1 on 1: Meet Chris Pritchett, baseball’s new head coach

Chris Pritchett, a former Vancouver Canadians MVP, Major League infielder and UBC’s newly hired head baseball coach is looking to pick up where Terry McKaig left off.

Pritchett was hired this summer after it was announced that McKaig would be filling a brand new position as director of baseball, where he will focus on expanding the program as well as fundraising and other initiatives.

Pritchett played was an All-American UCLA player and was drafted to the California Angels in 1991 before coming to play for the Vancouver Canadians. Pritchett played over 60 games in Major League Baseball and has since acted as the Canadians' hitting coach and an international scout, based in Canada, for the Boston Red Sox.

Though never officially a Thunderbird, Pritchett has a long history with the program. While at the Canadians, Pritchett trained at UBC’s facilities and volunteered, helping McKaig coach in the 90s.

“I was always impressed with what they where teaching their players. I thought it was really advanced and that they were doing a great job,” said Pritchett. “I’ve been around the program, but not directly involved in it for quite a while."

This will also be Pritchett’s first time as head coach.

Pritchett sees his experiences as a player in all levels of baseball, from collegiate to pro ball, and his recent recruiting work in Canada as assets to his coaching.

“It’s going to really help on the recruiting side,” said Pritchett. "I’ve been blazing these trails looking for pro players but the trails are still the same.”

As the new head coach, Pritchett will be working closely with McKaig to developing the baseball program. Pritchett sees the future closely following the model of the past with some exciting twists. An indoor training facility should be opening in September and a new stadium is being planned that should be finished in the next two years.

The line between head coach and director of baseball has yet to be clearly draw but Pritchett sees the mutual respect between UBC baseball’s two frontmen as fundamental to moving forward and called McKaig a mentor.

Following in McKaig’s footsteps will be no easy feat as McKaig has built baseball into one of Canada’s best programs that often sees players drafted to the pros and has won five NAIA West Grouping Championships in seven years.

Pritchett, who said he is pleased to be returning to the collegiate atmosphere after so many years in the pros, also hopes to see baseball draw bigger crowds and win over students as fans.

Pritchett will be UBC’s second varsity baseball head coach.