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Conversations with College Coaches: Rock Valley College

Baseball Factory is privileged to work with programs from every level of college baseball. We strive to educate and guide our players when it comes to choosing the right school. The more information a player knows about a school, coach and program, the better. Recently,Dan Mooney went one-on-one with Kevin Vest, the head coach at Rock Valley College (RVC). RVC is a junior college and participate at the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) Division III level in the N4C (North Central Community College Conference). 

1. How long have you been coaching? How long at you current college or university? 
I have been coaching at the college level since 1999 and am currently preparing to begin my 3rd year at Rock Valley College.

2. Who are some of your mentors or coaches that you look up to? 
I have had the opportunity to work under people such as Ed Puck, Jami Isaacson and Steve Torricielli as an assistant and have taken something away from all of those experiences. The late Dan Callahan (former Southern Illinois University head coach) was a person who taught me a great deal and treated me like I belonged in this business from the time I started.  I have always appreciated the guys at the University of Illinois, starting with Itch Jones and now Dan Hartleb, in how they go about their business and represent their program.

3. What is the first thing about your school and program that you’d want a recruit to know about? 
That we will develop our student-athletes on and off the field and prepare them to be successful on and off the field.  We take particular interest and invest a lot of time in ensuring that we do everything we can to mentor them in the skills that will help them be successful when their playing careers are over.

4. What qualities do you look for in a prospect on the field? Off the field? 
On the field we enjoy athletic individuals who bring a positive approach to the field every day and play the game as hard as they can every pitch.  Of the field we look for student-athletes who are dedicated to representing our institution in a positive manner. 

5. How has video helped your recruiting? 
Video has helped us by being able to get an initial evaluation of prospects without ever leaving the office.  Obviously we want to get eyes on our recruits as much as possible but video can give us an idea if the individual is somebody we should be pursuing.  We also use video a great deal in moving our players on to four-year programs.  It provides us with an opportunity to get our guys in front of coaches all over the country.

6. Can you break down your fall practice schedule? What will you try to accomplish? 
One of the joys of coaching at the junior college level is the amount of time we get to spend with our guys in the fall season.  Our fall is a mixture of trying to refine mechanics and getting a lot of repetitions along with putting guys in game situations on allowing them to learn the game while playing.  We can do this through intrasquads and outside competitions.  We tend to see a great deal of progression in our guys  during the fall and is a very valuable asset for us at the junior college level.

7. Do you have a strength and conditioning coach? 
We do not have a dedicated strength and conditioning coach but are fortunate to have some exercise science faculty who are former college athletes and have been resourceful in designing individualized strength and conditioning programs for our players.

8. Anything planned for your facilities (upgrades, changes, etc.)? 
Our indoor facility underwent a $13 million renovation about two years ago and our outdoor facility is less than ten years old.  We are constantly working to improve our facilities but do not have any major projects planned at this point.

9. Is there anything you would like to add about your assistant coaches, recruits, parents, or program that we have not asked you about?

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