John Howes, who helped lead Indiana State University to its only appearance in the College World Series 25 years ago, was recently named pitching coach for the Terre Haute Rex.
"Manager Brian Dorsett and I go back a long time," Howes, who also runs John Howes State Farm Insurance Agency, 1220 E. National Ave., Brazil, said. "I played against him in high school, then we were teammates at ISU."
The 1981 Brazil High School graduate told The Brazil Times the job will be a big change for him.
"I've been out of baseball for quite a while, and I have four girls so I haven't been very active in the game," he said. "I am a little nervous about getting back in, but I feel this is a level I can be the most helpful, particularly in the philosophy and preparation aspects."
The Rex participate in the Prospect League, which is a summer collegiate league with players across the country.
"With 56 games in only two months, it is set up more like a Major League Baseball schedule, and it will be a grind," Howes said. "There are 14 teams in our league, and eight in our division, so it will be a change for the players because they will see each other over and over, rather than maybe just a three-game series each year in college."
After graduating from ISU in 1986, Howes was picked in the sixth round (148th overall) of the 1986 MLB June Amateur Draft by the Montreal Expos. The southpaw was joined on the Expos by ISU teammate Paul Frye, who was drafted in the 11th round.
He played three seasons of Single A baseball with Expos affiliates Burlington Expos and West Palm Beach Expos before playing in semi-pro leagues.
"Being a left-handed pitcher may have been part of the reason I was hired," Howes told The Brazil Times. "I believe the Rex are anticipating four leftys coming onto the team."
Howes, who is second all-time in wins at ISU with 29, said with the frequency of games will be a major factor for the players to adjust.
"We'll have a mix of guys who pitched a lot during their college season and others who haven't," he said. "Having experienced that grind in the minor leagues, I think I can help them prepare for it, along with the philosophy and strategy. A lot of the adjustments will be mental, like making sure they get plenty of rest and for myself, I will be helping by talking them through situations, especially when they start to get fatigued."
One aspect Howes admitted he will have to get back in the swing of is the fielding fundamentals.
"It will take a little time to remember the fielding aspects, like where to position guys to back up other fielders," he said. "When it comes to the strategy of pitching to the batters, that should come back pretty easily."
Howes, who was inducted into the ISU Athletics Hall of Fame Feb. 23, 2002, along with the rest of the 1986 College World Series squad, added he is excited about being able to work with college players and aid in their development.
"I'm looking forward to the challenge and a lot of people are excited for this year," Howes said. "The community is coming together in support of the team."
This is the second year the Rex have been in existence. The team finished with a 28-24 record in 2010, and plays its games at Bob Ward Field at Sycamore Stadium.
The 2011 season begins June 2, as the Rex will host the Danville Dans. Call 812-240-4323 for ticket information.
The team included 1981 Brazil High School graduate John Howes, who is the new pitching coach for the Terre Haute Rex, and tossed a perfect game for ISU in a 19-0 victory over IUPUI April 22, 1986.
The event will take place before Friday night's game against Southern Illinois, with festivities set to begin 30 minutes before first pitch at 6:30 p.m. The event is part of ISU's Baseball Alumni Weekend.