Former MLB third baseman has made Linfield Wildcats D-III power in his seven seasons

by: COURTESY OF LINFIELD COLLEGE - Former MLB star Scott Brosius has developed Linfield College into a baseball power. He is taking the Wildcats coaching job one year at a time.McMINNVILLE — There was Scott Brosius at the ballpark — a familiar scene, sure, but in a different setting.

Not as a player or a coach, but as a father.

The former major league third baseman and current Linfield coach looked relaxed and happy as his son, David, helped McMinnville High to a 1-0 victory over North Salem in the state 6A playoffs.

David, a 6-1, 150-pound junior, is a left-handed pitcher and outfielder who in physical stature, at least, resembles his dad during his time at Putnam High.

“I told him to choose a bigger pants size next time,” the senior Brosius joked. “Anything to make him look a little thicker.”

Brosius’ Linfield team enjoyed another banner regular season and entered the NCAA Division III World Series as top seed and the No. 1-ranked team in the country.

The defending national champion Wildcats exited quietly, losing 10-0 to St. Thomas and 8-5 to Emory in the double-elimination affair.

“In the big picture, it was a successful season,” Brosius said, “but we were really disappointed with the finish — how quickly it ended and how we played (at the CWS). We weren’t ourselves. With the talent there, there is little margin of error. We didn’t play very well both games. That was the real disappointment.

“Just getting to (the CWS) — to get through the (Northwest) conference and win a regional — is a hard thing to do. But once you get there, you’d like to get beat playing your best ball, and that wasn’t the case.”

Linfield finished 37-9 and earned its No. 1 ranking with stellar play through the season.

“The only ranking you really want is at the end,” Brosius allowed. “But it says something about the program that we’re at a place where we’re disappointed with not winning the national championship. That’s a positive thing.

“The last thing I’d do is view this season as a failure. We had a very successful season. It just didn’t work out for us at the end.”

It’s safe to say, though, that the job Brosius wasn’t sure he wanted when he started out as a volunteer assistant to then-coach Scott Carnahan in 2002 is working out just fine.

In his seven years as head coach, Brosius has fashioned a 237-81 record, winning five NWC championships, four regionals and reaching the World Series four times.

Brosius served five years on Carnahan’s staff, then switched roles with the man who had guided the Wildcats for 24 years. Carnahan is now Brosius’ assistant, working with pitchers and catchers.

“’Bro’ started as a part-time volunteer,” said Carnahan, who has continued as the Linfield AD. “After a couple of years, I got him to consent to helping out full-time with infielders and hitters. I was killing myself (in a dual role as head coach and AD). The recruiting part was most difficult, doing that and trying to deal with our other 19 sports.”

In 2007, Brosius approached Carnahan one day in his office after fall baseball.

“Would you be interested in writing a letter of recommendation for me?” Brosius asked.

“What for?” Carnahan asked.

“I’d like to get a head job at a college level,” Brosius said.

“Why don’t you take this job?” Carnahan asked.

“I don’t want your job,” Brosius said.

“You’d be doing me a favor if you’d take it,” Carnahan said.

“OK, I’ll do that on one condition — if you’d stay on and help coach,” Brosius said.

Carnahan agreed, “And it’s been a blessing for me personally. I’ve been able to stay involved and get out of office for three to four hours a day and work with kids in a positive setting.

“When I was head coach, we could never get over the hump. I never had enough pitching. We’ve been able to recruit some arms and quality kids. Scott has done a fabulous job of recruiting, plus he’s very organized and personable with kids. They love playing for him. It’s all been positive.”

by: COURTESY OF LINFIELD COLLEGE - Coach Scott Brosius Linfield Wildcats were ranked No. 1 in NCAA Division III going into the national tournament, and the team will return two All-American pitchers in 2015.Seven years in, Brosius, 47, feels the same way. “I’m enjoying it, no question,” he said. “There’s a competitive nature as a player that you don’t quite get as a coach. But when you see a team grow together and watch the kids have success, it’s pretty fulfilling.”

Brosius has been able to do it in his home state and at his alma mater. During his years with the Oakland A’s and New York Yankees, he made McMinnville his offseason home and was always involved with the Linfield program, hitting in the cages with the Wildcat players and serving as a role model.

Now Brosius is running the program with the same drive — and lack of ego — he showed as a big-league player, a three-time World Series champion with the Yankees and the 1998 World Series most valuable player.

“He’s the most humble person I’ve ever met for someone who has accomplished so much,” said Eric Evenson, a second baseman from 2008-11 and a member of Brosius’ first recruiting class. “Anyone at the school who has interacted with him — and not just those who played for him — sings the highest praises for him.”

Evenson recalled a recruiting visit with his parents in Brosius’ office.

“We talked for 45 minutes or an hour, and not once did he bring up his playing career,” said Evenson, who played in two CWS at Linfield. “He never boasted about the things he accomplished. It said a lot to me. He’s Coach Brosius, not World Series MVP.”

Evenson said he treated all players the same.

“Whether you were starting every game or a guy who never played, you got a lot of attention,” he said. “He gave a ton of time and energy to each player. You’d pick his brain for stories, and it was great to hear them. Those experiences helped us. He has a really good sense of humor and he’s a great competitor. Package it all up and it made for an unbelievable four years playing for him.”

During his time at Linfield, Brosius has also been involved with USA Baseball. He managed the 18-and-under national team that won the gold medal at the Pan American championships at Cartagena, Colombia, and won the 18U world championship at Seoul, South Korea, in 2011. He was named USA Baseball coach of year in 2011 and ‘12.

A fair question is this: How long can Linfield hang on to Brosius?

“Not long after Bro accepted the head job, Oregon started baseball,” said Carnahan, who won 11 NWC titles as Linfield’s head coach. The Ducks “approached him before they hired George Horton. But Scott had three children in school, and he was very comfortable here. “After David graduates, maybe there will be opportunities that will interest Scott. He did a wonderful job with USA baseball. He has a reputation nationally for the knowledge he has as a coach and also for his demeanor and way of dealing with people. His personality is a very positive thing when it comes to dealing with college-age students.

“If he decided to move on and do something else, it would be a big blow to our program, but we would understand.”

Brosius is noncommittal on the subject.

“I make a point of not looking too far ahead, because you just don’t know,” he said. “It’s not even on the table, so it’s a wasted thought process. After next year, when David’s graduated, that changes our situation and might change our thinking. We’ll have an empty nest, and you never know what the future holds. But there’s nothing in the hopper. I take it year to year.

“Each year, the winters get a little more frustrating. As a baseball coach in Oregon, the grind of it is the weather. But I love the area. I’m born and raised in Portland. I’d be hard-pressed to spend a whole lot of time away from this area.”

Brosius will return with a solid nucleus of talent led by pitchers Chris Haddeland (11-2, 1.16 ERA) and Aaron Thomassen (10-2, 2.08), both named as All-Americans as juniors this spring. Gone are seniors who were the Wildcats’ top three hitters this season — catcher/outfielder Jake Wylie, first baseman Clayton Truex and outfielder Nick Fisher.

The Wildcats get almost all of their players from the Northwest. From their 48-man roster this season, 44 were from Oregon and Washington. That won’t change much.

“We have good talent coming back,” Brosius said. “We lose a good chunk of our lineup, but there are guys who are going to step in. We have a good core of freshmen coming in next year, and some of those guys are going to have to step in and compete right away.”

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