New baseball coach builds program from field on up


Connor Gunn

New De Smet Baseball coach Tim Canavan looks over his team as they warm up to take on Francis Howell North on March 28.

In his first year as head baseball coach, Tim Canavan looks to bring passion and effort to the program, shown by the countless hours he has already spent on improving the baseball facilities around the school.

“I put so much effort into the field because it’s the most visible sign of our program,” Canavan said. “It sets an example to the players to be meticulous: How straight is the foul line, how crisp is the edge on the infield? The little things mean everything in baseball and it’s the same thing with the field.”

Not only is the field an important aspect of the program in Canavan’s mind but the players see the significance of the time he’s spent bettering the field.

“His effort on the field shows that he cares,” senior pitcher Nick Panagos said. “It’s really nice to see a coach who puts that much work into our facilities and has that much passion for our team.”

Canavan’s time spent working on the field isn’t just about the intangibles it shows his team, but players believe it is very necessary for the condition of the field.

“We arguably have the worst field in the MCC (Metro Catholic Conference) and coach is trying to fix that,” junior pitcher Sam Cardwell said, “There are occasions when he will work on the field, during the school day, so that we can practice or play.”

Coming from the college level, Canavan brings a different philosophy that the players have come to admire early in their first season under his management.

“He brings a lot of energy and baseball sense to the team,” Panagos said. “He wants to make sure things are done the right way and the game is played the right way which is really important for a program.

Being in and around St. Louis baseball, Canavan has known about the De Smet program and now gets to see what he has heard about firsthand.

“It’s been awesome to see the enthusiasm around the program so far,” Canavan said. “It has a rich history and tradition of success and you can see that through how many people around school love the game.”

Canavan’s tangible coaching practices are making their impact on the players.

“He’s trying to push me outside of my comfort zone and outside of what I think I can do,” Cardwell said. “I think he’s done that for a lot of other guys too, which is making us better.”

While the players care about winning this year, they see the possible impact Canavan will have on the program beyond the here and now.

“He is gonna be great for the program in the long term,” Panagos said. “He has really emphasized hustle and getting your stuff done in the classroom which can be the foundations of  a good program for years on end.”

Canavan has high aspirations to continually be successful while also improving every one of his players’ abilities.

“I hope my passion inspires my players that if they love baseball as much as I do, they should pursue it for as long as possible, “Canavan said. “I hope the program can stay among the state’s elite, and I think we should be in the running for a state championship every year.”