After competing in their final NCAA Regional Tournament in May, three former Webster University baseball players return for the 2017-18 year to serve as assistant coaches.
The trio of assistants include John Lord, Zach Bishop and Brett Jungles. These assistants hope to share their experiences with the athletes as well as gain useful experience themselves.
Jungles committed to Webster late in the recruiting process, but chose to become a Gorlok because of the winning program, nice facilities, and the location of campus.
Jungles played for the university for four years while double majoring in mathematics and economics.
“I was a utility player, so I played all nine positions, but I mostly played catcher, second base and pitcher,” Jungles said.
Head baseball coach Bill Kurich said he always keeps an eye out for players that possess the qualities he looks for in a good coach.
“Brett Jungles is a very intelligent and well spoken young coach,” Kurich said. “Brett was a very smart player. He thought about the game as a coach while he was a player.”
Lord, a former pitcher, said the three new assistants all understand how the program works, making it a smooth to transition into coaching.
“Going through practices and workouts as a player makes it easier to help our current players develop over their careers,” Lord said.
Bishop played as a catcher and first baseman while as a Gorlok. He looks forward to coaching with his two former teammates and continue making the program successful.
“We have built a winning tradition based around a great group of guys,” Bishop said. “John not only has developed good relationships with the staff, but he is able to mentor and teach them. Brett is also hardworking and motivated in everything he does. The other two new coaches are great assets.”
Jungles’ goal is not to become a head coach like many assistants. With a new degree and the skills he gains through coaching, Jungles hopes to work behind the scenes.
“I’m trying to get hired by a Major League Baseball team front office to do data analytics for a team,” Jungles said. “The dream team would be the Chicago White Sox because they’ve been my favorite team growing up.”
Data analysts, specifically in baseball, translate numbers into useful information for coaches and managers. These statistics can affect who plays, what strategies to perform against a certain opponent and even determine salaries.
Jungles said his experiences at Webster University prepared him for a career after sports.
“I’ve always had an ability to analyze numbers very efficiently,” Jungles said. “Once I did larger data projects in school I knew combining my passion for baseball with data analytics that the job would be perfect for me.”