EP.19 Phil Cundari (Seton Hall U.) on To Be an Athlete Is to Be a Performer

On this episode, Phil shares what it takes to build a successful staff in the Northeast.  Phil also discusses how important is to get our best athletes on the mound, and how to go about supporting them as they learn the position. In addition, Coach Cundari details the parallels between an athlete, and an actor, or a performer.  We also discuss how being a licensed psychotherapist has helped shape him as a baseball coach and mentor.

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Our guest’s resources: The New Toughness Training for Sports, The Only Way to Win, 10 Minute Mental Toughness, The Mental Game of Baseball, Heads Up Baseball

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The Back of the Baseball Card

Phil Cundari is the current Associate Head Coach and Pitching Coach of The Seton Hall University Pirates.

In his 17 year coaching tenure, Cundari has developed 21 professional players, including 9 players competing in pro ball at the time of this recording, including 2013 National League All Star, Jason Grilli.

As a staff, his pitching program has been rewriting the Seton Hall and BIGEAST conference record books.

For the 2016 season, the Pirates led the BIGEAST in strikeouts, wins, opponent batting average, and ranked second with a team ERA of 3.21. His staff’s 465 punch outs were second in program history.

These BIG EAST conference pitching rankings have been incredibly consistent from season to season, always finishing among the conference leaders across numerous categories, which has also resulted in a collection of all-conference performers.

For example, In 2014, Josh Prevost was named BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year and Second Team All-America.

In 2012, Phil Cundari received the “Distinguished Service to College Baseball” award, from the New Jersey Sports Writer’s Association.

Cundari’s promotion to Associate Head Coach came on the heels of a tremendous 2011 season in which the program won its second BIG EAST Championship in Cundari’s tenure. Cundari’s pitching staff led the conference in earned run average and was second in strikeouts, opponent batting average, innings pitched and hits allowed. Joe DiRocco was named Most Outstanding Player of the BIG EAST Championship and became the first Pirate to receive ABCA All-America honors since 1997.

For the impressive work of his pitching staff in 2011, Cundari was named National Pitching Coach of the Year.

As a player, Phil played collegiately for Seton Hall, and currently ranks 2nd in career wins, fifth in games started, and 7th in strikeouts in just three seasons.  In 1985, he earned the BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year Award and was named a 2nd Team All-American. Cundari’s 1.22 ERA in BIG EAST conference games still stands as the conference record. Following his junior year, he was drafted by the Oakland A’s, playing 4 seasons before a career ending injury.

For his success at The Hall, Phil Cundari has been elected to the Seton Hall Athletics Hall of Fame.

In addition, Coach Cundari is a licensed psychotherapist, specializing in peak performance and mental toughness training. Phil runs his own private practice as a sports performance consultant.

I would personally like to add, that in my humble opinion, Phil is one of the great men in baseball.  A true gentleman, who treats both the game and its players with the utmost respect, a true professional, and I am honored to have him, another NJ native,  on this episode of The Baseball Drive Podcast.