Feb. 15, 2016
UCCS added a baseball team in September, and in November, Dave Hajek was introduced as the first head coach of the team.
Now, Hajek can begin to form his plan for building a program.
“We are about building an atmosphere that you are playing for something bigger than yourself, for your family, university or teammates,” he said. “It’s not about getting to the pros. You’re playing for something that you remember for the rest of your life.”
Hajek explained this is a tough mentality when building a program from the ground up. With the limitations of recruiting such as short trips and email communication, it can be difficult to find players that fit his mentality.
“I am still trying to get to know the process, there are plenty of players who want to play here and plenty of coaches who want to send players here,” he said, “The word I like to use is daunting.”
Hajek is glad to be at UCCS because Colorado Springs is his hometown, but also due to the support he has already felt from the athletic department and school administration. He has been able to formulate a plan to prepare for the first spring season, which is a year from now.
He wants to bring in about 60 players and trim that down to 30 by the first game.
“I have a list of names, but who do you give scholarships to? I have all these spots I’m looking to fill but how will these guys fit together? It’s a lot to think about,” he said.
Hajek wants to hold tryouts in May after the high school season is done. He has received interest from Arizona to Canada, but added that he doesn’t want to overlook local talent.
After coaching for more than 12 years within the Colorado Rockies organization, getting to run his own collegiate program has been an adjustment for Hajek.
“You have an athlete with a different mindset, they’re searching for opportunities in their career and they’re hungry to take advantage of the opportunity to get a degree and play a sport they love,” he said.
With recruits visiting campus, Hajek said the unpredictability of Colorado Springs weather can be a concern.
“Weather is a challenging part of recruitment. I have to be realistic with the recruits and explain the possibility of the snow really at any time, but I try and prepare them and not let it discourage them,” he said.
UCCS has made arrangements with The Arena, Wasson High School and Memorial Park to accommodate the new team, which gives them at least one indoor venue to practice at during bad weather. Hajek said there are discussions with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox organization about using their field as well.
Hajek spoke with his alma mater, Cal Poly Pomona, and scheduled the team’s first official game for Feb. 2, 2017.