Recruiting Column: Interview with Vanderbilt baseball coach Tim Corbin

Photo: Jay Powell

Recruiting Column: Interview with Vanderbilt baseball coach Tim Corbin

Recruiting Column

Recruiting Column: Interview with Vanderbilt baseball coach Tim Corbin


USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the recruiting process. This isn’t about where just the top five-star athletes are headed but rather a guide to the process and the pitfalls for student-athletes nationwide from This week’s article is written by Ross Hawley, the president of the company. is an industry leader in college recruiting. Their technology based recruiting service identifies the right colleges for potential recruits to pursue and provides a recruiting system that is second to none for student-athletes of all talent levels and ages.

Tim Corbin has been coaching baseball at Vanderbilt since 2003. During his fifteen seasons as the Commodore skipper, Vandy has an overall record of 646-315-1, including thirteen appearances in the postseason. In that time, Coach Corbin’s guided his Vanderbilt program to four SEC conference championships, seven NCAA Super Regionals, three NCAA College World Series appearances, and in 2014 he led the Commodores to the school’s first-ever men’s national championship. He’s seen fourteen of his former players selected in the first round of the MLB Draft and according to Baseball America, he’s got the top ranked recruiting class of 2017. Let me take a quick breath.

This week, I had the awesome privilege of sitting down with Coach Tim Corbin. From his recruiting philosophy, to the challenges of being a college athlete, here is what he had to say.

Q: Talk to me about Vanderbilt’s recruiting philosophy.

A: A Vanderbilt education is the perfect balance between learning and development. As a student, you come to Vanderbilt because you have a passion to grow. And, you understand the growth you experience here, is going to propel you for the remainder of your life. When it comes to the recruiting philosophy of our baseball program, we’re looking for guys that fit that mold. We’re looking for guys that want to be developed physically, emotionally and mentally, on and off the field. For us, the academic component is paramount when identifying players. It allows us to attract young men looking to be a part of a 4-year program, so they can walk away with a college degree. When you can consistently bring players like that into your program, you’re able to build a nucleus of strong, caring individuals. That gives you a great chance at having a lot of success.

Q: What would you like every high school athlete to know about the recruiting process?

A: It will take time, so don’t feel like you need to rush when you’re deciding on which school is right for you. This is such an individualized process and unfortunately, I think young men and women lose track of that, at times. Quit worrying about what everyone else has going on or when they’re committing. Your circumstances are completely different, so don’t feel like your process needs to match the speed of someone else’s process.

Also, it’s important to understand that being recruited is such a gift, at any level. Sure, it’s going to be competitive and with competition, you can’t always expect your situation to be comfortable. That’s just the nature of college athletics. But to have your athletic ability provide you with the opportunity of a college education, is truly a gift. So, enjoy it and open your present slowly!

Q: What advice do you have for a high school player not getting much attention from college coaches?

A: It’s all about building relationships and understanding your conditions. Don’t be afraid to knock on some doors and make an introduction. As a coach, my goal when I’m recruiting a player is to ensure that what we’re doing at Vanderbilt, aligns with what he’s wanting and needing as a student, and as an athlete. Just because we like you, doesn’t mean you need to like us. The main objective is to find a place that fits your goals and we want to help you do that, regardless if it’s here or not. You can figure out where you belong through the relationships you develop and nurture. The ability to communicate your intentions will take you a long way in this process.

(Photo: Jay Powell)

Q: Talk to me about the challenges of being a student-athlete at the collegiate level.

A: There’s not enough time in the day for a passionate person to accomplish all the things they want to accomplish. Competing at this level means you’re probably, at the very least, passionate about playing the game. That’s good and that’s why you’re here. But, playing at this level isn’t just about working hard and being passionate as an athlete. That passion is also required of you in the classroom, in the community, and so on. I think the biggest challenge these young men and women face is how they manage their time, each and every day. They must be able to prioritize, manage and be intentional with their time.

Dansby Swanson (former 1st round draft pick and current SS for the Atlanta Braves) is a guy that was phenomenal at managing his time, as a student-athlete at Vanderbilt. He was so intentional with his time and always made the best use of the 24 hours he had, each day. Dansby was very aware of the things he could control and didn’t bother worrying about the things that were out of his control. His efficiency removed any potential anxiety and allowed him to really enjoy himself. That’s a big reason why he’s had so much success.


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