The Wright State baseball team has experienced continued success under head coach Alex Sogard, winning the Horizon League and appearing in the NCAA regional tournament the last two seasons. The Raiders have never appeared in three consecutive NCAA tournaments—so that is the team’s motivation for the 2023 season.
“We’ve been a success the last seven years, beating Power Five teams and Big Ten schools, and bigger schools we don’t normally compete with at the same level,” said Sogard, who was named head coach in 2018 after being an assistant coach for two years.
Sogard, who pitched for Oregon State University and North Carolina State University, said one of the big selling points in his coming to Wright State was the family atmosphere he felt. Sogard said he fully embraces the athletic department’s P.S.A. (People, Students, Athletes) culture.
“The ability to do this [P.S.A. culture] with a smaller school is because we can focus on the person more,” Sogard said. “At bigger schools, you can get lost in the shuffle. Here there’s a more personal connection.”
One thing Sogard does with the team is to have one-on-one meetings with the 35 players every week. The meetings are about baseball, but Sogard said they also talk about anything relating to the athletes’ lives and classes.
“I get to know them better,” Sogard said. “Transfers said they had no conversations with head coaches. We want them to feel like they have a connection with us and that we get to know them on a personal basis.”
Sogard said he likes getting to know the students in these meetings, but there’s another benefit. Knowing a student-athlete personally will make an impact on how to coach them. Sogard also promotes team-building exercises, including physical and mental competitions. These competitions help with team bonding.
“As far as just connecting with players, our coaching staff tries to make that a priority,” he said. “It’s more of a big brother relationship. Our guys are comfortable. The guys give coaches a hard time because they are comfortable, and they will play better if they’re comfortable.”
This article was originally published in the spring 2023 issue of the Wright State Magazine. Read more stories at wright.edu/magazine.