Trevecca baseball coach hooked on opportunity to return to college

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 at 7:20pm

Mike Lord arrived in Nashville on Monday and was introduced as Trevecca Nazarene’s new baseball coach on Tuesday.

He plan was to leave shortly thereafter, catch a flight to San Diego, grab the wife and two dogs and return to begin his new life in the Music City.

As soon as he gets back, he’ll get right to business.

“I can’t wait to catch my first fish here out of one of these lakes,” Lord said. “I’m already looking into how I get my fishing license.”

An avid fisherman since he was five years old – when his mother began to take him to catfish lakes in California – Lord has spent most of his time in saltwater. When he lived in Florida, he loaded up with a boat and a kayak and regularly ventured off into the Florida Keys.

But the freshwater scene is new to him. He said “he got into the water” at Percy Priest Lake on Monday and is looking forward to floating off in associate provost Steve Harris’ bass boat.

“I probably caught maybe a three-pound trout at best,” Lord said. “It was probably really a pounder but let’s just call it a 'three.'”

With self-deprecating humor and a laid back demeanor, Lord entertained a small gather of Trevecca students, athletes, coaches and administrators at his introductory press conference.

The 54-year-old with California blond hair takes over the Trojans after Jonathan Burton left in June to become the head coach of Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) College.

Lord isn’t new to the college coaching ranks, having been an assistant or head coach at six different schools. He also has professional experience, spending nine seasons with the San Diego Padres. Over the last three years, he was the international scouting coordinator for the Boston Red Sox.

The California native had an itch to get back into coaching. Saying his connection to Trevecca was Jesus Christ, he was tipped off about the job opening from a friend.

“My spirit is not one that says, ‘You can’t play. You can’t play. You, come here, you can play,’” Lord, who has coached at six different colleges, said. “I would rather them all come and say, ‘All right, we are going to work on this. You are going to work on that.’ Scouting as good as it was, it didn’t match up with who I am. I’d rather coach. It was a time where I needed to make one last run.

"I’m a couple years away from the rest home. I had to get on it quick. Otherwise I would have been having a walker in the third-base dugout. This was a perfect time.”

Lord describes his coaching style as a hybrid – mixing in values and lessons he learned from both the college and professional levels. He also said he won’t burn out his players with an intense approach.

“It is like racing a track, like Seabiscuit – you don’t crack the whip early and then there is nothing left,” he said. “We pace around the track. ... When you really want to be at your best is in May.”

Lord and Trevecca have retained assistant coaches Luke Brown and Matt Thomas, who kept up recruiting while the Trojans were without a head coach for two months.

Lord was the first hire for new athletic director Mark Elliott, who is guiding the Trojans in their transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II. Lord hopes to maintain the winning pace as Trevecca won 99 games over the last three years.

“When you have such a good tradition, when you have excellence, when you have a tradition of success, you have to walk a really fine line when selecting someone to follow that success,” Elliott said. “There is a fine line of keeping it in the family, so to speak, but there is also a really fine line of what is good for the program. Mike Lord fills that bill very, very well.”