According to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, the Cubs will hire Craig Driver as their new first base/catching coach. Driver spent the last two years on the Phillies’ staff as bullpen catcher/receiving coach for 2018, his first season coaching professional baseball, prior to which he spent the 2016-17 college season as Yale University’s catchers coach.
Some Cubs news this morning, according to a source, they’re hiring Craig Driver to be first base/catching coach. Was with Phillies last two years. Worked wonders w Realmuto who won a Gold Glove in ‘19. Just two years in pro ball but great rep coaching catchers.
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) December 1, 2019
Driver graduated from the University of Puget Sound in 2011 with a degree in business and a minor in mathematics. He caught for three seasons from 2009-11, earning All-NWC honors as a catcher while captaining the Loggers to their best finish since joining the conference. Driver spent the 2012 season at Puget Sound as the catching/first base coach before moving on to Central Washington University.
He served as an assistant coach at CWU while earning his Master’s degree in athletic administration in 2014. Driver helped lead the Wildcats to their first Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship in 2014, helping the catchers to increases in caught stealing percentage (from 18.8 to 37.3%) and fielding percentage (.976 to .987).
Driver came to Yale after a second stint at the University of Puget Sound as the Athletic Recruitment Coordinator and Head Assistant Coach for the Loggers from 2014 to 2016. Driver directed the program’s recruiting efforts, committing 27 players from seven states in two seasons. Also in charge of the Logger catchers, Driver increased caught stealing percentage from 19.6% to 27.0% and tutored two All-NWC catchers.
As Rogers mentioned in his tweet above, Driver got a great deal of credit for coaching 2019 Gold Glove winner J.T. Realmuto. Maybe this is a sign that the Cubs are really investing in Willson Contreras’ future as a framer and blocker behind the plate. Either way, this gives the Cubs a wealth of coaches with catching experience, as Driver is added to a staff that already included David Ross, Mike Borzello, and Mike Napoli.