PDC Hurricanes welcome new baseball coach
Published 6:10 pm Friday, July 5, 2019
Daniel W. Rollins has been named the new baseball coach of the PDC Hurricanes following the spring departure of David Mitchell, who has gone to Isle of Wight Academy.
Rollins brings more than enough experience to the game. Just a few of the many examples:
• For the past two years, he had been coaching at Bryant & Stratton College, one of the Hurricanes’ opponents of their first two seasons. Previous to that, there had been five years work as an associate scout for the Cincinnati Reds, and doing the same for the Atlanta Braves.
• Rollins was an assistant coach for Randolph-Macon College, where he himself had played college baseball and graduated in ’09 with a degree in political science. He’s credited with helping coach the R-MC Yellow Jackets to a 2011 Old Dominion Athletic Conference Championship and NCAA Regional appearance.
• Over two summers, Rollins coached the New Market Rebels as pitching coach in the renown Valley Baseball League. Both seasons, he helped lead his staffs to top five finishes in team ERA. He coached five players that have gone on to play professional baseball while in New Market.
As would be expected, there once was an ambition to go professional, but an injury sustained at R-MC was evidently severe enough to cancel such a plan. But Rollins has been more than consoled with his career.
“I knew I understood the game and I could teach it,” said the 32-year-old. “It’s truly a calling. I can impact people in a positive way.”
Carrie Hoeft, who is both the athletic director and head softball coach for Camp Community College, said the choice to lead the baseball team was from a pool of about 20 candidates and comes highly recommended.
She’s especially pleased with not only his extensive resume´, but also his enthusiasm, which helped him to stand out from the others.
That enthusiasm, that passion to play — and ultimately coach — has familial sources.
“I started when I was 5 years old,” he said. “Both my parents had a lot going on [with work.] My grandmother — Gertrude “MeMe” Rollins — watched a lot of baseball and we’d play catch. She would throw me ground ball after ground ball after ground ball.
“She’s someone very special to me. We’re still very close.
His parents, Diana and the late Tony Rollins, were also supportive.
“I never went without new equipment,” Rollins said. “They traveled around with me. I can’t remember a game he missed. He was always there for me. He helped me become a good person, husband and father to my 3-year-old, Riley Ann.”
The Hartfield, Virginia, native said he also wanted to give a shout-out to two other men.
“Ray Hedrick, the head baseball coach at Randolph-Macon College, was extremely influential on my career. I owe that man a lot! Him and Lucas Jones, the head coach at The University of Lynchburg.”
Recruiting never stops when it comes to finding qualified players for baseball or, really, any sport. So already Rollins has been searching. He’s already planning for community clinics, and particularly hoping for more local recruits this year.
“We can’t let a kid slip away that can help this program,” he said. There will be a travel tournament on July 13-14 and 27-28.
Three showcase events are also scheduled for this summer, according to Hoeft.
As mentioned earlier, Rollins himself is a family man. His wife, Leslie, is an assistant professor of psychology at Christopher Newport University. For now, the couple and their daughter reside in Newport News, and are looking to buy a house a year from now.
Speaking of which, he’s looking to make the college position his career base.
“This is not a stepping-stone job for me,” said Rollins. “I want to wear the blue and yellow for a long time. I have ambitions to have success here. I am building on a good reputation and want to make it stronger. I know I can get the guys excited about where we can go.”