Pan Am Gold
• Beyond the accomplishments within NEWMAC and Division III, Athletics is gaining national accolades thanks to the achievements of WPI Coach Matt Weagle, who helped coach the U.S. Women’s Baseball team to the gold at the summer Pan Am Games.
“It was an unforgettable experience,” Coach Weagle says, “Having the opportunity to represent your country is something very special.”
The U.S. Women’s Baseball Team defeated Canada 11–3 in July, finishing off a perfect 5–0 streak at the event held in Ontario.
The victory was due in no small part to the guidance of pitching coach Weagle, who came to WPI two years ago after playing for his alma mater, Franklin Pierce University, and professionally in the minor leagues. It was his experience at Franklin Pierce that led to both the WPI position and his role on the national team.
“Coach Mike Callahan and I were roommates in college, and when he took the head coach at WPI position he asked if I could help out. At the time I was still playing professionally; however, when the time allowed I would help at practices and games. Even after only being there for a limited time, I could see that the WPI athletic community was a place I was very comfortable in.”
After finding himself back at FPU when his professional career ended in 2012, he found himself coaching alongside Jason King. That relationship led to interest from the national squad.
“Jason had already been involved with the U.S. baseball community. He heard they were looking for a pitching coach and mentioned me as a possible candidate. That winter, they asked me to join the staff.”
This past summer, for the second consecutive year, Weagle brought his individualized style of guidance to the U.S. Women’s team, to some clearly successful results.
“Having coached at a number of different levels, I’ve come to realize you need to deal with each athlete differently,” the coach states. “At WPI, I found out that our athletes might not respond to a certain coaching method I used at Franklin Pierce. On the national scale, our players have full-time jobs, are college students, or are coaches themselves. So there is a similarity. Both teams are dedicated to their sport, their teammates, and are still able to achieve success off the field.”
Weagle, for his part, puts the reason for victory entirely in the hands of the very formidable athletes themselves.
“In Toronto I was surrounded by some of the best athletes in the world and to see their determination and commitment is something I hope to instill onto our athletes at WPI,” he says. “With our team in particular, the players were eager and wanted to make a name for the sport of women’s baseball. They wanted to prove they could play. We out-pitched, hit, and competed every team we played. To have played a role in that is a great feeling.”
Looking forward, Weagle says his focus is on bringing this combination of innate talents and player-based coaching methods to even greater victories for the campus team. He also would not rule out a third year at the Pan Am games should the opportunity arise.
“I am very happy at WPI. I feel like the future is very bright for both WPI Baseball and U.S. Women’s Baseball. I have worn a lot of jerseys in my day, and I wear the WPI colors with pride. Looking down and seeing the USA logo though, and realizing you are representing your whole country, is an amazing feeling in itself.”