Colin Kaline takes the reigns of Oakland baseball

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Colin Kaline takes the reigns of Oakland baseball

Colin Kaline, grandson of Tigers Hall of Famer Al Kaline, takes over as head coach of the Golden Grizzlies baseball team.

Colin Kaline, grandson of Tigers Hall of Famer Al Kaline, takes over as head coach of the Golden Grizzlies baseball team.

Courtesy of OU Athletics

Colin Kaline, grandson of Tigers Hall of Famer Al Kaline, takes over as head coach of the Golden Grizzlies baseball team.

Courtesy of OU Athletics

Courtesy of OU Athletics

Colin Kaline, grandson of Tigers Hall of Famer Al Kaline, takes over as head coach of the Golden Grizzlies baseball team.

Michael Pearce, Sports Editor

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At 30 years old, Colin Kaline is a relatively young head coach for a Division I college baseball team. After sharing head coach duties with Jacke Healey for two seasons, he was announced as the sole head coach this summer.

Since he joined the coaching staff from Florida Southern College, the team has gone 20-35 in conference play and won their first ever tournament games as a program.

“I was 27 when I got that job, and I still had a lot to learn about coaching in general,” Kaline said. “Having someone to lean on in my first couple of years of running a program was very valuable to all of us. It helped me ease into running a program.”

Kaline, grandson of Tigers Hall of Famer Al Kaline, was a 25th round pick by the Detroit Tigers in 2011 out of Florida Southern. After many years of being an assistant or co-head coach, he feels confident and ready to take the helm of the Golden Grizzlies baseball team.

“I’m feeling very ready and very confident,” he said. “We’re just really excited. We have a great group of guys that are going to make this transition very easy for me.”

Last season, the team struggled, going 11-37 overall and losing in the first round of the Horizon League tournament in a crushing fashion to the Northern Kentucky Norse. The Golden Grizzlies had a three-run lead in the bottom of the ninth and gave up four runs to the Norse to lose the game.

In addition to a tough season, the team was only able to play five home games.

“There’s a lot of things that happened that were really out of our hands last year,” Kaline said. “It’s nice to hit the reset button and kind of get everybody rejuvenated and back on the same page. We’re excited about giving it another go.”

Since Kaline’s arrival, the Golden Grizzlies have seen success in their players either getting drafted to the Major League or having success in the MLB.

Zach Sterry was drafted in 2017 and Jake Lee was drafted in 2018, but the most recent success story from Oakland is Mike Brosseau, who as of July 29 has hit just under .300 and drove in 11 runs after getting called up to the Tampa Bay Rays.

“It’s really special to see that,” Kaline said. “Any time you can have a player from the university you’re coaching at have success in the big league, and on top of that, Mike is a wonderful kid. He’s one of the best people you’ll meet. He comes back and helps the guys, he was a great teammate when he was here and he’s still helping our kids currently.”

The player on the roster that Kaline believes can be the next Golden Grizzly to get drafted and find success in professional baseball is junior pitcher Beau Keathley.

Keathley was third in the Horizon League in earned run average (ERA), with a 3.77 ERA. He also ranked fourth in strikeouts and allowed the least hits of any starting pitcher in the conference. Opponents had an abysmal .189 batting average against him.

“He [Keathley] is a guy we’re really excited to see continue developing, and we know he’s going to work hard and live up to the hype,” Kaline said. “It will be exciting, not only for us to watch him develop, but for him, his family and teammates as well.”

With a rejuvenated team and a love for the game, Kaline feels confident that he and his team can rebound after their disappointing 2019 campaign.