Eddie McKiernan Promoted to Titans’ Director of Player Development

by Jim Stewart

Titans 16U Head Coach Eddie McKiernan added a layer of responsibility to his organizational workload this week.  The 33-year old from Monrovia, California was promoted to Director of Player Development by Titans’ Director of Baseball Operations Lawrence Vera.  Vera explained his decision to divest himself of the role and promote his current 16U Head Coach and Pitching Coordinator:  “Eddie has been moved into this role because we believe that his knowledge, connections, and love of developing young athletes will push the Titans’ development to the next level.”  Vera also believes that “Eddie has many qualities that will help him excel in the role but the number one thing that he brings to the table is this:   he wants to maximize every single player’s individual talents. Eddie will be taking on all aspects of player development.”

 It’s evident that Eddie McKiernan wants all Titans players to “play the game the right way” and believes the Titans are well on the way to this goal.  The former California Athlete of the Year believes there is much to build on as Director of Player Development:  “Our coaching staff is dedicated to the boys.  I really like the culture that Lawrence has created—the family atmosphere is really important to me.  Most importantly, this group of young men is a fun group to work with and the players are receptive to playing the game the right way.”  When asked how he expects to teach “The Right Way”, the former high school shortstop and LA Angels AAA pitcher elaborated:  “All players are expected to be detailed in their craft in all aspects of their game.  They are also expected to put in hours and hours of hard work to be successful.”  McKiernan, who grew up north of Los Angeles in the baseball hotbed of Southern California, also expects all Titans to “control their emotions on the ball diamond to ensure optimal performance” and expects all coaching staff to “lead by example—to be a good role model for our kids in the program.”

The Titans’ new Director of Player Development believes that the organization must continue to “put our kids first and to inspire loyalty from our coaching staff.”  McKiernan delineated four ways that he will develop Titans players with the coaching staff:  “Firstly, the structure and content of our practices need to make the most of our time on the field.  Secondly, we need to get our players ready for the next level on and off the field—we need to inculcate readiness for the next level of play.  Thirdly, we need to play the game the right way and part of that is to expand the College Trip to 14 days in October so our players have even more opportunities to showcase their talents and readiness.  Fourthly, we need to cut our players’ distractions on the field so they’re ready to play in front of 10,000 spectators at a college field in the United States.”  Also in the works will be a College Trip to California in the next 12-18 months that McKiernan will coordinate with his contacts in The Golden State. 

Coach McKiernan attributed his personal success as an MLB draft and an outstanding high school coach to a number of influential figures. He singled out four coaches who taught him to play baseball the right way during his various stages of development as a ballplayer in California and Arizona.

  • Dan Ricabal—coach at Long Beach State, Cal State Fullerton, and Cerritos College.  The All-American pitcher and free agent with the LA Dodgers in 1994 was a pitching coach with the LA Angels for 9 years who influenced Eddie not only as a pitcher in the LA Angels system but also provided him with “a vision for developing programs” and “teaching kids how to win”.

  • Mike Guzman—JUCO Coach for 20 years with whom Eddie coached high school baseball in California. Coach Guzman insisted on “building a culture based on a winning brand of baseball”.  Guzman did the “real coaching” in JUCO and developed hundreds of players for the next level. McKiernan believes that Guzman is a great model for coaches to emulate because he taught the game so well at the Junior College level.

  • Mike Scioscia, 2002 World Series Champion Manager of the LA Angels and the skipper of the Halos from 2000-2018, and Mike Butcher, Scioscia’s pitching coach, influenced Eddie’s approach to pitching as a minor leaguer in the LA Angels’ Cactus League camps in Tempe, Arizona.  Both Scioscia and Butcher taught McKiernan “how to take care of his players” to maximize their performance.  These lessons—gleaned from Major League Baseball Spring Training experiences as a pitching prospect in the Angels system—were taught by Major League coaches who demonstrated empathy and support for all players attending camps.  

Eddie McKiernan brings these outstanding American baseball experiences to the Titans Baseball Club as its Director of Player Development, 16U Head Coach, and Pitching Coordinator.  “Inculcating readiness for the next level” is most certainly Coach McKiernan’s goal for all Titans players as they embark on the new CPBL season. Congratulations, Coach McKiernan, on your promotion to Director of Player Development.  The Titans’ community looks forward to your impact in this influential role.