Matt Talarico is a creative thinker.
That ability is fueled by many through his life path especially from his collegiate experience at then Manchester College. His zest for coaching comes from days spent learning baseball at Gratz Field with head coach Rick Espeset from 2004-07 while his thought process to develop a vital tool that helps college coaches in all divisions across the United States came from history professors Dr. Mark Angelos and the late Dr. Katherine Tinsley.
"My time at Manchester was influenced by many people," the second-year assistant coach at Wright State University said. "On the field, a player has such a different mindset. In regards to stolen bases, I just watched the pitcher and catcher and figured I could run off the catcher's arm. Coach Espeset showed me you have to look at it differently when you're teaching which is essentially what coaching is."
"The growth (in me) didn't just occur in baseball though … I grew as a student and person," he added. Drs. Angelos and Tinsley helped inspire my creative side of thinking. It helps me so much in coaching. As an example, I did not know it at the time, but an independent study course with Dr. Tinsley proved to strengthen my creative side. You do not see the opportunities that came out of that course at many colleges or universities any more as things are pretty structured. I really appreciated the ability to create something on my own."
Through opportunities like the ones received in North Manchester, a college baseball coaching career that has seen stops at Division III power Heidelberg University and Division I programs Toledo, Dayton and Wright State was born. During his 10 years in the alumni world, Talarico has used his creativity to develop an innovative web site called StealBases.com which revolutionizing the game.
"I started the web site a year ago," he said. "It's a fun thing to do and helps a lot of coaches from all levels of baseball. Among my clientele are top 10 programs from across the college landscape."
"It's an instructional site," he continued. "I sell keys to it where programs can unlock a system that I started during my second year of coaching. I have always liked the stolen base whether playing or coaching. There isn't a lot of time spent on it in programs, as the baseline thought is you either have the ability or you don't. I wanted to change that due to be really, really invested in (the stolen base game) by way of having some great teams in stolen bases at Dayton which was a product of that work. It's evolved even further at Wright St."
Talarico's system comes from teaching techniques at first, second and third base as well as handling people who handle base runners. "I felt this program could save time in that process," he noted. "It's about teaching weapons. As an example, all starters but one in one of our recent line-ups had at least double-digits in steals with two people who had 15-or-more and one person with 33 … the whole team steals. You can put so much pressure on the opposition by learning the weapons in the program. As a coach you look it at like if we face this many pitchers, we might only be able to steal on 10 of them, but that is still 10 stolen bases. There is a good opportunity for success. It's a trial and error philosophy on teaching guys how to play the game which includes the stolen base."
The program has seen proven results. Seven of nine seasons Talarico has coached indicate strong stolen base numbers no matter where he has been which includes ranking second in Division I as a team this season due to Raiders' standout Zach Weatherford swiping 36, a new school record, which put him third in the nation. "The opportunities from StealBases.com don't end with coaching in my career," he added. "It gives me the chance to continue to develop and foster my creative side presenting at the national coaches convention and many other places while still learning other options."
While he enjoys his current life status, Talarico admits the future could be exciting.
"I'm still putting on a uniform for work which means it isn't work (to me)," he admitted. "This game has allowed me to have great relationships with players and coaches and grow professionally in a great area like Wright State. I am able to develop players, which is why I got into coaching and teaching. It's the life I want to have."
All the while working through and building on his creative juices, which Manchester University helped grow.