By (Cody Estremera)

On June 1, Greg Byrne made his first hire as the University of Alabama’s athletic director. Who did he choose? An assistant coach from the school’s biggest rival: Auburn.

Brad Bohannon is the 32nd coach in Alabama baseball history. He comes in after a shaky season under Greg Goff, who served for just one year.

At the time of his hire, Auburn was playing in the Tallahassee regional. He left the team in Florida, and traveled the 312-mile journey to Tuscaloosa.

He arrived around 2 a.m. and saw his wife Kim for the first time in a couple days. They didn’t end up going to bed for several hours, but woke up at 8 a.m. He proceeded to meet the team and by 10:09 a.m. he had met the media and was formally introduced as the head coach baseball coach for the baseball team. After a quick meet and greet with different people in the Alabama community, he had to travel 312 miles back to Tallahassee.

“My Uber pulled up to the ballpark just as the bus did,” Bohannon said. “I wish we had won the ball game, but otherwise it was a fairy tale type day.”

This is Bohannon’s first job as a head coach. In his first month, he has already added two top coaches to his staff, Jerry Zulli and Jason Jackson. Both are top recruiters, which is one of the most important qualities Bohannon was looking for in coaches.

Bohannon specializes in recruiting. He has had top recruiting classes and has had players make it to the MLB. However, he feels his biggest recruits are the players already on the roster.

“The biggest thing [was] I told the kids ‘I have a recruiting background and that is going to be a big topic to folks, but you guys are my biggest recruits right now,’” Bohannon said. “It takes time to build relationships and to connect with everyone, but that is important to me to knock out going forward.”

Bohannon saw the Crimson Tide four times this past year. He went just 1-3 in those four games including being swept in Auburn. However, he doesn’t want to make assumptions on how the 2018 team will play in those four games.

“I don’t want to make assumptions on four games and a stat sheet,” Bohannon said. “I know there are a lot of really strong position players returning, and just like any high program the Major-League draft is going to have a huge impact of which players return and incoming kids get here. I won’t really know (how the team will be) until fall practice.”

Bohannon emphasized that this season was going to be some players’ first team. Each player is different and should be coached different. The most important part of being a coach, to Bohannon, is making sure the players reach their full potential.

“Player development is a huge component of being successful,” Bohannon said. “I want every player, when they leave here, to be the best baseball player possible, and have a chance to play pro-baseball if they want. I want their dreams to come true. I’m not going to hold anyone back.”

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports