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Eric Peterson, Published March 20 2012

Peterson: Coach Coste finding his way on Cobbers staff

Moorhead - Chris Coste still finds it helpful to flash back to the 1990s, a time when he was a baseball player at Concordia.

That reflection helps give the former major leaguer and Concordia associate head coach the proper context when he’s teaching the game to the current Cobbers.

So when Coste sees a double cutoff play in the outfield not executed or a baserunning situation mishandled, he channels himself, circa 1995.

“And when they would occur, I would look back and recall when I was at Concordia, I didn’t know that stuff,” said Coste, who played at Concordia from 1993 to ’95. “The biggest challenge right away was trying to figure out the level of experience for each player.”

Concordia head coach Bucky Burgau likes what he’s seen from his former player turned colleague. Coste joined the staff last August. The Cobbers (4-4) are eight games into this season and won’t start Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play until the end of the month.

“He’s a wonderful coach,” said Burgau, who has been the Concordia head coach since 1979. “When he speaks, the guys certainly perk their ears up because he had played at such a high level.”

Coste has a World Series ring – winning the title with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008 – and an abundance of baseball knowledge learned through 14 seasons in pro baseball, including four in the major leagues.

“He’s really down to earth for everything that he’s accomplished,” said Concordia junior Jordan Doschadis. “It’s fun to be coached by him. He’s got credibility and a lot of knowledge.”

Through most of the team’s preseason work, Coste said he kept pretty quiet, using that time to observe and evaluate. He wanted to learn about his players, and at the same time, he wanted to get reacquainted with the college game.

“It’s been such a long time since I’ve been at a collegiate level or have been around players in this age group,” Coste said. “It wasn’t until after our first doubleheader … that I really started to open up and started coaching more, because it wasn’t my goal to come in and change guys and do a major overhaul.”

Burgau said Coste has been an excellent teacher.

On days when he is working with the infield players, Coste will bring his glove and demonstrate proper technique. Coste was throwing batting practice to the varsity in the Olson Forum while Burgau was coaching a junior varsity game Tuesday afternoon.

Burgau said Coste is touching all aspects of the game: hitting, fielding and pitching.

“With the addition of Chris, we are further along at this time of year than we have ever been,” Burgau said.

Coste didn’t make his major league debut until age 33. That experience helps remind coach Coste that developing as a player is not always a quick and easy process.

“As a coach, sometimes I feel like I have to turn everybody into Joe Mauer, which is impossible in any regard,” he said. “Sometimes I want to do too much too fast. I forget that even with my career, nothing happens overnight.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com

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