Things will be different with the N.C. A&T baseball team in 2011-2012:New coach/new approach, but Love is still in the air on the East Market Street campus

From the N.C. A&T athletics site from earlier this month and I thought it would be a good idea to bring the release over here, so you could see for yourself, what is being said about the moves, within the Aggies’ baseball program….Long live Al Holland the history of the A&T baseball teams……..(I always thought Al pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but I heard the other day, that he pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies too, in key relief situations…….I remember Jim Bibby with the Bucs, but I thought Al Holland had a stop/stopper’s stint, with Pittsburgh too….)

The N.C. A&T baseball news…..We had this news here at the site over 8 weeks ago, but we wanted to share this official release with you, our readers…….

GREENSBORO, N.C.- North Carolina A&T Director of Athletics Earl Hilton announced the appointment of Joel Sanchez to be the new head baseball coach. Sanchez joins the Aggie family with extensive coaching and playing experience on the collegiate and professional levels.

“Coach Sanchez has what I call ‘championship experience,'” said Hilton. “He spent numerous years learning what it takes to win championships on a consistent basis. We are excited about blending his winning knowhow with what we believe is already an outstanding baseball program.”

Prior to joining N.C.A&T, Sanchez held the assistant baseball coaching position at Daytona State College for one season in 2011.

The bulk of Sanchez’s coaching success came during his eight seasons (2001-08) at Bethune-Cookman University, where he served as the head assistant under ­Mervyl Melendez. During his stint at B-CU, the Wildcats earned seven MEAC Championships, and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Regional each time.

Sanchez’s coaching experience is not limited to college baseball. He served as the minor league pitching coach for the Gulf Coast League Nationals, the rookie-level minor league affiliate of the Washington Nationals in 2010; and the Vermont Lake Monsters, the short-season level-A affiliate of the Nationals in 2009. He was responsible pitching staff of each team.

As a player, Sanchez played professionally with the Ciudad Juarez of Chihuahua, Mexico from 1997-1999. He was a two-year letterman at New Mexico State University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1998.

Sanchez replaces Keith Shumate, who resigned in July after 15 seasons with the Aggies. Austin Love will remain as an assistant for the program.

“I’m excited about getting to work, and getting back on the field,” said Sanchez. “We’ve got a good group of players returning, and I think we’ve got some new guys that will also be contributors. Coach Shumate and coach Love have done an outstanding job with putting together quality teams in the past, and I think the same of this group. I know this group is ready to compete for the MEAC Championship right away. It’s time to implement the plan and get to work.”

CLICK HERE to visit the N.C. A&T site……

The Al Holland story from

Alfred Willis Holland (born August 16, 1952 in Roanoke, Virginia) is a former Major League Baseball relief pitcher who mostly pitched in the Major Leagues from 1980 to 1986 (as well as a few games in 1977, 1979 and 1987).

Holland finished seventh in the National League Rookie of the Year voting for 1980 but his best season was with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1983 when he won the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award and TSN Fireman of the Year Award while finishing in the top ten in voting for both the Cy Young Award and National League MVP. He then saved Game 1 of the 1983 National League Championship Series, and struck out three batters in two innings to finish Game 4, clinching the pennant for the Phillies. He also saved Game 1 of the 1983 World Series. In Game 3 of the World Series, Holland was pitching in the seventh inning when an error allowed the go-ahead run to score. Although Holland struck out four batters in the eighth and ninth innings, he and the Phillies still lost in the last postseason game of his career. They then lost Games 4 and 5 as well to give the Baltimore Orioles the championship.

In 1984, Holland was selected to his only All-Star Game but did not play. The following year, he was traded twice and then hit a low point by being called to testify at the scandalous Pittsburgh drug trials. After admitting to cocaine abuse, he was suspended for sixty days of the 1986 season.

Holland’s and ten other players’ suspensions were reduced to anti-drug donations and community service but Holland’s career was nearly at an end. He was signed as a free agent by the New York Yankees, released by the Yankees, re-signed by the Yankees and then re-released by the Yankees — all in 1986 alone. The Yankees signed him for the third time in 1987 but, after three games, his ERA was at a terrible 14.21. Holland was re-re-released by the Yankees after the season and his major league career was over.

In 1989, the age 35-and-older Senior Professional Baseball Association began operation in Florida and Holland was a member of both the St. Petersburg Pelicans and St. Lucie Legends. The league folded in December 1990. Since then, Holland has spent time as a minor league pitching coach, most recently for the Rookie-level Appalachian League’s Johnson City Cardinals.

*****Al did play/pitch for the Pirates and the Phillies and even the Yankees and the SF Giants and a few other teams on the MLB level….*****