Darin Van Tassell Leads International Baseball Push
By Donald Heath
Darin Van Tassell is leaving on a 16-hour flight to
Baseball games in the eight-team tournament begin Aug. 13.
"It's the same thing as being commissioner of (Major League Baseball)," said Van Tassell about his unique summer job. "Just about everything you can imagine falls under your umbrella. You name it, I'm going to be doing it."
The 40-year-old Van Tassell rattled off a job description that includes overseeing playing fields, game management, drug testing, picking all-tournament teams, scheduling games and practice times, and hosting dignitaries.
He has worked in a similar capacity for the International Baseball Federation for the last three years.
"Baseball is a vehicle to connect different nations, economies, whatever demarcation you want to talk about," Van Tassell said. "During the next 2 ½ weeks, the Olympics provide an enormous sense of hope (for global unity)."
Baseball and international affairs were a likely marriage for Van Tassell. He has a bachelor's degree in political science from
He currently works as an associate professor at GSU, teaching in the Center for International Studies and the Department of Political Science.
In his classroom, a sign reads, "In the end, we protect only what we love, we love only what we understand and we will understand only what we are taught."
"For me, baseball and international studies aren't separate," Van Tassell said. "Baseball allows me to see the world and the classroom allows me to teach about it."
In 1989, Van Tassell received his first international coaching opportunity when he traveled to
He said Eagles head coach Jack Stallings, a pioneer in pushing baseball globally, was instrumental in the opportunity. Stallings was an assistant coach with Team
"(Stallings) laid a lot of the groundwork for the game becoming international," Van Tassell said. "His help meant everything to me."
Van Tassell, a member of the GSU Athletic Hall of Fame, played for Stallings from 1985-89 and worked as an assistant coach from 1994-99 until Stallings retired.
Van Tassell helped national teams worldwide get to first base. He worked with squads from
Van Tassell, at 28, the youngest head coach in Olympic history, led
Van Tassell's opportunities skyrocketed. During this three-year run to prepare for the Olympics, he has been an administrator at the European Championships in
In 2003, he helped the IBAF at the World Cup in
"The game of baseball is no longer just an American game," Van Tassell said. "I'm quite fortunate and humbled to do this."
- Category: Baseball
- Published on Tuesday, 05 August 2008 00:25