Trainer John McConnell feels the future is bright for Play The Game after a tremendous effort from the front in last week’s Canford Cliffs Stakes. McConnell said: “We were delighted with him. It was a very good run, up against some good opposition. “It’s always a bit gutting to get done late on like that, but the over-riding feeling was that we were very pleased. “He’s always shown us promise, but we wouldn’t empty them at home and we leave a little bit for the track. “The ground was quick when he won at Leopardstown and he seemed to handle that softer ground well the other night, so he seems pretty versatile. “We don’t have anything specific in mind. He’ll probably be entered for what used to be the Golden Fleece Stakes in Leopardstown (Juvenile Turf Stakes on Irish Champions Weekend) and the Beresford Stakes at the Curragh. We might even look at races further afield. “There’s not a lot for him for the next couple of weeks, so we’ll leave him off now and look forward to seeing him over a mile and taking a lead.” An impressive winner on his debut at Leopardstown in late June, the Lawman colt set out to make all the running stepped up to Listed class at Tipperary and was only caught late in the day by the more experienced Waipu Cove from Ger Lyons’ stable. Play The Game was a clear second and is now set for a short break before tackling a mile next month. Press Association
But Gill is ready for that challenge. Gill was later the hitting coach and recruiting coordinator at both Cal State Fullerton and Oregon. He brought in a top-10 recruiting class at Fullerton in 2007 before rebuilding the Oregon baseball program. A new era is officially underway for USC baseball. Nathan Hyun contributed to this report. Now, Gill aims to transfer the skills and lessons he learned from his mentors into his own players. Gill credits his parents for his positive and determined outlook on life, as he believes the resources that were provided to him from an early age have shaped him and defined his coaching career. “Growing up in a loving family, with a mom and dad that taught me perspective, that taught me work ethic, that relayed to me that your attitude is your decision and that you choose the path that you want to go on,” Gill said. Gill, a Southern California native, is finally at a place he has always wanted to be with USC. “It’s been my dream job since I got into the profession,” Gill said. “The history of the program is better than any college baseball program. [USC has produced] more big leaguers than anybody, we have Hall of Famers, we have All-Stars, we have Cy Young Award winners. And I think if you’re from Southern California, you want to be at the top — this is where you want to be. So it’s kind of a no-brainer for me, to be honest with you.” As for his USC players, Gill has already made a striking impact in motivating them for the 2020 season. “He’s been in this for so long … and he just brings so much to the table instilling discipline within us and just motivating us every single day,” junior outfielder Bart West said about Gill’s leadership. At LMU, Gill led the team to the WCC Tournament five out of the last six years, winning it last season and in 2017. Overall, Gill posted a 322-286-1 (.530) record during his time with the Lions. “If I could pass on to [my players] anything, it would be for them to never accept mediocrity of themselves,” Gill said. “To set standards that are achievable for them to reach. Whether it’s in the classroom, socially or on the baseball field, anywhere they’re at to not settle for being just OK at anything.” Head coach Jason Gill has been coaching since 1995 when he was a graduate assistant at Cal State Fullerton. (James Wolfe | Daily Trojan) Bringing together all of his experience as a player, recruiter, assistant coach and head coach, Gill hopes to continue the great track record the Trojan baseball program has accumulated over the years. With 12 national championships, 21 visits to the College World Series and 114 players sent to the major leagues, Gill is now tasked with bringing the Trojans back to national relevance and the College World Series for the first time since 2001. “In any venture of life, if you’re fortunate enough to be in the same business and you love your job, you’re gonna learn from your mistakes,” Gill said of what his experience has taught him about coaching. “So I think at the end of the day, I’ve learned more than anything that it’s about relationships and about development over wins. I think the wins are a byproduct of that.” Gill started as an assistant coach at Nevada from 1997-98. During his time there, he helped lead the Wolfpack to their second postseason appearance ever. In 1999 and 2000, Gill was the assistant coach for LMU. In both those seasons, the Lions won West Coast Conference titles. At Gill’s high school, Mater Dei, his baseball coach Bob Ikes taught him all the skills he would later exemplify for his own players: accountability, responsibility, being on time and knowing who you are. At Cal State Fullerton, Gill played for coach Augie Garrido, a well-known College Baseball Hall of Famer and, as Gill puts it, “arguably the best college baseball coach to ever work.” “The biggest gift that I can give [the players] is to be present,” Gill said. “Be where you’re at and reach your full potential. Don’t settle.” “Coach Gill’s doing an incredible job with kind of instilling his mindset into us and how we carry ourselves every day,” said senior first baseman John Thomas, who added that Gill’s mentorship has led him to become a better leader for his teammates. Head coach Jason Gill will be the 18th individual to serve as USC’s head baseball coach in the history of the program. Gill will begin his first season in the position Friday against Western Michigan. (Design: Kevin Yin; Photo: James Wolfe | Daily Trojan) To add to his impressive resume, he also served as an assistant coach for the U.S. Collegiate National Team in 2012 and 2016. The Trojans will play their first game of the 2020 season Friday against Western Michigan under new head coach Jason Gill. Gill, who came to USC in June after 11 seasons at Loyola Marymount, has spent the time leading up to this season implementing his greatest philosophy: Never accept average. He then spent three years at UC Irvine alongside head coach John Savage, recruiting a No. 8 class in the country in 2002 with a pair of top-30 classes succeeding that. The Anteaters reappeared in the postseason in 2004.