After concluding a tremendous chapter in his life, Andrew Llewellyn is beginning another.
The Powhatan High School alum and recent Wingate University graduate will remain a fixture on the baseball field as he completes the transition from player to coach as a newly-added member of the Randolph-Macon Baseball coaching staff. He will assist the program with catchers, hitters and camps.
“It’s just going to be huge,” Llewellyn said. “Being able to work with them and show them the knowledge I have is going to be helpful, especially with the catchers – and just get them to buy-in to what we want them to do, and hopefully get them to succeed at the highest level they can.”
He’s excited to work with “such a prestigious program like Randolph-Macon,” which last season went 28-10-1 and in 2018 was a game away from reaching the championship series of the NCAA Division III World Series while also earning a program-best 38 victories.
As of now Llewellyn will work with the coaching staff for a year while he completes his Master’s degree through the Center for Sports Leadership at VCU.
“Just being able to...get a Master’s, it carries a lot of weight – and also being able to get my foot in the door coaching-wise with such a great team, with such a great program that, hopefully with myself and our new pitching coach Anthony Burke as well as Coach (ML) Morgan and Coach (Ray) Hedrick, we can take them to new heights this year,” Llewellyn said.
Being solid defensively as a catcher “is a really, really good way to help win ball games,” Llewellyn pointed out, and with Llewellyn, R-MC’s catchers this coming spring will get to work with a coach who not only will be less than a year removed from having played at their position at the collegiate level, but who, in his playing career with Wingate, threw out 44 runners trying to steal bases from behind the dish and delivered an overall fielding percentage of 98.7.
Llewellyn looks forward to helping the catchers figure out how to best work with the next pitchers in line in order to help them work through adversity, perform at the best of their abilities and help the team win games.
In working with assistant coach Morgan on the hitting side, Llewellyn said he really likes Morgan’s approach of breaking hitters down into different types; he also spoke to the importance of seeing what the individual guy needs.
“You can’t take all 25 hitters and say, ‘You need to all swing this exact same way,’” Llewellyn said, adding of Randolph-Macon: “They all know their strengths and their weaknesses, and that comes from having such a good approach in the fall and their practice sessions through Coach Morgan.
“I’m excited to learn from him and then be able to help the guys with the subtle nuances of: me being able to help him through a game in regards to approach with a certain pitcher,” Llewellyn said.
In shaping himself into the kind of coach he wants to be, Llewellyn spoke to combining the great things he’s been shown and taught by the great coaches he’s had – including the ones he feels fortunate to have had in college and high school – with knowing what not to do, based on observations from his younger years of some of the coaching that wasn’t effective.
Llewellyn has never seen himself to be a brash or aggressive person, and he doesn’t believe that, as a coach, it’s your job to put somebody down.
“You should never make somebody feel like less of a person for anything,” he said. “I don’t want any of my players to ever feel like I think less of them as a person or I put them down for some reason because they couldn’t perform on a baseball field.”
He looks forward to being positive and keeping players upbeat, and to being able to address when the guys need to work on something in a manner that is constructive and not belittling.
In between concluding his career as a player for Wingate and stepping into his role on R-MC’s coaching staff, Llewellyn this summer held a position in the baseball world that further acquainted him with the aspects of the game that go beyond the field. He recently served as Director of Baseball Operations for the Canes travel baseball organization, overseeing the day-to-day operations for the Canes American 17u team, as well as the National 17u team that won multiple national titles this year. He was in the office every day, or just about, during the week, and then he traveled with the team wherever it went. His duties included working with equipment, payroll, shoes/cleats, bats, booking flights and hotels, coordinating the bus driver getting to and from places, loading up all the equipment on the bus, driving U-Haul vans, taking kids back and forth to and from each game, making the rosters and ensuring said rosters were accurate for each week. In taking on that mammoth list of responsibilities, Llewellyn made sure that nothing got lost or forgotten, that everyone was where they needed to be on time and that all the players stayed safe.
He enjoyed “getting to coach with the best coaches in the country,” including Powhatan coaches Gregg Conner and Tim Lowery and the Canes’ head coach Jeff Petty, and “getting to coach the best players in the country,” including a pitching staff that he called “unreal.”
He also learned a lot about the logistical side of things in baseball. Having that kind of experience opens more doors for him, as he could potentially get into more of the administrative/operations side of baseball should he not pursue coaching, which is currently what he wants to pursue.
That might change, he said, but he’s got a year of coaching to figure that out – and a year of grad school to see what he likes the most.
With Division II Wingate Baseball, Llewellyn got to start all four seasons, was a team captain for two years and earned preseason and postseason accolades across his career there. Overall, he batted .273 - including .324 his sophomore season - and tallied up 93 RBIs and 51 extra-base hits. He homered 26 times, launching 12 of those home runs as a senior.
In three out of four seasons, he and his Wingate teammates won at least 30 season games.
“Being a part of their program was one of the best things I’ve done in life,” Llewellyn said of Wingate Baseball. “I thoroughly enjoyed my experience there. I’ve made a lot of really good friends that I’ll be close with for the rest of my life, and I can’t trade those experiences and those memories for anything…”