Marmion recently hired Frank Chapman as its new baseball coach. Chapman takes over for Dave Rakow, who was in charge of the Cadets baseball program the past 10 years. The first-year coach will have a talented group, but a challenging season awaits as Marmion recently joined the Chicago Catholic League. Chapman, a Geneva graduate, caught up with Kane County Chronicle sports reporter Chris Casey for the latest edition of the Weekend Chit-chat to discuss his excitement about taking over at Marmion and his plans as coach. Here’s an edited transcript:
Talk a little about your excitement getting this opportunity.
It’s a great opportunity to get back to Marmion. I was an assistant coach there in 2011. From how special the place is and to what the monks do to the academics and commitment to the athletic program and phenomenal facilities, it felt like home and where I wanted to be.
What was it about this position that excited you?
It’s been my goal ever since leaving in 2011 to get back to Marmion and take over that program one day. I’m extremely happy and very thankful to everyone who helped in giving me this opportunity.
I know you just took over, but how much do you know about the group you’ll be coaching?
Well, coach Rakow did a phenomenal job. There were several Division I talents that came from his teams. I helped him this summer with camps and there is a lot of talent coming back. There is a good, core group that’s hungry and excited to get out there. Moving over to the Chicago Catholic League, it’s an exciting time for this program.
Talk about joining the Chicago Catholic League.
It’s the best baseball league in the state, in my opinion. You see D-I talent day in and day out. You look at the Class 3A and 4A teams that have gone down state or who have won state, and you can get that there are a few, if not several teams from the CCL. As a coach and as a player, you are excited to get into a conference like that.
How difficult will it be with this year being the school’s first year as a member of the CCL?
It’s going to be tough, there’s no doubt. But we want to play the best talent out there. Teams like St. Rita, Providence Catholic. ... As a player, you want to play the best players, and as a coach, I’m excited to coach against the best coaches out there. If you want to go to the next level and create and establish a recognized, hard-nosed program, you have to play those teams.
What kind of plans do you have from now until you get going in the spring?
The big thing is the weight room. Having been in other programs (most recently Freeport), as well as spending some time coaching in Las Vegas, where they play baseball year-round, the difference is time spent in the weight room. With the kids we are going to see in the CCL every day, that’s very important. But also building that camaraderie, as well as getting that physical edge will put us where we want to be.