By: CAYLA RUPERT
A new varsity sport and a few new faces will be joining the IU South Bend campus come fall 2015.
“We are very excited about starting baseball,” said Steve Bruce, executive director of athletics and activities at IU South Bend. “This was an unexpected opportunity that will benefit our university and our community.”
IUSB made the announcement earlier this month to add a baseball team to their mix of varsity sports already active on campus. The decision came after nearby college Holy Cross made the choice to cut its baseball program.
“The addition of new sports is part of IU South Bend’s strategic plan,” said Bruce. “We will be looking to add a women’s sport in 2016-17.”
Along with the excitement of a new sport, comes the excitement of new faces around IU South Bend’s campus.
“Our baseball program will be under the guidance of Coach Brain Blondell, the current Holy Cross coach,” said Bruce. “We expect 15 to 20 student athletes from his program to join him at IU South Bend, and another 15 to 20 to attend IU South Bend because of this new and exciting opportunity to compete in baseball at the collegiate level.”
Coach Brain Blondell started with Holy Cross in June 2012. Along with being the head coach at Holy Cross Blondell also coached at South Bend Riley, Bethel College, Elkhart Memorial and South Bend’s St. Joseph High School. Blondell is also the director of player operations and field manager for the Michiana Scrappers, a local baseball and softball organization.
“I am most looking forward to getting started and securing my incoming class of athletes. We will bring over 15 or so from Holy Cross and thus need to recruit 20 more student athletes that are able to play our style of baseball and perform in the classroom as well,” said Blondell. “Cannot wait to put on the first-ever Titan jersey and begin to make a name for the IUSB community.”
Although IU South Bend does not have a facility for the baseball team, plans are being made that will determine where the team will practice and play their games.
“We are working on this solution currently,” said Blondell. “Our goal is to look off campus as of today. Options we will pursue are Four Winds Field, Boehm Park or School Field.”
A major priority for Bruce, Blondell and the athletic department at IU South Bend is to find athletes that fit in with IU South Bend academically. IU South Bend athletes have ranked among the highest academically on campus.
“Our goal is to find the best athletes both academically and athletically that will fit the standards we believe at Indiana University South Bend to make them successful after four years,” said Blondell.
The expectations for the new baseball team are set on a level that exceeds brilliance.
“We expect our new baseball team to conduct themselves with both integrity and to work toward excellence in the classroom and on the diamond,” said Bruce. “We are looking forward to a newness and excitement that walks hand-in-hand with baseball.”