--Daytona Beach, FL
The Falcon baseball program was featured in Collegiate Baseball Newspaper which is the "Voice of Amatuer Baseball." You can learn more about Collegiate Baseball Newspaper by visiting their website at http://baseballnews.com/
Below is the article featured in the May 3rd edition about Daytona State College Baseball.
Touma Racks Up 12 Straight GPA Titles
-Great academic system allows Daytona State to go 33 consecutive semesters with a 3.0 GPA or higher.
By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — For the past 12 years, Daytona State Junior College's baseball program has had the highest team grade point average of all NJCAA baseball programs in the nation every single year. The average cumulative GPA during this 12-year span has been 3.65. The highest GPA was during the 2017-2018 academic year at 3.81. Incredibly, this program has gone 33 consecutive semesters with a 3.0 or higher team GPA. It is an astounding achievement that has been spearheaded by Head Coach Tim Touma who is in his 18th year at Daytona State. In most junior colleges, it is a constant chore getting players eligible. A certain percentage of junior college baseball players have a tough time with academics in high school while others have had trouble in 4-year institutions as they matriculate to the JC level. How in the world has Touma accomplished this Herculean feat? "I played junior college baseball at Palm Beach Community College years ago, and back then it was all baseball and not much in the way of academics," said Touma, who later went on to play at the University of Florida where he was an Academic All-SEC performer. "When I was hired at Daytona State in 2001, it was made clear to me from my athletics' director and administration that academics had to be emphasized. "That is the posture even today by our administration. As much as we all want to win baseball games, were are here to help young people with their future. "The kids we brought in initially didn't get great grades. We tried to just get young people to understand that having a good education is the most important thing even though baseball is fun and something we all love to do. "Over the years, we have morphed into this baseball program that has great GPAs. Now it is an expectation to have teams that meet this academic standard every year." Touma said his system starts with support within his administration. "We have a terrific academic advisor by the name of Cindy Iafanti who has been with us the whole time I have been here. She has helped players with class scheduling so there isn't any conflict with games during the season and during the fall, as well as practices. "We try to schedule classes for our players with the best professors we can get. That is important to me. "We never miss school for baseball. That policy is there all year long. If there is a conflict, you skip the game and the player goes to the lab, class or takes a test. "Cindy does a great job of scheduling early morning classes to prevent conflicts. "We have no overnight travel. All of our games are within a couple of hours once we get on a bus for away games. We typically arrive back from road trips at a reasonable time. Then our kids get a good night of sleep and are ready to go the next day. "If we do have a rainout and games are made up, there have been times when we left kids behind because of class scheduling conflicts. That rarely happens because of good planning and spending years of coaching here. "Attendance at every class is mandatory unless you are sick. That's a big key as well. "I want our players to sit in the first three rows of each class to form a relationship with the professor. We want our guys to be up front paying attention."
Touma said each player is given a planner which is manufactured by Premier Agendas, Inc. in Bellingham, WA. According to the company, the easiest way to order this planner is to call (800) 221-1165 and request the Versatile Trek Planner. This type of planner can be customized so that certain pages have pertinent information and academic contacts specifically printed for a school. The front cover can be designed with the school logo, academic year and other key information. "This planner is essentially the same as a business planner but refined for student athletes. It really has helped our athletes out a lot. "There are certain pages set up that have contact information for our staff at the college to help our athletes out with anything they need academically. "There are enough lines where they can have the professor's name for each class along with projects and tests that are due. "It is a planner each player must use every single day or else it is worthless. "Our coaches check every player's planner weekly to make sure they are utilizing it each day. It really teaches our kids how to organize everything. "Our kids then work ahead with projects that are in this planner. "We know how their grades are trending. "If they need help, we are able to jump on that quickly whether it be tutors, teammates or the academic support center. We try to use everything at our disposal to help them move forward. "If you really want to put education above baseball, you have to take the steps we have done to ensure your kids will not only graduate but have great grades as they move on to the 4-year level."
Touma said the players are given certain days off from baseball. "In the fall, we give players Wednesdays off from practice as a study day to make sure they have enough time to earn the highest grade possible. We sacrifice some baseball time to make sure our guys perform well in classes. "The freshmen when they come in must understand what it takes to play college baseball while being a full time, dedicated student." Touma said that during the spring when games are in full swing, a typical week will see games being played Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. "Sunday is always an off day. Tuesdays and Thursdays are always practice days. "Those practice days are limited to two hours in the spring. We want to get our guys out of there so they can go home and eat, study, sleep and get up the next morning to start another day."
No Study Halls
Touma said he is one of the few college baseball coaches who doesn't have mandatory study halls for his players. "I am one of the few coaches who don't utilize this for my players. I am not a big believer in it. I think you need to study in an environment that helps you the most. Everybody is different with that. Therefore, we do not run an organized group study hall. "If someone needs extra help, we will find them that help. But it isn't making them sit through 6 hours a week of study hall. I have found it is much more beneficial to put this in the hands of each player to figure out the best way to study and get the most out of his time in the right environment. "One player might be better off spending time in the library. Another might be more comfortable with SportsCenter being on television as he studies. That's fine with me as long as the grades show he is doing well. "The key is figuring out the best study environment that works well for each player. "Once they find it, then we want them to work on their studies every single day in that environment."
Working With Freshmen
Touma said freshmen who have come into his program the last 8-10 years have an initial meeting with the coaching staff. "Our coaches talk about their experiences at Daytona State and discuss what is available academically for help. "The sophomores are also a big part of this meeting. I will have the sophomores speak up and give the freshmen tips and what has helped them. "With colleges today, you have to cover a lot of different things. Online courses are a big deal now. So we attack how to do well with on-line courses in addition to the traditional classes they attend. "We also help each freshmen set up his planner with the syllabus they have. "In addition, we walk the players around to each class they will be attending. It is important they are on time for every class. "As freshmen begin going to classes, there are plenty of resources available to them if they run into a problem with different subjects. Colleges are great because there is always a solution with someone to help you. You just need to know where to go and seek that help out. "We talk about education every single day within our program. If we have lost three in a row, we will talk about education. The same is true if we win three games in a row. We will discuss academics. "Right now, we are getting to the end of the season and semester. We don't want a bad performance on the field to affect their grades and their future. So we are adamant that they finish the semester off on a high note. "Once that academic goal is accomplished, then they can work on baseball during the summer and come back next fall."
Recruiting Student Athletes
Touma talked about how he recruits quality student athletes. "A lot of people believe we only go after good students, and that's not true," said Touma. "The biggest indicator when we recruit someone is how important school is to them and how bad do they want to get a degree. "Some of our greatest successes here have been with guys who didn't do a great job academically in high school. "In meeting them and their parents and talking at length, it was apparent there was a sincere interest in being in our environment. "They want to be a part of our program and work hard at being a much better student. Most of the players we bring in do better here than they did in high school. The key is finding the right people who truly want that diploma and will work hard at getting the best grades possible. "They realize that it only helps them in the end at getting to a 4- year school and in life. They tend to work hard and succeed." Touma said there is no minimum GPA that he looks at from recruits. "There isn't a bottom number we shy away from. If we are interested in a baseball player who has had a lower GPA in high school, we investigate why. "Was the kid just lazy or did he take tougher classes than he had to? There are a lot of reasons young people don't do well academically in high school. "If the answers are right, we will consider him. In the past, one kid told us he was lazy his sophomore year of high school, and it seriously hurt his GPA. But his junior and senior years, he did a much better job. "We try to prevent the lazy year from ever happening again as far as academics."
Making Money For Future
Touma said that his remarkable academic system allows players to realize that the academic work they put in will pay off with money down the road. "The word money is important for players to hear because that catches their attention immediately," said Touma. "If they do well academically and on the baseball field, they will probably get a nice scholarship at a 4-year school which is money in their pocket. If they are applying for a job, having great grades will help in this regard. "There are no negatives with getting quality grades in college. It only helps. "The academic money is easier to get than baseball scholarship money. The first question any 4-year school asks is can I see the player's transcript? "We don't ever want a player's grades to be an inhibitor for stopping them from going to the next level of baseball. We want it to come down to the athletic ability or performance. "Correlating how important what you do in the classroom and on the field as it relates to the rest of a player's life is also important to talk about regularly. You have to do things right all the time. This isn't a part time proposition. "The habits you learn being a college athlete are important as you navigate the time demands. "This carries on into life after baseball. That's one of the biggest lessons of being an athlete in college. "Guys who have left here typically have done a great job and succeeded in life later on."
Handling Problem Players
It was brought up to Touma typically has a player or two who refuses to conform to the rules of the team. They might not show up on time for team functions or classes and generally aren't on the ball. It's almost as if they don't care. "This is always a fall scenario. We try to get these players on the same page with sophomores helping them and me talking to them. "Unfortunately, we have failed in helping some kids over the years. It is impossible to help every single kid, and it simply isn't a reality. "A lot of times kids will get here and realize I was telling the truth about how important academics are to me. "They realize that they must go to every class. When that doesn't happen, typically the player will come to me and say our school isn't the right fit. "That's OK . Each player must find the right environment that is the best for him." Touma said that it is possible to put education first at colleges as his program has demonstrated with incredible GPAs year after year. "I think if you are really going to put education first, then there is a way to do that at every college. "All of us, including college coaches and administrators, owe it to our young people to help them along with their lives. "As much as all coaches want to win, we must guide and help our student athletes attain a proper education and the lessons of life while we have them. "If we do that, it will put a better product out there for everyone."
For the past 12 years, Daytona State Junior College's baseball program has had the highest cumulative grade point average in the country.
Here is the breakdown over the last 12 years:
2006-2007: 3.49 GPA
2007-2008: 3.53 GPA
2008-2009: 3.59 GPA
2009-2010: 3.57 GPA
2010-2011: 3.54 GPA
2011-2012: 3.74 GPA
2012-2013: 3.66 GPA
2013-2014: 3.66 GPA
2014-2015: 3.68 GPA
2015-2016: 3.62 GPA
2016-2017: 3.70 GPA
2017-2018: 3.81 GPA
---published in May 3rd edition of Collegiate Baseball Newspaper by Lou Pavlovich, JR.