“I couldn’t be more excited to add Scott Rolen to our staff,” Mercer in a news release. “The impact Scott will have on the student athletes in our baseball program will be unique among college programs. The value for the staff and players, gaining knowledge daily from someone with such a historic career and who truly values the growth of young people, is special.”

As the Director of Player Development, Rolen will assist with on-campus recruiting in accordance with NCAA rules. In addition to collaborating with the coaching staff when preparing for practice and competition, he will also give valuable advice to players on lifestyle choices and making informed decisions when pursuing pro baseball careers.

Rolen’s pro baseball career lasted from 1996-2012 in the major leagues, as he won eight Gold Gloves at third base while playing for the Philadelphia Phillies (1996-2002), St. Louis Cardinals (2002-07), Toronto Blue Jays (2008-09) and Cincinnati Reds (2009-12). He won the World Series with the Cardinals in 2006 and also won a Silver Slugger Award in 2002.

Rolen was a lifetime .281 hitter with 2,077 hits, 316 home runs, 1,287 RBIs and 1,211 runs scored. In 2011, he became just the fourth third baseman to have 2,000 career hits, 500 doubles, 300 home runs and 1,200 RBIs, joining Mike Schmidt, George Brett and Chipper Jones.

The Jasper native was Indiana’s Mr. Baseball in 1993 for the Wildcats and also finished runner-up for Mr. Basketball behind Maurice “Kojak” Fuller.

Rolen was drafted by the Phillies in the 1993 MLB Draft and never played collegiate baseball, but living in Monroe County since his retirement from baseball, he’s kept his eye on the Hoosiers. So much so that Rolen made a major gift of an unspecified amount for the construction of Bart Kaufman Field in 2013.

“I’ve enjoyed watching the success and development of IU baseball over the last five years under Tracy Smith and Chris Lemonis, ” said Rolen. “Hopefully I can be a positive contribution to future successes here in Bloomington. I’m excited to be a Hoosier.”

51 comments

  1. This is an incredible hire for the IU program!! Since Jeff Mercer has been hired, the IU staff has become stronger and stronger with what Mercer has added to IU baseball with his hires! This may be the best staff in college baseball bar none! The future of IU baseball is unlimited! Go Hoosiers!

  2. IU baseball climate and culture seems to be strongly trending upward. The significance seems to me that the local flavor equals head coach and player director developer are at home.

  3. Wow, this appears to be a great hire. My guess is that when Rolen speaks, IU’s players will listen.

    1. DITTO all the above.
      I just don’t ‘totally’ buy into the Bloomington cold weather environment. Yes there is a Winter in Monroe county, of sorts. I just don’t see it to the negative┬░ some others do. From my point of view IU has been overcoming that posture with AD support, coaching and recruiting talent for the last 7 years. No, Sunshine players are not heading North to play hardball. But Omaha is the venue at the end of the season and the is enough regional sweatshirt talent available every year to lead IU there. Just the thoughts of a fan who lives 4 hours north in cold country.

      1. HC,
        I know it is not impossible, but tell me the last time a team from a cold weather environment won it all at Omaha? I agree with you that what IU has been doing the last 7 years is the only way to overcome the disadvantage. What has to be realized is in the warm weather climates the players are able to practice outdoors year round. Baseball above everything else is a game of extreme skill. Those skills cannot be honed to an elite level when losing as many months to weather as those in cold weather areas do. The CWS results over the last 40-50 years make the weather disadvantage for cold weather teams unfortunately, unmistakable.

        This is why I applaud the successes of IU baseball so loudly. Achieving what has been done thus far is a much larger hurdle than what even successful CWS champions have accomplished. All have enjoyed the advantages of relatively warm or mild weather year round. If an IU or cold weather team were to succeed at Omaha, it would be a feat of near herculean proportions. I think IU is doing what is necessary to pull off such a feat. If successful, it would be an epic statement to the college baseball world.

  4. Jeff Mercer seems to be doing all the right things to keep IU baseball on the map. The answer to the question I am looking for is his strategy to overcome the disadvantages of a cold weather climate school. What does he do to overcome both the real and perceived drawbacks to playing under such conditions? I am not thinking in terms of maintaining a good program by normal standards but going much higher than has been already achieved. It is nice to go to Omaha but better to be a regular and may be a serious contender. By his initial moves I believe we are seeing the opening steps of a strategy to do just this.

    1. BP,
      Weather wise would you rather be in Oregon in late January and February or in Bloomington? No, Oregon is not tropical but neither do they endure below freezing weather, it is the exception not the rule. Don’t forget the effect temperature has on the baseball itself and the way it responds. Understanding the baseball itself and honing those skills to an elite status only occurs with practice and repetition. The lost practice times do have an effect as the ncaa tournament and CWS are conducted at near optimum baseball temperature times. Also remember the majority of Oregon’s Pac 12 road schedule is in very mild and warm temperature areas. Not near the danger of losing games to the weather.

  5. Baloney….I gave weather data comparisons to Oregon St. campus and Bloomington a few weeks ago. It’s actually warmer In Bloomington in April…and March was very similar averages. IU and Oregon St. both travel extensively in the early weeks…Bloomington experiences nothing of the winters of northern Indiana….I should know. I grew up in NW Indiana and spent many years in Bloomington. Conference road games can get a little chilly but I’m pretty sure that most BigTen schools farther north try to schedule accordingly by going on the road early(e.g. @ Bloomington..@ Nebraska, etc) .
    Baseball can do very, very well in Bloomington and weather is not that huge a factor.

    Great hire!

  6. Not impossible for IU to do well and even win a championship, but schools in warmer/southern climates definitely have an advantage. Just look at the top ranked teams over the last 20 years.

    1. Po,
      That’s the point I’m trying to get across, the numbers don’t lie. Especially when it is such a huge tilt against colder climate teams. The big thing is if IU or any other cold weather team could actually pull it off, what a major statement for that school! To be able to win a CWS title against all the odds would be a tremendous accomplishment. Would love to see that achieved by IU because it would certainly help with my multitude of warm weather school alumni neighbors down here in the south. Bad enough I have to deal with them during football season.

  7. Cold climate professional teams win the world series. Maybe IU baseball can move it’s training camp, scheduling and classes to Fort Myers Beach. That would be excellent for recruiting as well.
    I don’t know how much of an impact IU baseball will become in college including college World Series. However, ilittle like the hands that the baseball program is now in and feel it will represent itself well.

    1. t,
      Comparing cold weather college teams to cold weather MLB teams is like comparing apples to oranges, for the reasons you gave. Spring training is all done in warm climates and by the time a player reaches the professional ranks their skills have already been established. Even then, the spring training and the winter leagues are in warm climate areas for further development of young talent. Great idea to go to Fort Meyers, might be a little tough on the academics, but Ft Myers in February sounds great!

      btw, I think the program is in great hands too.

  8. This is funny stuff. IU becomes the first Big Ten team since 1987 to even make it to the CWS and some folks are explaining why IU has stumbling blocks in front of them to WINNING the CWS.

    Comedy gold.

    1. Chet,

      This is going to be another one of those subjects where you, HC, & I are going to disagree. No one knows what will happen with cold climate teams over the next ten years. Hopefully IU is doing the right things to overcome the very obvious disadvantages cold climate teams face. I would like nothing better than to see them become a regular at Omaha and maybe win it all. The big point is they went to Omaha and if they go back it will be despite the disadvantages.

      Why it is comedy gold to point out the obvious in that no cold weather team has won the CWS in over 40 years, and very few ever even make it to Omaha? Best hope IU or some other cold weather team makes it back to Omaha in the next ten years or the only comedy gold will be to deny the disadvantages or call it “Balderdash!”

        1. Somehow I don’t think only 4 teams (Ind State, Kent State, Notre Dame, IU) north of the Mason Dixon line since 1986 making the CWS a small disadvantage. Neither do I think the last cold weather CWS champion being 1966 (Ohio State) or the next closest, a runner up in 1976 (Eastern Michigan) being a small disadvantage. The number might skew a little bit if you consider the tropical paradise of Louisville. You know, they are roughly about as much further south of Bloomington as Bloomington is from South Bend. All joking aside, do have to remember where most of Louisville’s, like Oregon State’s, conference road games are played, before and after joining the ACC. Relatively warm weather areas.

  9. If IU were located in South Bend I would have no argument. But the cold weather climate of Bloomington is balmy contrasted to South Bend. I’m convinced Mercer will step outside the paradigm to make IU become a destination program.

  10. Holy hell you people find the smallest things to complain whiny asses oregon state has won two national titles and its way colder year around its right next to the state that rains most of the year in washington so that region of the country isnt warm all year around either you really gonna sit there and make that excuse good lord you people never cease to amaze

    1. It actually only rains on the coast. It’s really a pretty dry state.

      Oregon has a very mild climate unless you are up in the mountains.

    2. BB,
      Every time I hear the Oregon State comparison nonsense I really wonder how much some folks get out of their myopic views. Secondly, the reason for discussing the very real climate issue for northern schools is to applaud how big an accomplishment it is for one to actually go to the CWS. Not complaining, explaining how big an accomplishment IU has to it’s credit.

      As for OSU, do some research on the weather in Corvallis, Oregon. It is considered a mild climate. Check the average low in January and February as compared to the average high in Bloomington. Kind of hard practicing with a frozen baseball, just exaggeration but you get the point. Baseball is physical, but it is far more a game of skill. Try hitting or throwing a 95-100 mph fastball in a precise placement without honed skills. Try doing a lot of things on a baseball field without a lot of repetitive practices or full compliment of games against elite competition.

      I’ll say it again, the numbers don’t lie. Look at the historical results since 1966 for cold weather teams.

  11. Some people arent happy unless they’re complaining that seems to describe a good number of you im sorry to say

  12. Isn’t there a winery near Bloomington? Do grapes really enjoy hard winters?
    I don’t hear the grapes wining.

    And if we want to talk about the ‘law of averages,’ Indiana basketball hasn’t won a championship since 1987. Haven’t been to a Final Four since the 2001-02 team. Hell, if you’re a Hoosier fan born after 2001, you’ve experienced all of childhood and most of your teen years freezing your butt off without any witness of IU hoops warming up beyond a Sweet 16.
    It’s pretty cold in Assembly Hall…. It’s also cold in the earth(probably where I’ll be before IU is adding another important trophy to the ‘Hall of Champions’)….Bart Kaufman Field having an Oliver Winery pregame tasting party is toasty by comparison.

    1. H4H as usual you are comparing apples to oranges. At least get your comparisons reasonably accurate.

  13. I’ll say again oregon state just won the title a state that is not known for its warm weather and tropical beaches …for the 3rd time im pretty sure its cold when the season starts plus in February they go and play in tournaments with warmer weather like everybody else you play the hand your dealt and you make it work no excuses

    1. Yup, just like the cold climate teams have made it work so well for the last, oh let’s see, 1966 to now, that’s about a little over a half century, right? As for the tropical beaches, last time I looked Nashville, TN is not know for tropical beaches. Does have much better weather and Vanderbilt University does play in a warm weather conference. Did I mention they have a CWS title in recent years?

      btw, Since when did compliments for overcoming a much higher hurdle become making excuses?

  14. And oh Mercer had a top 100 recruiting class at wright state last in the same cold weather region with less advantages at a smaller school did he complain the weather or the lack of facilities?no he just went to work got the job done period and now he has facilities and the visibility of a network to work with

    1. Okay, let’s see a top 100 recruiting class could be 1-100. If we said Archie or TA had a top 100 recruiting class would everyone be happy?

      btw the way the Michigan ’17 class was #10, how far did that get them?

  15. And the count on Schwarber is snowballs and two strikes….It’s too cold for chewing Hubba Bubba and it appears the Hoosier dugout has turned to passing around of a nub of beluga blubba.. It’s definitely a chilly one out here at Bart Kaufman Field. IU baseball appears to have ‘zero tolerance’ for anything warmer than Bob Knight’s personality… Speaking of hotheads and hot cocoa, did you see the videos of Coco Crisp heating up…? You are the master of the segue, my abominable furry friend. Would Schwarber be hitting his round-trippers 500 feet if he played at Mississippi State…? If he goes deep in these frigid temps they’re going to have to check his bat for an inserted soldering iron….Would you just cork it?

  16. It’s Ernie Shackleton Day….here at Bart Kaufman. Can I give a shout-out to my Uncle and Aunt Arctica in the stands today?

  17. Good facilities, good new coaching staff, great school environment and recent success. Sounds like IU has a strong foundation to build upon. Looking forward to IU overcoming the climate and demographic disadvantages and being a regular participant in the CWS.

  18. The following information was copied from “Baseball Scholarships, Scholarships.com.” I believe it supports what thinkaboutit has been saying:

    North East Baseball Schools
    Baseball season can get a slow start in the North East because of the cold winters. There are 37 Division I programs in the Northeast, and only a few Division I powerhouses. The top teams in the region are Connecticut, St Johns, and Boston College. The northeast is also home to many of the top ranked educational schools with baseball programs, like Harvard, Columbia, and the College of the Holy Cross.

    Mid-Atlantic Baseball Schools
    The Mid-Atlantic is home to more top-level programs than the Northeast. The climate here is milder than the Northeast, so baseball season can get started earlier in the spring. There are 43 baseball programs in the Mid-Atlantic; the best teams are the University of Maryland, University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Seton Hall, and Rutgers. The Mid-Atlantic is also home to several great mid-major teams, including George Mason University, Liberty University, and Virginia Commonwealth University.

    Baseball Colleges in the South
    The South is the best region for college baseball in terms of the number of teams and the amount of top college baseball teams. The weather is hot all year in the South, which is perfect for baseball. There are 94 Division I programs in the South. The top teams include The University of Florida, Florida State University, University of North Carolina, University of Kentucky, University of Miami, and the University of South Carolina, who are perennially competing for the NCAA Championship.

    Not only does the south have many great teams from the power conferences, they also have some of the best mid-major teams in the country. The top mid-major teams in the South are Florida International University, High Point University, South Eastern Louisiana University, College of Charleston, Coastal Carolina University, and Florida Atlantic University. These schools are considered mid-majors, but they compete well almost every year.

    Baseball Colleges in the Midwest
    Like the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic, the Midwest can be cold in the early spring, but it is still home to 53 Division I programs. The dominant teams in this region include major conference teams such as Purdue, Ohio State, Michigan State, Illinois, Notre Dame, and Nebraska; and also some powerful mid-major programs like Indiana State, Missouri State, and Illinois State.

    Some of the Best Colleges Are in the Southwest
    The Southwest has the fewest number of baseball teams, but the teams here benefit from the warm weather; the Southwest has a large proportion of powerhouse baseball programs. There are 29 Division I schools, including the University of Texas, Arizona, Texas A+M, Baylor, Rice, and New Mexico State University.

    The Best Baseball Universities in the West
    The West region is home to 42 Division I programs. The West region is littered with great baseball programs. The top programs are UCLA, Stanford, California State University-Fullerton, Long Beach State University, Oregon State University, Pepperdine University, Gonzaga, University of Oregon, University of Washington, and University of Southern California.

    1. Po,
      I appreciate the research which shouldn’t even be necessary if simple common sense is applied. All this back and forth over something so obvious has reminded me of an old saying, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” So I have come to the considered conclusion the best thing to do is don’t lead the horse to water.

      1. Podunker & thinkaboutit = TCDS = Temperature Control Defeatists Syndrome.

        Baseball has never been a real concern for IU….nor has football. Whatever disadvantages the weather may cause during a regular season has zero influence on what young Indiana kids can play during summer months…..It’s not a populous state and along with the far greater historical passion for hoops, none of the low success in baseball and football is surprising. Does weather play into it to some extent? Sure….but passion and population play a much larger role in the reasons for stagnancy. And with the far more conclusive realities involving concussions and permanent brain damage from extended participation at high level football, maybe basketball is the soundest long term strategy for those with any ethical concern for the health of young people over cash concerns….?

      2. The horse will drink, just make sure you’ve led him to water. If you’re told you can’t prepare in a balmy winter climate you won’t. If the mandate is more demanding and positive then you will.
        Somebody needs to make the trip from South Bend to IU to discover some facts on distance so as to ‘roughly’ know the comparison of IU to L’Ville is a bad call.

        1. It’s called defeatism, Clarion. There’s a lot going around these days.
          Indiana could have had the same historical mentality toward basketball(unfortunately, they eventually did by changing over to multiple “class” basketball). We built big gyms in little towns…We built the best high school basketball in the land in a tiny state with no excuses. If you played basketball at a high school with 400 total students, you still wholeheartedly believed in the chance to play the school with 4000 students. You wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
          Why is there such defeatism and apology? Is it just to cover the asses of those at the top still making the huge coaching salaries along with having the excuses?

          1. There’s also an argument that playing any sport year-round is too much. Training year-round is too much. Warm weather year-round is a reason to beat the hell out of young muscles, ligaments, tendons…and minds(that could be exercising via weight lifting books..e.g. .note to UNC).
            The best thing you can do for a passion is to step away from it for a few months. Are we advocating year-round saturation in a sport for the health and mind of the young student-athlete …or is it simply an avenue paved in greed to better at any cost? The price of winning shouldn’t be deception. The South can soak up a lot of victories via abuse of the athlete….With so much sun, you’d think they would allow a little time for evaporation to go along with the saturation of so much time shoved down the throat simply because there are more hours in year to do so.

        2. HC,
          My mistake on the distance and you are right to call it. Was thinking Lexington instead of Louisville. Interesting little piece of history on the KY program. Had a coach from ’04-’08 named John Cohen. Like IU, got hired away to a more attractive program. 5 years into new gig takes program to CWS final series, handing the best IU baseball team ever a narrow 5-4 loss along the way. Retires as baseball coach and becomes AD at the school. A couple years later decides to hire Chris Lemonis as the new head coach. Funny how things work out and how capable cold weather coaches have a habit of being poached by the top programs.

          1. HC,
            I think you are absolutely correct about Lemonis. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a CWS championship. Is in a situation where he has all the tools to pull it off sooner rather than later.

  19. Put roof on Bart Kaufman and call it Indiana University Hoosier Dome. Yes, an indoor college baseball stadium.

  20. Realize that Scott Rolen was a very good player, etc…but just curious, does Scott Rolen have any coaching experience or player development experience?

  21. IU 79. Best question on this blog. I was thinking same thing. However, given status of IU baseball program I still think the Mercer hire and Rolen (Rolex) hire is excellent for IU baseball.
    Best and great players local or otherwise don’t always make best coaches and leaders of organizations but I do think this is an excellent one for IU baseball. They are successful individuals and are high quality who seem to want to make Bloomington and IU, home.

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