After minor league career, Klosterman joins UCF as assistant
Published: Sunday, July 17, 2011
Updated: Sunday, July 17, 2011 17:07
Ryan Klosterman spent the past eight years chasing a dream, one that every UCF baseball player shares – the dream of becoming a Major League Baseball player.
That dream didn't pan out.
A former member of the Toronto Blue Jays and the Florida Marlins organizations, Klosterman is the newest assistant baseball coach on UCF's staff. He takes over as the infielders and defense coach.
"I was trying to make it to the major leagues and came up a little bit short," Klosterman said. "I played parts of three seasons in Triple-A, and for me, it was just a good time and transition into coaching and starting the next chapter in my life."
The coaching staff keeps changing, but one thing remains constant: the coaches all have the same goals and philosophies.
While head coach Terry Rooney and new hitting coach Joe Mercadante have both led teams to the College World Series, Klosterman brings a different perspective to the UCF baseball team.
The former Clemson and Vanderbilt shortstop played on two teams that qualified for super regionals. Though he missed out on Omaha twice, his skills helped push both teams a few steps further than the Knights have been.
"I just feel like the experiences that I had in college will help me working with them to motivate them and keep their eyes on the goal of reaching Omaha and putting in the work every day in order to achieve that goal," Klosterman said.
The Knights' former assistant, Jeff Palumbo, was named an assistant coach at Virginia Commonwealth University on July 13; Klosterman was named to UCF's staff on July 15.
"We talk about, ‘you want to bring in winners,'" Rooney said. "You want kids that are winners, and you also want to have a coaching staff that has been at the highest level of college baseball, and he brings all of that to the table."
Klosterman, a member of the All-Southeast Conference First Team as a junior at Vanderbilt, was a fifth-round pick in the 2004 Major League Baseball draft and most recently played at the Triple-A level for the New Orleans Zephyrs, an affiliate of the Florida Marlins.
Former assistant coach Cliff Godwin spent 2004-2005, the season following Klosterman's graduation, at Vanderbilt, and that sparked the initial contact between the Central Florida native and Rooney; Klosterman first met Rooney a few years ago when he worked at a holiday camp at UCF.
"Coach Klosterman will come in and work with our infielders and lead our team defense, and he'll also work hand-in-hand with Coach Mercadante and Coach [Brandon] Romans on our offense and our recruiting, so we're excited to have somebody with his background," Rooney said. "It's a unique perspective when you've got somebody who's played at the highest level of college baseball and played several years of professional baseball, so it's an outstanding situation."
Klosterman, who is spending time getting accustomed to the office and the administrative work that comes with coaching, has loved the game of baseball since he was very young. When the opportunity arose, he knew being a coach was the perfect way to continue his passion.
"In the past few years, I'll never forget being at that camp and talking to the campers and telling them the direction that this program was going to go, and chasing Omaha," Klosterman said. "And pretty much what [Rooney's] done here the past few years is unbelievable. His vision is finally coming together and the goal is attainable."
Following the Knights' first run to the NCAA Tournament since 2004, Rooney was named one of the top 20 collegiate baseball coaches of the year by Perfect Game USA on July 14. He's the only Conference USA coach on a list that includes the likes of national champion South Carolina's Ray Tanner and national runner-up Florida's Kevin O'Sullivan. The distinction is unimportant to UCF's skipper, though.
"The most important thing for me is that the program continues to grow and we continue to get better and better and closer and closer to our dream and goal of getting to Omaha," Rooney said.
Rooney also said that the Knights will name a new director of baseball operations this week.