LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Dan McDonnell has led UofL baseball to unprecedented success over the last 7 years, and three assistants have been there every step of the way.
Roger Williams, Chris Lemonis and Brian Mundorf have all been on McDonnell's staff from day one.
Williams is the Cards pitching coach. He coaches a staff that heads to the College World Series with an earned run average of 2.50, fifth in the nation.
"I think more than anything, his mindset rubs off on all our pitchers," UofL outfielder / pitcher Cole Sturgeon said. "He really talks about mindset more than anything, just attacking the zone, pounding the zone, throwing a lot of strikes, attacking hitters. You can't give up free bases in the postseason, so it's really important."
Williams has coached the Big East Pitcher of the Year in 5 of his 7 seasons, including Floyd Central High grad Jeff Thompson in 2013.
"I mean in the college baseball world a lot of people know about Coach Williams," Thompson said. "He's one of the best pitching coaches there is out there."
McDonnell says he found out early on that UofL vice president of athletics Tom Jurich was fully vested in creating a winning program.
"I knew Tom had it figured out when we got eliminated in Omaha in '07 and I got back to my room, I was still in my uniform and Tom called me and said, "Come to my room," and he sat me down and the first thing he said was "What do we have to do to keep the assistants?" and as a 14 year assistant coach that meant a lot to me," McDonnell recalled.
Now 6 years later the staff is still intact, with the addition of former Cards player Kyle Cheesebrough, and the Cards are 51-12 and headed back to Omaha. "We are a product of our coaching staff," McDonnell said. "We respect each other and know what each other is trying to do and we're all on the same page. We're all better prepared for what we're about to experience here."
And better off having Williams in the dugout. Chad Green will be the Cards starting pitcher against Indiana on Saturday night, and knows Williams will be prepared to face the Hoosiers.
"He does all the scouting reports," Green said. "He's so intelligent with the game, he calls all the pitches. He studies hours and hours of scouting reports on what to throw batters."
As for Williams future, he's had plenty of opportunities to leave UofL, including talks with 2010 National Champion South Carolina in the summer of '10, but he's still happy to be a Card.
"I love the way we do things, a lot of continuity here, and you have a great A.D. at the top, I know everybody says that, but it's the absolute truth, and we have a lot of great things going on in this program," Williams said. "We love living here, me and my family enjoy it. It's been a great place to be for us and we're having a lot of fun doing what we're doing."