New Gophers baseball coach Ty McDevitt: ‘We are going to do things differently on the field’

Ty McDevitt has tried to take a few quiet moments to himself to reflect on his new role as the University of Minnesota baseball coach. But then the task of returning the Gophers program to a high level intervenes.

When McDevitt tries to sit back, his phone seems to ring almost immediately. “It snaps me out of it pretty fast,” he said Monday.

McDevitt was named the successor to John Anderson on May 22. McDevitt, an Apple Valley native, pitched for the Gophers from 2012-16 and was the U’s pitching coach for six seasons before his promotion.

Since winning a Big Ten championship and advancing to the NCAA tournament in 2018, the Gophers have posted only two seasons with winning records (29-27 in 2019 and 25-23 in 2024) and four losing years, including a 6-31 bottoming out in 2021.

McDevitt, 31, is only the Gophers’ fourth head baseball coach since 1948 and the program’s first since John Anderson took over in 1982, 10 years before McDevitt was born.

As a coach, McDevitt wants to continue Anderson’s level of authenticity and transparency. On the field, McDevitt believes the strength of the current team is in its young pitching staff, and he will be looking to make improvements in other areas.

“We are going to do things differently on the field,” McDevitt said. “We are going to operate at a much higher speed than we have before. I’ve got a different vision for what we are going to do offensively.

“Defensively, (Anderson) has established a long-standing tradition of playing quality defense — we have to get back to that,” McDevitt said. “We haven’t played very good defense these last few years. We haven’t picked up the baseball and haven’t thrown it well. We’ve got to get a group of guys out there who are committed to playing catch on the field.”

McDevitt estimated the Gophers lost 10 games this spring because they “didn’t operate very well under stress.” McDevitt said they didn’t make the big play. We didn’t make the big pitch. We didn’t make the big hit.”

McDevitt said if that upshot came, it would be the difference in making the Big Ten tournament and maybe even having the wherewithal to make the NCAA tournament.

“We’ve got to create an environment in practice daily that stresses that component of getting guys comfortable operating under stress,” McDevitt said. “Not just to a level where they can survive, but to a level where they can thrive.”

Within an expanding Big Ten Conference, McDevitt will be tasked with rebuilding a roster in the NCAA transfer portal era. Part of the reason he hasn’t been able to reflect much on his own promotion is an abundance of time spent combing through the “thousands” of players in that database..

“You have to make a commitment to going through that and making a lot of phone calls and getting a lot of guys on campus,” McDevitt said. “You’re going to find guys that want to be here and want to be here for the right reasons.”

The Gophers weren’t able to play early-season games at U.S. Bank Stadium in March because the Vikings were replacing the turf. It’s unclear if the U will be able to play at U.S. Bank Stadium in spring 2025.

“It minimizes the travel; it’s a true home venue for us,” McDevitt said. “It is important long term for us to have some stability here as a program (with that venue). … If it’s this year or next year or (in the) years to come. … It’s how can we get the best team on the field that can operate in any environment — whether we’ve got to play in a parking lot or we get to play at U.S. Bank Stadium.”

Gophers news

The Gophers-Hawkeyes football game on Sept. 21 likely will be played in prime time on NBC at Huntington Bank Stadium, per Brett McMurphy on Monday. …. Men’s basketball freshmen Isaac Asuma and Grayson Grove arrived on the U campus last weekend. Head coach Ben Johnson still has one scholarship available with guard Cam Christie staying in NBA draft. … Freshman football players who did not enroll early in January are also expected to be on campus now as well. Summer classes started Monday. … The volleyball team just concluded a 12-day trip to Turkey, Slovenia and Italy in May. … Former football center Greg Eslinger is back on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot in 2025.

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