Think of some of the most respected athletes of our time… Derek Jeter. Peyton Manning. Michael Jordan. Three guys whose careers have represented the best of the best. A huge reason behind their reverence in the sporting world is due to the fact that they all have won humbly and graciously with superior talent.
Rutgers University coach Fred Hill had a saying that you could only have one jerk in your program at a time, and if he’s a jerk, he better be damn good. What he was talking about was not the kid’s athletic ability, but rather his character and who he was as a person. When one bad seed is surrounded by 34 quality guys, he has no other choice but to get in line with the high moral standard of Rutgers University Baseball. More than one jerk and there is the potential for cancer to spread throughout the clubhouse like wildfire, which we had a couple examples of as well.
So when he went out to recruit a potential student-athlete, not only did he need to be good enough athletically on the field, he needed to fit in with the character of those who make the team who we are off the diamond. With limited scholarship money, their decisions as to who we were going to offer often came down to that player’s personality than how far he can hit a baseball.
He had instances where they brought kids on because we loved WHO they were as people, and we had times where we backed off others because they knew they weren’t what their team was all about.