Sanchez had been with head coach Paul Mainieri since his first year with the Tigers back in 2008, but decided to step down this summer. Sanchez says he wants to spend more time with his family, as the tremendous demands of college baseball recruiting were beginning to take their toll.
“During the summer, given 30 days in a calendar month, 27 of them are likely on the road,” says Sanchez. “A lot of man hours going to tournaments. The airplanes, the rental cars, the hotels. The lifestyle became part of the challenge.”
Sanchez and his wife Michelle have a 19-month old daughter, Valentina.
“Just give me that Sunday where I can barbeque with the kids.”
Sanchez says with roughly a week to go in the season, his mind was made up. He informed Mainieri of his intentions shortly after the team’s final meetings of the year. Mainieri tried to talk Sanchez out of it, but no avail. It’s certainly a decision that brings some new, challenging emotions.
“Obviously you spend so much time at the field, recruiting these players. Your blood is in the bricks. You’re so invested. The scariest thing for me, honestly, is working the last seven years of my life with people I love and trust. It’s not often you find a working environment like that. The alarm clock goes off, and you’re excited to go to work. That will be hard to duplicate in the business world.”
The thrill of the game will leave a void.
“Obviously being in the dugout during the 7th inning of a one-run game…aspects like that I’ll definitely miss. But I’m not looking back. I’m not going to let myself regret it. I’m at peace with the decision.”
Sanchez was often the subject of harsh criticism from LSU fans, when things didn’t go well. But he seems pretty oblivious to the bullets fired his way.
“My responsibility was always with the kids and the people within these walls. I’ve had, throughout the years, a lot of people ask me about the criticism. I don’t know really where it comes from. I’m not into the newspapers, I’m not into the chat rooms. I don’t know exactly what’s being said about me. There’s an old quote – the boos come from the cheap seats. I’m pretty confident in my abilities.”
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