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ABCA Minority Member Spotlight: Jabari Brown, University of Missouri

The American Baseball Coaches Association strives to help diversify the baseball community and help bring opportunities in the game to all areas. The ABCA Minority Spotlight series looks to capture the experiences, coaching style, and impact that baseball has had on different ABCA member coaches. A new Minority Spotlight feature is released on the ABCA Podcast on the third Monday of the month and we will transcribe a small portion of the interview, which you can find below.

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The ABCA Podcast releases a new episode weekly featuring coaches from all levels of the sport. Discussions run the gamut of baseball coaching topics, from pitching, to hitting, to the mental game, practice planning, recruiting and more. The podcast is hosted by Ryan Brownlee, longtime coach and current Assistant Executive Director of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA).

Jabari Brown was the first receipt of Vanderbilt’s Maggie Corbin Minority Baseball Apprenticeship. Brown spent the 2022 and 2023 season gaining knowledge and skill as part of the 2023 SEC Tournament championship staff. Before Vanderbilt Brown coached at Claflin University for three seasons where he helped engineer a .300 team batting average. The 2024 season will be his first year on staff with the University of Missouri as an assistant coach.

Ryan Brownlee: What has the White Sox's Ace program meant to your career? 

Jabari Brown:
I think the best word to put on that is, foundational. From Big Row to Kenny and everyone else, being in the program it put me around people that took the game seriously and played with a lot of love. 

RB: How did you choose Claflin coming out of high school?

Honestly, I did not think I was good enough at first but it kind of chose me. I had dreams of going to those big schools that everyone heard of but then you go on a visit, talk with the coach, and start to envision yourself there. I feel like going from De La Salle to an HBCU allowed me to grow into the man I am today. 

RB: Did you know you wanted to stay and coach at Claflin when you finished playing?  

No, my mom always told me I would be a coach so I never wanted to listen to her. Coach Randall said he needed help and I can shadow him. Then our assistant coach left and he told me I could fill the position and I fell in love with it.

RB: What do baseball coaches need to hear from the strength and conditioning side?

Learning the difference between fluid and rigid movers and understanding mobility is key. I think that is what strength coaches want to do is get players stronger and limit injuries. 

RB: What do strength and conditioning coaches need to hear from the baseball side?

That players need to be on the field. The weight room is important and valuable but we need them on the field.

RB: What were some things that stuck out when you got to Vanderbilt? 

The attention to details and good people. Everybody in the building wants to be there, nobody wants to go home. Now that I am at the University Missouri it is the same here, it's a home environment. 

RB: Do you feel like the new rules changes are going to help?

As a coach we get a better idea of who the kid is as a person. I also feel that the player gets a better idea of what the coaching staff is going to look like.

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