DIAMOND DAWGZ STAFF
The selection of coaches is something that The Diamond Dawgz Baseball Program takes very seriously.
Dawgz coaches concentrate on the process over the outcome.
Dawgz coaches concentrate on the process over the outcome.
Sam Incandela: Owner
Sam graduated from Fenwick High School with honors and as captain of the baseball team. From there, he attended Indiana University as a recruited walk on for the varsity baseball team. Sam was part of the Big Ten Tournament Championship team that advanced to the College World Series Regional Tournament. He had a very successful career at Indiana, where he was named to the Big Ten All Academic Team for three straight years. Furthermore, Sam was named team captain and MVP his senior year. After Sam’s baseball eligibility concluded, Coach Bob Morgan, one of only thirty coaches in Division I baseball to reach 1000 victories, hired him to be his assistant coach. At Indiana, Sam worked with both the infielders and outfielders, as well as serving as the assistant hitting coach. He left Indiana University to become the lead hitting instructor at C.F. Swingtown, which at the time, was one of the best baseball academies in the country. C.F. Swingtown was owned and operated by former Chicago Cub, Minnesota Twin, and New York Yankee, Ron Coomer along with former University of Notre Dame outfielder, John Flanagan. There, Sam was lucky enough to work with future Major League Hall of Famer Roger Clemens, former New York Yankee hitting coach, Rick Down, Arizona State University head baseball coach, Pat Murphy, as well as many other players and coaches that helped develop his coaching philosophies and techniques. In 2003, Sam was asked to coach a college summer team comprised of Division I, Division II, and Junior College players from all over the country. John Cangelosi, member of the World Series Champion Florida Marlins, served as his assistant coach, on a team that won both leagues they competed in. In the summer of ’07, Sam coached The DuPage Diamondbacks, a team that included some of the best sophomore high school players throughout Illinois. They were ranked number one in the nation in their age group for a short stint. They won three tournaments and qualified in the top 5 at The CABA World Series in Georgia. Just before opening Diamond Instincts, Sam coached the Glenview Blaze 10U travel team. Last year, he moved up with the boys and coached the 11U Glenview Blaze; a team that won seven Championships with a 53 - 8 record. Coach Sam moved up with the boys in 2010 and again had a great season, which was highlighted by a MSBL regular season Championship, and a fifth place finish in Cooperstown, New York. In Cooperstown (106 team tournament), The Glenview Blaze finished pool play as the number over all seed, the first time in organization history. In the nine games, the Blaze finished 8 - 1 and hit 29 home runs. They beat teams from Connecticut, New York, Georgia, and California. He has coached all levels but always concentrates on the process and not the result. Sam requires that all his players play hard, play smart, and have fun, teaching them that with dreams, dedication, and desire all things are possible.
Sam lives with his wife Lyndsey, in Wilmette. They were married in September ’07. Sam & Lyndsey have two sons, Vincent James (born in 2012), and Charles Tate (born March 18, 2014).
Michael Blais or “Big Mike”, as he is affectionately known, graduated college from the University of Connecticut. During his tenure at UCONN, the Huskies, made the DI NCAA Tournament (Oklahoma State Regional), he was drafted twice, and played for the Cotuit Kettlers in the prestigious Cape Cod League in the summer.
Michael was drafted for the first time in 1992, by the St. Louis Cardinals, in the 24th round. He decided to go back to school before being drafted again by the Boston Red Sox in 1993. That year, he was The Tony Latham Award winner given to the Red Sox player that best demonstrates great dedication and work ethic. Big Mike’s professional baseball career lasted seven years (Boston Red Sox ’93-’97, Houston Astros’97-’98, Lehigh Valley Black Diamonds ’98-’99). As a professional, he played at the AAA level in ’97 and ’98 as well as competed in and won a AAA World Series.
Coach Blais has been giving lessons to pitchers of all ages since 1993. He has great success, most notably, 2007, 5th round draft choice, Connor Graham. He has also coached teams of all ages in Ohio, ranging from 7 years old, all ages in between, and all the way to Assistant Varsity Baseball Coach at Bowling Green High School.
In 2001, Big Mike earned his Masters at Bowling Green State University, where he was the recipient of the Ronald V. Hartley Award for outstanding graduate achievement. Michael is married to Janna, with two boys (Brady & Jace) and now lives in Glenview.
Josh attended Stevenson High School where he was a 2 time letter winner in baseball. Named co-captain in 2009 senior season which saw the biggest turnaround in school history in wins from 15 to 31.
After graduating in 2009 he accepted a scholarship to Oakton Community College to play for head coach Bill Fratto. He was also part of the 2010 Oakton team that set a school record with 42 wins, and was named all conference honorable mention in 2011 season as a sophomore relief pitcher. After leaving Oakton Josh accepted a scholarship to play for Mike Kashirsky at NAIA Robert Morris in Chicago. In his Junior season split between Robert Morris and the Dupage County Hounds of the Midwest Collegiate league Josh had 30 appearance with 32 innings pitched to a tune of a 1.13 era and 7 saves. He was named Robert Morris relief pitcher of the year, as well as all conference honorable mention for the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference, as well as a Midwest Collegiate League All-Star. In his senior season at Robert Morris was voted a team captain by teammates and coaches and recently graduated in the winter of 2014.
Josh has coaching experience for 5 summers with the Evanston Feeder program and has worked countless camps and clinics to help kids of all ages improve and the learn the right way to play the game. He lives in the Chicagoland area with his family.
Tony has served as a head and assistant high school baseball. His teams have appeared in Regional, Sectional, and Super Sectional Championships. During his tenure, he has helped send over 50 players on to play college baseball.
Tony played his collegiate baseball at The University of Alabama. There, he was a three time All-American shortstop and was voted Team MVP by his peers his Senior Year. Tony's pro career was cut short due to an arm injury; however, Tony played two years in Puerto Rico before deciding to coach full time.
Tony is currently a high school teacher and lives in Evanston with his wife Amy and three boys, Byron, Trey, and Drew.