Sports

New coach focuses on recruits

Baseball coach Ryan Wheeler seeks to expand recruiting.
Baseball has always been a way of life for Ryan Wheeler who is entering his first year as coach for the Owls. Temple’s program is no exception.…

Baseball coach Ryan Wheeler seeks to expand recruiting.

Baseball has always been a way of life for Ryan Wheeler who is entering his first year as coach for the Owls. Temple’s program is no exception.

Temple baseball has had a rich tradition of success and Wheeler said he hopes to bring this success back to the program.

Wheeler grew up in Souderton, Pa. and followed Temple baseball growing up. After being an assistant coach at Richmond, Wheeler was offered the job as the Owls’ coach.

“I had the opportunity to come home, join a recognizable program with a great academic system, as well as join a historic program,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler said transitioning into large urban city has been the hardest part for him.

“I knew what I was getting myself into with the challenges of a large urban city,” Wheeler said. “I have had tremendous [help] from some very supportive people here.”

Wheeler played American Legion baseball for Souderton Area High School, the same high school that produced Major League Baseball pitching star Jamie Moyer. As a shortstop for Souderton, Wheeler played for Moyer’s father in 1988 and 1989.

After high school, Wheeler attended Penn State and continued his baseball career, playing in a school-record 184 consecutive games. Joe Hindelong, an alumnus, coached Wheeler at Penn State.

Once his time was up at Penn State, Wheeler was drafted by the then California Angels in the 31st round of the 1994 MLB draft. He played for the Boise Hawks, a minor league team of the Angels and shortly after felt like his time had come.

“My future in professional baseball was distant and I was just beginning to realize it at this time,” Wheeler said.

“I had never considered coaching,” Wheeler added. “It kind of just happened and I love it.”

In recent years, Wheeler has worked his way to becoming a veteran coach with 15 years of coaching experience at the Division I level.

“I always wanted to coach at the Division I level and when the opportunity came to coach at Temple I could not pass it up,” Wheeler said. “The key to being a good coach is to get good players.”

Many of the Owls’ players come from the immediate surrounding areas, mainly from Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

“I want to expand the scouting for Temple,” Wheeler said. “I have gotten emails from kids in Texas and Florida expressing interest in Temple. It is exciting to see that.”

As far as the Fall 2011 season for the Owls, Wheeler has been very impressed with what he has seen.

“I could not ask for a better group of guys,” Wheeler said. “They go out there and bust their tails off, getting better each day.”

Continuing to plan for the regular season is key for Wheeler, as he wants his players to do the right thing not only on the field, but off the field as well.

“The whole team likes him. I believe he will turn things around here,” senior outfielder Jabair Khan said. “We are a better all around team and I believe we will surprise some people this year.”

“I want to change the culture of Temple baseball,” Wheeler added. “Instead of the players waiting to lose, I want them to learn to win again. I will continue to teach the fundamentals of the game, and we will be successful.”

John Murrow can be reached at john.murrow@temple.edu.

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