College baseball coaches with UMF ties make their mark in Division I programs
It wasn’t just the potential for immediate playing time that convinced Tyler Hanson to join the University of Maine Farmington baseball team in 2006, even though it was part of the assistant coach’s selling pitch. Edwin Thompson. More important, Hanson recalls, was Thompson’s enthusiasm, his joy of baseball. This captivated Hanson, who at the time was a senior at Sanford High School. The passion for baseball shown by Thompson and UMF head coach Dick Meader was infectious and launched Hanson into a career in the game.
“Just (Thompson’s) energy,” Hanson said. “Every time we talked on the phone or I saw him, he had so much energy.”
Baseball took Thompson and Hanson away from Farmington and away from Maine. Thompson is now the head baseball coach at Georgetown University in Washington, DC Hanson is now an assistant coach at Virginia Tech.
The old friends will face off Wednesday night, when Georgetown plays Virginia Tech in a non-conference game.
“It’s a pretty cool game. I wanted our kids, in a short season, to play against a top-30 program (Virginia Tech was ranked in the d1baseball.com poll this spring). They’re very successful and (Hanson) is a big part of that,” said Thompson, a Jay native. “We will take all the photos before the game, so we are all happy.”
By the time Hanson ended his playing career at UMF in 2009 as the team’s starting catcher, Thompson had become a coach at Bates College. As his playing career drew to a close, Hanson knew he wanted to stay in the game as a coach.
“The passion and love that I saw Coach Meader and Coach Thompson had for the game inspired me,” Hanson said.
Thompson brought Hanson to Bates as an assistant baseball and football coach.
“He was a quarterback in high school, point guard, all that stuff. He had leadership qualities,” Thompson said. “Guys gravitated towards him. He was a student of the game.”
“When I became a coach, I didn’t know much. Teaching (baseball) players and finding ways to connect with them, I had no idea,” Hanson added. “(Thompson) kind of taught me, you have to teach these players more than baseball.”
After two seasons at Bates, Thompson took an assistant coaching position with Duke in Durham, North Carolina. When another position on the coaching staff opened up, Thompson recommended Hanson, and the two reunited for the 2011 season with the Blue Devils. Hanson then moved through Durham to coach at North Carolina Central.
Thompson moved from Duke to Georgia State, where he coached for three seasons before becoming head coach at Eastern Kentucky in 2016. Thompson knew there was a place on his coaching staff for Hanson.
“When I got the job at Eastern Kentucky, he was the first person I called,” Thompson said.
Hanson stayed with Thompson in Eastern Kentucky through the 2018 season, before moving to Virginia Tech. Georgetown hired Thompson last fall. Hanson coached college baseball for 10 seasons, five of them with Thompson. When he thinks about what he learned from Thompson, Hanson cited “work ethic.”
“You have to put in the work and the time, and Coach Thompson does that,” Hanson said.
Thompson is happy to see Hanson carve out a successful coaching career.
“I’m proud of him. I’m proud to help grow the game of baseball in any way I can, like Coach Meader did for me,” Thompson said.
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