From Titan to Hornet, Chad Baum becomes the new head coach for the Hornet’s baseball program after the legendary, Nick Fuscardo, retired last season. Baum is a well respected and notable figure in the world of collegiate baseball and was welcomed with open arms into the Hornet family.
Before his transition to head coach at FC, Baum had been the assistant coach for the Cal State Fullerton Titans baseball program the past 13 years.
Coach has spent much of his time in Fullerton, as he also finished his collegiate career at CSUF on the baseball team, earned his degree in kinesiology in 1999.
Originally, Baum hoped his degree in kinesiology would lead him to pursue a career in physical therapy or athletic training. Baum was not expecting to turn coaching into a full-time profession, however, one opportunity led to another and he fell in love with coaching baseball.
In his last year of playing for the Titans, Baum became the team captain, leading to his soon-to-be future in coaching.
Although he was not an everyday player, Baum knew what the team needed most and that was to communication, leadership, motivation, and unite his team.
Though it was hard for Baum to not get as much playing time in his last year, his contributions and experience as a team captain benefited his future far more than playing the game.
“Not playing on the field every day gave me the ability to focus on communicating with my team and evolving my skills into being a leader,” said Baum.
Baum’s success as team captain later earned him a chance to be an assistant coach for the team upon graduation and this is where his coaching career began.
Being learned the importance of hard work at an early age from his own father and he settles for nothing less. His philosophy of coaching is not too far from his origins of being an athlete – do your best every day and to never stop learning.
Coach Baum emphasized that his coaching strategy is about mindset, learning something new every day, and prioritize being a student first and an athlete second.
“My coaches, back in the day, taught me that baseball is a vessel. All the things you learn on the field from discipline, accountability, and teamwork are learned through baseball, but they have applied all throughout my life, even as a husband and father,” said Baum.
Coaching sports is not just about fine-tuning an athlete’s skill.
Coach Baum focuses not only on building up athletes at FC to continue on as an NCAA or MLB player, but he also hopes to encourage the student to continue on as a better person for their future.
“If I have an impact on their life, then the baseball will take care of itself,” said Baum.
Success can be defined in many ways for a coach, but for Baum, there is more than just winning. Though being on top is a big barometer of achievement, he understands the value of growth within each of his individual players as an indicator of true success as a team.
Community college athletics are managed differently than most four-year Division 1 universities. Typically, athletes first pick is not a junior college, but the system still produces talented and well-achieved athletes.
Coach Baum was a product of the community college recruiting system. Mentioning that if it weren’t for his two years to strengthen his baseball and academic skills at community college, he feels he would have never been able to play Division 1 baseball.
The recruiting aspect for FC baseball is finding players that still need a home. It can be hard to recruit athletes into community college, but Baum’s 20 plus years in the sport has created many connections within recruiting and puts him at an advantage.
Coach Baum has high hopes to build a championship team, make his players stronger and then aid them in recruiting for the next level to finish their collegiate careers.
Coming in as a new head coach, Baum prioritizes building a relationship with his athletes. He has an open-door policy that makes sure to encourage his athletes to be open and honest. Whether his players are having a good day or an off-day, Baum wants to communicate and be aware of all his player’s needs.
Along with his philosophy of working hard and doing your best each day, Coach doesn’t hold back from using the bad days, losses, and player’s errors as a learning experience.
“Even the most talented players can mess up or do something that negatively impacts the team, but taking time to use it as an example to learn from also adds to building trust,” said Baum.
From being a Division 1 athlete, team captain, assistant coach, and now FC head coach, Baum has been around a lot of talent. In his career, he has coached 22 major leaguers in 21 seasons of coaching college baseball. Along his journey of coaching, he has assisted players such as Matt Chapman, Justin Turner, and JD Davis.
“Good coaches have good players, but each of those players has more than just natural talent. They have the ability to learn, extreme accountability, and taking the initiative to coach themselves every day with the tools they have learned from coaches and trainers,” said Baum.
Coaching baseball is a mechanism of life-long teaching for Baum. Earning his Master in Education from Azusa Pacific in 2005, he values the student-athlete growth and development in the classroom tremendously. Being a professor for a year added to Baum’s teaching philosophies. Though he is not a professor in academics full-time, he considers coaching sports as a form of teaching.
Baum is learning what it means to be a Fullerton Hornet and is looking forward to building upon the culture as he begins his first season with his team this spring. Baum is confident in his team’s fundamentals and representing what it truly means to be an FC Hornet: playing hard, being on time, being accountable, and giving their all.
“I expect my players to abide by what it means to be a Hornet, I have to and my staff has to live that out ourselves first. We must give our guys all that we can give them, so they can do the same in return,” said Baum.
Opening Day for The Hornets 2020 Baseball Season will kick off this spring.