New assistant baseball coach Ryan Fecteau talks pitching

Previous Q&As
Head coach John Szefc

Next up in our series of featuring Q&As this fall with the newest members of the Virginia Tech baseball coaching and support staff is assistant coach Ryan Fecteau, who is in charge of the Hokies’ pitching staff. These features are used to help introduce these coaches and staff members to Hokie Nation (on the right are previous Q&As).

Fecteau’s resume includes five straight seasons at Bryant (2012-16), where his staff either led the conference or finished second in three major categories – ERA, WHIP, and strikeouts per nine innings. In his only season at Maryland (2017), his staff ranked fourth in ERA in the Big Ten last year (down from seventh), third in WHIP (was third) and second in Ks/9 (down from ninth). He’s been tasked with working to reduce those numbers here at Tech.

Q: How was your summer?
RF: “Summer was pretty good. It was hectic, but good. We had to just get started right away with recruiting, because we were a little bit behind with 2018s. We were on the road for the first month with Georgia being right around the corner, once we got the jobs here. So, we were travelling all around and trying to get the families in here, so it was a little hectic. It was busy, but it went by really fast, because we were constantly on the go. I think the recruiting went really well and we also were in contact with all the returning guys, establishing a relationship with them. It was a good summer, hectic, but it was fun.”

Q: Was it a no-brainer to join Coach John Szefc down here in Blacksburg?
RF: “Yeah! Coach Szefc gave me a really good opportunity at Maryland. He’s one of the best coaches that I ever worked for, because he kind of just lets you do your thing. He really doesn’t micro-manage his staff, he really lets you work on what you know. Once he got the job, I was just hoping that he would ask me to come and he did, and it was definitely a no-brainer for me and my family. We love it down here. It’s a different type of atmosphere and a great environment. I’m living about a mile from campus, so I get to be around here all the time instead of commuting like 45 minutes (one-way) to work every day. It was definitely a no-brainer because whenever you get a chance to work for someone like Coach Szefc and you can hitch your wagon to that guy, you have to do it. So, we (my family and I) are very fortunate to be in Blacksburg for sure.”

Q: What was your first order of business when talking to the returning guys?”
RF: “It was just conversations about trying to get things started and get things moving in the right direction. It’s not like we’re trying to come in here and replace anybody (pitchers). We know that we have some really good players here, we just need to make sure we can get the most out of them. We just wanted to get everyone working on the same page and just try to put together a really good year. And I think this group has what it takes to do that too.”

Q: Looking at the returning core and seeing what you lost, innings-wise you lost about 50-percent but you bring back 50-percent and you get guys like Nic Enright and Connor Yoder back from injury. So, this situation in Blacksburg, the cupboard isn’t bare, it just needs what from you?
RF: “Yeah, they had some guys last year that were banged up and missed the entire season, so you return those guys along with the incoming freshman group and we added a juco guy too. So, there are a lot of new faces, but I think we have a good blend of older guys and younger guys. What I have seen so far is that they are a very positive group and they’ve worked really well together. They all seem to be on the same page. We are still trying to go through the evaluation part with these guys. We tried to go out and see some guys this summer, just to get a little look at them. It’s probably too early to tell what kind of roles guys will have, but I think having those veteran guys back, that can kind of lead the way is going to be really important. We will have a better idea at the end of the fall, but correct, it’s definitely not a situation where the cupboard is bare or anything like that. There are some really good pitchers on this staff and I think it’s going to be really competitive for guys to establish themselves in certain roles and earn those innings. That’s what we’ve been trying to preach to the guys, that you are getting evaluated every day and you have to compete for your spot and your role every day. And they’re in a spot where they are just pushing each other.”

Q: What can observers expect this fall from a pitching standpoint?
RF: “Right now, we’re trying to get them back into shape a little bit. I’m trying to implement some of the stuff that I’ve used in the past. My big thing is to get guys to buy into throwing strikes – which sounds simple enough, but there’s a lot of pitching staffs that don’t do that consistently. That’s kind of the emphasis in the fall and just getting guys to believe in their stuff and really attack the strike zone. That’s the goal for the fall and then we’ll kind of see where it goes.”

For updates on Virginia Tech baseball, follow the Hokies on Twitter