New Ohio State baseball coach Bill Mosiello adds emotional energy to Buckeyes | Rob Oller

Rob Oller
The Columbus Dispatch
New Ohio State baseball coach Bill Mosiello

Don’t tell Bill Mosiello there's no crying in baseball, because tears flow from the new Ohio State baseball coach almost as often as words flood from his mouth. 

If Mosiello’s tongue is the Niagara River of talk, sending a constant rush of chatter over a Horseshoe Falls of conversation, then his eyes are at least something approaching a garden hose of emotion left on overnight. 

Ask Mosiello about his wife of 38 years, Janelle, and the 57-year-old chokes up as he describes the glue gal who keeps things together. Mosiello mentions his three grown sons, Shane, Gehrig and Helton, and … yep, more saltwater down the cheeks. 

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Bill, what about the baseball coaches and mentors who helped you get to where you are today? Bill? Bill? Are you crying?

Tom Hanks’ Jimmy Dugan would disapprove, but when a lifelong baseball man can put a lump in the throat of his audience the way Mosiello does, well, let’s just say his emotional energy bodes well for the OSU baseball program.

New Ohio State baseball coach Bill Mosiello spent the last nine seasons as an assistant at TCU.

Passion alone does not win Big Ten titles or send teams to the College World Series, but there is something to be said for a coach who can motivate 18- to 21-year-olds to give their utmost for the highest goal, especially when you combine the emotion with 36 years of baseball coaching and managing experience.

Cincinnati Reds game planning and outfield coach Jeff Pickler attended Mosiello’s introductory news conference at the Covelli Center Tuesday. I wondered if Pickler, as one of Mosiello’s mentors, had ever said anything about, you know, blubbering in public?

Pickler did not flinch, explaining how player-coach relationships today are built on transparency and love, not by displaying a stone heart and acting like a horse’s behind. In the modern era, when mental health is as important as moving the runner over, college players want to know their coach can relate to all the “feels.”

It’s not like Mosiello channels Dr. Phil, but he understands pain and disappointment, having missed out on multiple college head coaching opportunities through the years. This will be his first time running a college program. He managed in the minor leagues but always had the MLB mothership dictating where and how much top prospects would play.

But it is Mosiello’s show at Ohio State, down to the last detail, which is taking some getting used to. Spying a row of mannequins displaying the Buckeyes baseball uniforms, Mosiello immediately decided which styles he liked (traditional) and which had to go (camouflage). He wondered if he had the authority to make changes, then realized that as head coach he not only has the right but also the responsibility to mold the program into his image.

And his image is all fast-twitch energy and authenticity that can be uncomfortable. For instance, teams he has helped coach, including TCU, where he spent the past nine seasons, are known for playing up-tempo – stealing bases is a priority if not an obsession – and living in the moment. 

He explained: “One thing my players will learn from day one when we talk about what’s the most important thing we will do in our program? The answer is … whatever we’re doing at the time is the most important thing. This press conference is the most important thing in Ohio State baseball, and then whatever they’re doing the next day, that’s the most important thing.”

You want tough love? This is the guy for you. 

“My players are going to see love they’ve never seen before,” he said. “They’re also going to see a standard that they’ve never seen before because the more you love somebody the more you care about them. And when you care about someone … you’re not letting them fail on your watch. And like I said, there’s a standard that you'll have to live up to, and it's not going to be easy. I guess some people call it tough love, but it’s real love.”

I hear a little of Sparky Anderson in those words. The former Cincinnati Reds manager was tough, but sensitive, and we all saw how his players responded. 

Mosiello saw it, too. Despite growing up in southern California, he rooted for the Big Red Machine, admiring how Anderson kept the big egos in check. He also admired how the Reds played the game, which is why he plans to show his players a video of how Pete Rose, Joe Morgan and even Johnny Bench expertly ran the bases.

The Buckeyes should not be surprised if their new coach gets emotional while watching the tape. Bring tissues.

roller@dispatch.com

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