August 1, 2022
Pollock Looks Back on First Year as Assistant Coach, Helping Players with the Game’s Mental Aspect
Doug Pollock’s opportunity to be a Harrisonburg Turk arose during the collegiate baseball offseason when Turks head coach Bob Wease was talking to WVU Tech’s head coach Lawrence Nesselrodt. Pollock became WVU Tech’s assistant coach last season and played under Nesselrodt for three seasons.
Nesselrodt used to coach Marcus Rodriguez, the former Turks assistant coach. Rodriguez didn’t return to the Turks this year, forcing Wease to find a new assistant. Nesselrodt called Pollock into his office one day to discuss the position and Pollock jumped at the chance.
“I had to take up on this opportunity,” Pollock said. “Because of how good of a league this is … this is probably [a] top five [or] top 10 leagues in the nation for college summer baseball. I called Bob right away and I was like, ‘Hey, I’m your guy.’”
Pollock began his collegiate baseball career at Garrett Community College in Maryland in August 2016. He played for two seasons as a starter and won Co-Male Athlete of the Year in 2017. He also worked as an infield instructor during the GCC baseball camps.
From there, he transferred to WVU Tech and played for three seasons, most notably winning a Golden Glove Award in 2019. “My time at [WVU] Tech, I really enjoyed it,” Pollock said. “I made a lot of friends that I’ll be able to call friends for life. I really enjoyed the time there and especially playing under Coach Ness. If you want to learn a lot about baseball, Coach Ness is the guy.”
Pollock is familiar with the Virginia area, having played and coached for the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks of the Rockingham County Baseball League in 2021. Pollock had just played his last season of collegiate baseball but still had the itch to compete. He joined the Diamondbacks that summer where they made it all the way to the RCBL Championship.
“A lot of people just say it’s an older men’s league, but technically it’s really not,” Pollock said. “You see a lot of college kids in that league and a lot of ex-minor league guys in that league that are still trying to make it back to it [the minor leagues]. I had a blast last summer, it was fun playing for them.”
When Pollock got to Harrisonburg, he was laid back at first and tried to get to know the players. He knew as a summer coach he wasn’t working with guys at his school, so if any of the players came to him and asked him questions he would help — but he didn’t want to make “drastic” changes to their playing style. He loves being around the team and wouldn’t trade this summer for anything.
“It’s like they’ve been playing [together] for a few years now,” Pollock said. “That’s how well they gel together and that’s how everybody got along.”
Being a former collegiate player, Pollock is able to bring that experience into his coaching. He understands the mental side of the game and is able to help players with the struggles it brings. Pollock believes it’s one of his biggest factors in coaching.
“I would really get on myself … when I didn’t do good, I wore it on my sleeve,” Pollock said. “When I see guys wear it on their sleeve and stuff … I understand that and it’s hard, but I try to tell guys just let it go … because there’s another at-bat you got to take care of … or the next play.”
One of Pollock’s favorite parts about being a Turk is getting to watch former WVU Tech teammate Logan McClure pitch. Pollock was teammates with McClure for three years and when he started coaching him in Harrisonburg, Pollock said it was “a little weird” at first — but that McClure is a great guy and competitor. “He’s going to give you 110% no matter what,” Pollock said. “The way he competes is like no other … he’s pretty much the type that wants to rip your head off.”
Pollock also enjoyed getting to watch the two Turks stars out of Wingate, Mitch Farris, and Seaver King. He said them — as well as the other guys on the team — are great baseball players and he’s had a blast watching them compete.
“I mean Seaver … watching him play, that kid has all the talent in the world,” Pollock said. “He literally has the world ahead of him. Mitch [is the] same way, he’s a hell of a ball player … all of these guys are great ball players.”
One thing Pollock learned from being assistant coach this summer was feeling out the players. He said all baseball players are different in that a coach can “jumpstart” some players but others can’t because they’ll “fold” under adversity.
He learned to read players and their mentality. “That’s probably going to help me in the future with coaching,” Pollock said. “Mentally getting inside the baseball player’s head and figuring out what their mental side of the game is.”
With the Turks’ 2022 season in the rear-view mirror, Pollock said being around the players is what he’ll miss the most. He had a blast getting to work with Christian Ficca and Jaylon Lee because they define what college summer baseball is supposed to be: Work hard and have fun.
“Ficc[a] is the definition of he gets his reps in but at the same time he’s going to have fun with it too,” Pollock said. “Jaylon’s one heck of a dude, he knows how to grind but also have fun at the same time … pretty much the whole team is like that. If you don’t have fun with it, you shouldn’t really be playing.”
Now that the summer season is over, Pollock is headed back to WVU Tech to be an assistant coach again this fall and spring. Pollock graduated in December 2021 with an undergraduate degree in athletic coach education and a minor in sports management.
Moving forward, Pollock wants to start coaching at the junior college level and work his way up. “I know getting into coaching I’m not going to be breaking the bank, but it’s going to be something I love to do,” Pollock said. “That’s most important to me, doing something I love to do. Especially staying in the game of baseball.”