Q: What got you interested in sports, specifically baseball?
McDonnell: “I had an older brother who coached me in all sports. In New York with the change of seasons came a change of sports. In the spring, you play baseball in New York.”
Q: What players did you love to watch growing up?
McDonnell: “Being a Yankees fan I like Ron Guidry, Willie Randolph, and Don Mattingly. As a Knicks fan I liked Bernard King, and as a Giants fan I liked Phil Sims and Lawrence Taylor. But my inspiration was Doug Flutie because of his size.”
Q: What has changed in the game today from when you played?
McDonnell: “Kids today are more prepared for college playing AAU baseball while in high school from a sense of traveling, staying in hotels, and being in different parts of the country. When I played in high school it was all Regional and legion ball. Going to college was huge adjustment.”
Q: As a Christian, what do you do to minister to your players?
McDonnell: “They know I'm a sinner. I admit when I screw up and apologize to them. I want them to see my humility. I want them to see how I treat my wife and my boys and how I treat strangers or fans. Being a Christian is about love and serving and I want them to know that’s where my heart is.”
Q: You experienced a tough season-ending loss last year that kept you from going to the CWS. How did you personally overcome the loss, and what did you tell your players after the game?
McDonnell: “I had been praying to God for wisdom, but it’s always prayers hoping to make the right calls. I didn't realize that wisdom would show up in how I handled the loss. I told the kids I will do my best to be a better coach. That this program will reap the benefits of that tough loss. The hope is that we look back after winning a National Championship as that time we grew from a setback.”
Q: What Bible verse has impacted your coaching career the most?
McDonnell: “There are a few, but the main one is Jeremiah 29:11-" For I know the plans I have for you' declares the Lord, 'plans for your welfare, not for disaster but to give you a future and a hope". Need to trust His plan.”
Dan McDonnell has coached the baseball team at Louisville since 2007. In that time he has taken his teams to 3 College World Series and made the NCAA Tournament 8 out of his 9 seasons. He was named the 2015 ACC Coach of the Year. McDonnell also went to the College World Series as a player in 1990 with The Citadel.