Georgetown University baseball coach Edwin Thompson, a Jay native, points to the field in a recent game against Virginia Commonwealth University. Rafael Suanes photo

Edwin Thompson started a new job with the challenge of having less than two weeks to prepare the Georgetown University baseball team for the 2021 season.

“We had no fall practice,” the Hoyas’ first-year coach said. “I got hired in September and I didn’t meet the kids until March 27. That means they had no practice, either. It’s been, needless to say, different, (with) obviously, COVID-19 challenges.

“It was different, but it has been awesome. I mean Georgetown is a special place and I am really fortunate to be the head coach — and I am excited to be leading the team more than anything.”

A LOT TO LIKE ABOUT THE HOYAS

Thompson points out that the Georgetown campus in Washington, D.C., is located only 10 minutes from the White House.

“You know you are in one of the most powerful cities in the world, but we still have a college-campus feel, which is awesome,” he said. “Georgetown is Georgetown and it has that brand recognition that you can go anywhere and say, ‘Georgetown,’ and people kind of know it.” 

Now that the Jay native has acclimated himself to the job and the season is in full swing, he is looking forward to coaching against his protege, Tyler Hanson, a Virginia Tech University assistant coach who mentors catchers, assists with the offense and handles the operations of the baseball camps. The Hoyas and Hokies are slated to match up May 5 in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Virginia Tech University assistant baseball coach Tyler Hanson, a Sanford High School and UMaine-Farmington graduate, goes through a drill with Hokies players. Virginia Tech University photo

Thompson was hired by Georgetown after spending five seasons leading the baseball program at Eastern Kentucky University.

He said that competing in the Big East Conference is thrilling.

“It’s been fun to simply coach it when you are in that environment,” he added.

He also accepted the job because he has family in the area and an opportunity to move a few steps closer to Maine.

“Being a drive versus a flight (to get to Maine) is a good thing,” he said. “Those are factors, but then it is also the job itself. There is only a handful of Georgetowns in the country.”

THINKING ON HIS FEET

Thompson has been hustling to establish his goals for the season.

“I think not having a fall and not having a preseason and 30 games to prepare for our conference play, from a baseball standpoint, that’s what you kind of miss,” he said. “We did a lot Zoom calls and we really established a lot of who we are and what we want to be.

“Obviously, we didn’t have a chance to put them in play until the spring, but the kids have been great.”

Georgetown University baseball coach Edwin Thompson, a Jay native who coached at UMaine-Farmington and Bates College, keeps his eye on the field during a recent game against St. John’s. Art Pittman photo

All of the Hoyas’ home games are on the road this season. Thompson wants to see his team grow and improve despite a shortened season.

“They are home games, but they are not where we play our games at, because of COVID,” he said. “(There are) different rules based on the counties we are in. But it really hasn’t affected us. … We will play anywhere.

“I am always a competitor. I want to win our regular season championship. If we don’t do that, I want to make sure we qualify for our conference tournament.”

THE ROAD NOT TAKEN

Thompson has more than 15 years of college coaching experience, starting with four years as the associate head coach at the University of Maine at Farmington followed by two seasons as the head coach at Bates College.

There was a time, however, when Thompson thought about being a basketball coach.

“There was a period of time when I was at Jay High School and I was coaching basketball when I really fell in love with it,” he said. “I really thought that there might be a period of time where I would coach basketball collegiately. But, you know, baseball has always been my passion. I grew up in a family of football players. My dad and both my brothers played college football.” 

He pointed out that baseball offered him opportunities to go places.

“(Baseball) has allowed me to do some great things, personally,” he said.

After graduating from Jay High School in 1998, and prior to the start of his coaching career, Thompson played at Howard University, the University of Maryland and Webber University (in Babson Park, Florida).

GO TIME FOR TWO MAINERS

Both Thompson and Hanson are looking forward to Wednesday’s showdown in Blacksburg, Va.

“I am excited to play him next week,” Thompson said. “It is kind of a cool moment for two guys from Maine — the only Division I coaches out there — and it is a pretty awesome opportunity for Maine baseball, to be honest.”

Thompson and Hanson often talk baseball with each other and maintain a strong friendship.

“I recruited him out of (Sanford) High School,” Thompson said about Hanson. “He was able to grow as a coach. I had him on my staff a bunch of different times. He was a catcher at UMF. I am just proud of him, like any of my former players.”

Hanson also thinks highly of the Georgetown coach. The two will be facing off Wednesday, but they have a long history of being in the same dugout.

“My story with Edwin is he recruited me, and I obviously played for UMF,” Hanson said. “Once I graduated, I knew I wanted to get into coaching. At that time, (Thompson) was at Bates College as the head coach. He did give me a position to work with him right out of college.”

Tyler Hanson, right, steps to the plate during his playing days at the University of Maine at Farmington. Hanson, now an assistant coach at Virginia Tech, graduated from UMF in 2009. University of Maine at Farmington photo

When Thompson moved on to be an assistant at Duke, Hanson eventually joined him for year. Thompson left Duke and became Eastern Kentucky’s head coach and asked Hanson to come on board as the recruiting coordinator.

“I was three years with him and this position opened at Virginia Tech, and now I am here,” Hanson said.

And now Hanson will face his friend and mentor in a college baseball game.

“It is going to be pretty cool because of our connection to each other,” Hanson said. “From my competitive edge and his competitive edge, we are going to be going at it, at the end of the day, when it’s all done.” 

But their friendship will remain intact. That’s a given.

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