'You're buying this dream': Bill Mosiello sells new era of Ohio State baseball
Bill Mosiello’s resume fills the walls of his office at Bill Davis Stadium.
The new Ohio State baseball coach is still moving in, sitting behind a desk of papers and notebooks and a pencil holder of a “Mosiello” baseball jersey made by one of his sons when he was much younger.
Mosiello’s past hangs above the door to the conference room: jerseys from previous stops as an assistant coach at TCU and with USA Baseball. But his credibility is what’s behind his desk. To his right hang Mike Trout and Todd Helton jerseys, to his left, pictures with Trout and numerous other players he’s coached.
Mosiello is the first to admit that none of the more than 90 Major League Baseball players he’s coached made it to the big leagues because of him. But he knows how they act. He knows what they look like, and he knows what his players can emulate.
That’s his selling point. It’s why Mosiello is at Ohio State in the first place, seeing potential from afar. He knows the power of the Buckeyes brand and how it could lead to the same consistent greatness he’s seen in his past that his current program has never seen before.
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At this point, though, it’s all talk. And right now, holding onto the opportunity to build Ohio State into the program he sees that potential in, talk is all Mosiello has.
“I’ve been a used car salesman now for the last few months, which I hate being,” Mosiello said. “I’m a guy that usually says ‘Show me, don’t tell me. Don’t talk about it, be about it.’ ”
Mason Eckelman buys into Bill Mosiello's rebuild
It’s a pitch Mason Eckelman already thought he had heard once.
Ohio State reached out to him the summer before his freshman season at Walsh Jesuit High School in Cuyahoga Falls. It was a Buckeyes baseball program he was already familiar with. His father Alex Eckelman was a two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection for, winning two Big Ten regular season championships in 1994 and 1995.
It was a pitch that never clicked for Mason Eckelman, who was instead swayed by the Buckeyes’ rival Michigan, joining coach Erik Bakich’s 2023 recruiting class.
“Just the things they preached about working hard, always having your teammates' backs and building a family within your program,” Eckelman said. “Them just being able to trust me, it was all very attractive to me looking for a school.”
But when Bakich and his staff left for Clemson after the 2022 season, Eckelman reopened his recruitment, knowing what he wanted out of a college program: one that focused on a player’s development both on and off the field.
And he saw that potential in Mosiello, who was in constant contact with the catcher and third baseman, letting him know they were supportive and there for him all through his second round of the recruiting process.
Eckelman said he wasn’t looking for the big college names, but he knew what he wanted, leading him back in the direction of where his father played college baseball. He is now part of Mosiello's 2023 class.
“They are looking forward to rebuilding this program and making it one of the national contenders,” Eckelman said. “That was exciting for me. You can just tell from the way they pitched it to me that it’s really exciting for them and it’s something that really motivates them and they really want to have success.”
'If they don’t want to win, I don’t want them coming here'
Mosiello’s pitch stems from what he knows Ohio State baseball could look like.
He knows what kinds of players he needs, knowing that college baseball is a pretty equal playing field where a changed system and a higher standard can completely flip expectations.
But Mosiello couldn’t tell recruits what he used to tell them as TCU's assistant coach.
“The last X amount of years for me, whenever I recruited kids, we would talk about going to Omaha and winning a national championship,” Mosiello said. “Here, I don’t know if that’s what’s been talked about. I don’t know why you have (chosen) Ohio State to go to Omaha when they haven’t been there since 1967.”
Mosiello knew he couldn’t use the Buckeyes’ last season as a selling point to join the program, saying he was alarmed by the poor pitching and poor defense that led the Ohio State’s 11th-place finish in the Big Ten.
For Mosiello, it starts with Ohio State as a brand, one he fell in love with from afar and made him buy into the athletic department’s pitch to him of being the person to turn it around. But he quickly turns to the staff he’s assembled − what they have done to give an idea for recruits of what he hopes the Buckeyes will become.
“I had to tell people they are buying the dream that I’m selling them,” Mosiello said. “So when you commit here, you’re buying this dream. … You’re buying the coaching staff and we’re going to develop you just like we have developed guys in the past. Winning’s a huge part. If they don’t want to win, I don’t want them coming here.”
In-state players sold by Bill Mosiello's pitch
Ben Schechterman was already sold on Ohio State.
As soon as he was contacted by coach Greg Beals and the former Buckeyes’ coaching staff, the 2023 outfielder and left-handed pitcher out of Aurora bought into the message of what they saw from him and what he could do.
“Ohio State really just recognized what I am as a player and what I bring to the table,” said Schechterman, who committed to the Buckeyes in February.
When Beals and his staff were let go in May, Schechterman said he was nervous. But the was contacted by Mosiello a few weeks after he was hired to make sure he still wanted to be a Buckeye.
“What stood out to me was the passion coach Mo had, the mindset he had for the future of the program,” Schechterman said. “It truly motivated me and inspired me to stick with it.”
Outfielder and first baseman Michael Ciavolella, out of Akron, was one of the first 2024 players Mosiello and his staff contacted when the program’s new co-pitching coach and recruiting coordinator, Andrew See, connected him with the Buckeyes.
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Without a timeframe of when he wanted to commit, Ciavolella felt at home when he first talked with Mosiello, buying in and committing to the Buckeyes almost immediately.
“He said he felt like I was a better person than I am (a) player,” Ciavolella said. “And I like to think so, too. Not many coaches have said that to me. He said that I have great potential and he would love to see what I could do in the future.”
Ohio State baseball's rebuild starts immediately
Mosiello knows the focus is on the future. But he also admitted how impatient he can be.
From the moment he signed his contract to become Ohio State’s baseball coach, he didn’t have a timeline. He said he doesn’t have three years to wait for success.
It was the message he gave to returning players the day after Ohio State announced his hiring.
“It wouldn’t be fair to my older guys if in three years, when I get my players, that’s when we start being Ohio State baseball,” Mosiello said. “Once they decided to start here and I became their coach, they are my players. There’s no wait and see.”
When Marcus Ernst, a fifth-year infielder for the Buckeyes, first met Mosiello in person, it’s what they talked about.
Ernst was convinced, buying into Mosiello’s expectation for greatness, being reassured that his final year with the program was not going to be approached as a rebuilding campaign − that he and the new coaching staff approach the incoming 2023 season with the sense of urgency to win now.
“As a fifth-year senior, this is my last year,” Ernst said. “So knowing that I want to win this year, and hearing him say that was just really reassuring and it really helped me solidify my decision to stay here.”
Mosiello said there is a core group of Ohio State players that can bring success in his first season with the program. His job, he said, it to change the way the program thinks with a group of players who have totally bought in, but have yet to see the on-field success Mosiello is used to.
Ernst wants to be at the center of that change.
“This senior group, we want to be the ones that kind of set the foundation for this new program, this new culture that coach Mo is building,” Ernst said. “We want to be the ones to kick things off on the right foot.”
'I don't do anything halfway'
Mosiello said he feels he’s been drinking through a fire hose ever since he arrived in Columbus.
He remembers moments where sitting at his new desk felt surreal, that this is what he’s been waiting for through his nearly 30 years of experience. But then there are moments it feels all too much, where he’s not sure what he’s gotten himself into.
“I don’t know how to do anything halfway,” Mosiello said. “Yeah, it’s been really hard. That’s the challenge. And there’s times that I don’t know if I’ll ever get my feet under me, you know?”
Mosiello lives in Columbus by himself, making the move while his family still lives in Texas: his wife Janelle, along with his sons Shane and Gehrig, who each played for him at TCU, and his son Helton, named after the Colorado Rockies first baseman, who's gravitated toward golf in high school.
It was a family decision, Mosiello said, remaining grounded in his faith and his "rock star" of a wife. but he admits it’s his nightmare.
“My life’s still upside down because my family’s not with me,” he said. “That’s a crusher for me. I’ve worked my whole life to be with my family and raise my three boys, and I’m not with them.”
But to Mosiello, taking over Ohio State baseball has taken everything. He’s arriving to his office at 5:30 a.m. and leaving at 10:30 p.m. There’s not a moment he’s resting, knowing the expectations he has for the program, knowing what he gave up at TCU to have the chance to turn the Buckeyes around.
Are his expectations realistic? Maybe not, but it’s not something Mosiello is willing to give up. He describes himself as a “heart and soul” kind of guy. And in his first season at Ohio State, he’s giving everything.
In his first season at Ohio State, nothing is off the table.
“My expectations are higher than anybody,” Mosiello said. “When we fail at times, like we will, you can't tell me because I want it way more than you do. I expect you to win way more than you could ever dreamt us to win. You can never out-exceed my expectations.
“I’m not willing to give a day. I’m not willing to tell you that we can’t get to Omaha this year.”