By Asya Bussie
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Coming from a legendary baseball family, West Virginia's Brady Wilson is a natural born ball player. His dad, Jay Wilson, was an All-American at Salisbury University in Maryland, and has been the one person that he has been able to seek feedback after a tough game. Needless to say, dad knows best and keeps the senior Mountaineer motivated.
"My father has been coming to every game since I was a freshman. It's great to see people you love there at games watching and supporting you," Brady explained. "He was the one who got me into baseball, and the reason why I am who I am today. He's always there for me and I can come to him for anything. He's like an older brother to me. He's been helping me with my game for as long as I could remember. I know I would not be where I am today if it wasn't for him."
Jay was the one who got him involved in baseball and has supported him every step of the way. Like all sports, there are many setbacks and failures in baseball, but his dad has helped him move past the roadblocks.
"It's the hardest sport that there is. It's difficult to deal with all the failures," Brady said. "You really need somebody that's on your side all the time that's going to try to be positive about it, because there's a lot of failure in that game. I try to be positive about it and be there for him."
Baseball is in the bloodline as Brady's uncle, Jeff Wilson, also played. In fact, he also played for West Virginia. He played second base for the Mountaineers from 1979-82. And coming from a baseball family, Brady had many positive influences for his future.
When it came time to choose a college to attend, Brady received advice from family and friends. In the end, however, it was Brady's decision. He wanted to attend a university that he would like, even if he were not playing baseball. West Virginia University was it.
"The campus is beautiful. Morgantown has really grown since I have been here," said Brady, an athletic coaching education major. "I like how everyone here is so friendly, and I feel like WVU fans really take pride in our school unlike any other.
"One reason I came to WVU was because I wanted to be close to home, so I could make an easy trip if I needed. And so all of my friends and family could watch me play."
Becoming more comfortable with Morgantown and WVU's style of play, Brady recently began to take on a leadership role. As a junior he started all 53 games and started to lead by example.
A year later, and now in his final season, Brady has improved his batting to over a .300 clip, one of the top five on the team. His multi-hit performance in a 9-2 win over Wake Forest earlier this season included a solo home run and an RBI double.
Aggressive on the base paths, Brady recorded 10 stolen bases last season and in only 16 games deep into this year's schedule, has already stolen six.
This year has been full of changes and one of great expectation. Head coach Randy Mazey, with more than 20 years of collegiate baseball coaching experience, gives the Mountaineers confidence to take the program to another level in this inaugural season in the Big 12 Conference.
"All the new coaches are great," Brady offered. "I have learned a lot from the way coach Mazey likes to coach. Stealing bases is one of my strengths and with our aggressive offense and aggression on the base paths I have really enjoyed this season.
"This program has already changed in so many positive ways and I'm honestly jealous of all my teammates that they get to keep playing after this season with our new coaches."
Brady and his teammates really appreciate what the coaches are doing and trying to build at WVU. This year, they were able to get a new locker room and will soon have a new, first-class stadium to play in.
"What Coach Mazey and his assistants are doing is building a program. A program that will not only compete in the Big 12, but win it."
Entering a new university and a new conference, Coach Mazey had great expectation for the players and the WVU program. He didn't know what he was walking into, but he had one goal and that was to improve the baseball program and make sure the guys were treated well.
"I didn't know anybody on the team. All I knew was how they were based off of last year's stat sheet. So I didn't know the personality of the guys I just knew some of the things they went through, so my first priority was to treat them well. If you treat them well you hope they play better. We brought in 18 or 19 new guys and 18 or 19 returning guys, it was a 50/50 mix. We had to address team chemistry right away. We wanted to treat them well and they responded," Mazey said.
Wilson, one of four seniors, is now in his final season as a Mountaineer. He's using his experience to take on a leadership role. His role has expanded to addressing chemistry on and off the field and working to make sure his team has a successful season for his last go round.
"He plays a really, really important role because when you're trying to address chemistry and leadership you look to your seniors first. And we don't have that many, but he's a guy that's experienced," Mazey explained. Seniors have seen a lot more, and been through a lot more, and the fact that he's one of our oldest guys he's shown some great leadership skills and so far he is having a great season."