Q&A with new Moose Jaw Head Coach Eric Marriott

Moose Jaw, SK – He was a fan favourite patrolling centrefield for the Moose Jaw Miller Express. And now, Eric Marriott is hoping to win over fans in a new way.

The 24-year-old spent two seasons with the club as a player, rarely missing a game and was among the league leaders in stolen bases. He was also applauded for his glove, as he committed just two errors in his time with the Miller Express.

Marriott had been tapped to move into a coaching role for the 2020 season, but the COVID-19 pandemic got in the way of his debut. When Rich Sorensen informed the team he wouldn’t be back as head coach in 2021, Marriott got the call to take the reigns.

“Choosing Eric to be the next head coach was an easy choice,” Moose Jaw general manager Cory Olafson said. “Having a former player that knows the calibre level of the league is a huge plus at the recruiting level.”

It seems like a natural fit for the two sides, as Marriott was already familiar with Moose Jaw thanks to his time as a player and was already working on the recruitment side as an assistant coach.

“Eric’s poise, maturity level and personable nature will certainly help him succeed at his new endeavour,” Olafson concluded.

We posed a series of questions to Marriott about his new role and here’s what he had to say.

Q: How excited are you to be taking the reigns as head coach in Moose Jaw?

A: I am very excited to take over for the Millers. We have a fantastic organization from top to bottom and everyone involved has been supportive since my first day in Moose Jaw as a player and to this day. This will be my fourth year with the organization in some capacity and I am thankful for the opportunity. The community in Moose Jaw has welcomed me with open arms and I can’t wait to get back to Ross Wells Park to see all of our great fans.

Q: How long have you know you wanted to make the transition from player to coach?

A: I’ve always known that I wanted to stay involved in the game long after my playing days were done. After mulling my pro options after my senior season, I decided to accept the job with the Miller Express as it was simply an opportunity that I could not turn down. This is a game where you are constantly learning from others, and I am excited to take the next step in my journey with the Millers.

Q: Any favourite memories of your time as a player with the Miller Express?

A: So many memories in Moose Jaw as a player, where do I begin?! As a player, we made the playoffs both years I was a Miller and the support we received from our fans was amazing! My host parents in Moose Jaw were so supportive of the Millers and did not miss a game, and they are still considered family to this day. Between the winning streaks, the losing streaks, the road trips, the walk-offs, the good times and the bad, I learned so much as a player in Moose Jaw and made lifelong friends along the way.

Q: What kinds of things did you learn from your coaches in Moose Jaw that you hope to impart on the players you bring in?

A: I had the opportunity to play under two coaches during my time here as a player and learned different aspects of the game from each of them. Both coaches trusted me to bat leadoff and play centerfield for the Millers, and I owe it to both of them to allow me to play my style of game out there and helping me win two Gold Gloves. Coach Michael Hunt has been extremely influential throughout my time with the organization. He believed in me as a player and has supported me throughout the entire process of me becoming the next head coach. Michael showed us how to attack the game properly and instilled confidence in his players that made us want to go out there and play hard every night for him, and I wish to create that type of atmosphere amongst my players and be successful along the way.

Q: What kind of team are you hoping to put together and put on the field in 2021?

A: We are looking to be extremely competitive in year one under myself as manager. We have a great amount of talent coming in this summer and as an organization, we are very excited about the product we will be putting on the field. We have a few returners as well as quite a few upperclassmen coming in that I expect to be leaders and play a big role for us, both on and off the field. I look to bring a college like culture to the team focused both on development as well as winning, and we want to bring in the right guys that are good teammates and want to play for each other. I am ecstatic to get the guys together in Moose Jaw watch them grow as ballplayers.

The Miller Express have started to roll out their player commitment announcements, starting with returning pitchers Jeff Nicolosi and Reece Helland. To keep up with the latest from Moose Jaw, follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.