UND Staff

Sherard Clinkscales

Baseball Assistant Coach

  • Sherard Clinkscales feature story from Irish Eyes (Nov. 13, 2006)

    Sherard Clinkscales – a standout pitcher at Purdue and a former
    Kansas City Royals top prospect who later spent 10 years
    in Major League scouting – is embarking on his third season as
    a Notre Dame assistant coach. Clinkscales serves as the Irish
    pitching coach while also assisting with recruiting and overseeing
    the program[apos]s student welfare operation.

    During his first full year at Notre Dame, Clinkscales helped
    the Irish attract the nation[apos]s fourth-ranked recruiting class while
    also making a positive impact on several of the Notre Dame
    pitchers. Most notably, David Phelps rebounded from a rocky
    freshman season to become a first team all-BIG EAST performer
    in 2007 – when he won eight games and compiled a
    1.88 ERA, with 102 strikeouts, only 30 walks and 96 hits
    allowed in 110.1 innings.

    Clinkscales also had a profound impact on another righthander,
    Joey Williamson, whose strong junior season in 2007
    (2.81, 53 Ks, 16 BB, 51.1 IP) led to him being drafted and signed
    by the Colorado Rockies. Current junior Eric Maust (3.65, 32
    Ks, 7 BB, 44.1 IP) also quickly excelled under the watchful eye
    of Clinkscales while compiling a 4.6 strikeout-to-walk ratio and
    a lowly rate of 1.4 walks per 9.0 innings (both marks rank
    among the best in Irish baseball history).

    Clinkscales[apos] efforts with the pitching staff were even more
    evident in 2008. Notre Dame was the only team in the BIG
    EAST Conference to place its entire weekend rotation on the
    all-league ballot.Wade Korpi (6-3, 3.59) and Maust (6-3, 4.52)
    were each second-team selections, while Phelps (5-5, 4.65) was
    an honorable-mention choice. Clinkscales[apos] also was instrumental
    in the development of freshmen hurlers[apos] Ryan Sharpley, Brian Dupra, Evan Danieli,Todd Miller and Cole Johnson. The quintet
    combined to make 16 starts for the Irish and posted a 9-8
    record with a 4.50 ERA in 160.0 innings of work. They fanned
    122 and walked 56.

    Major League baseball also noticed Clinkscales[apos] work as the
    Irish had five members of their pitching staff drafted in the top
    24 rounds of the 2008 MLB draft. The previous record for Notre
    Dame pitchers drafted was three (2006; Jeff Samardzija, Jeff
    Manship,Tom Thorton). After Kyle Weiland was selected on the
    first day (third round, Boston Red Sox), Phelps, Korpi, Brett
    Graffy and Sam Elam were all taken between the 14th and 24th

    A record-setting strikeout ace at Purdue, Clinkscales was the
    31st pick in the 1992 Major League draft, going to the Royals
    as a compensatory pick after the first round. The Royals also
    selected future big leaguers Michael Tucker, Jim Pittsley, Johnny
    Damon and Jon Lieber within the first 44 picks of the [apos]92 draft.
    After injuries cut short his playing career, Clinkscales parlayed
    his connections into a position with the Atlanta Braves as an
    area-scouting supervisor (1997-99).The Indianapolis native later
    was the Tampa Bay Devil Rays assistant director of scouting
    (1999-2001) and returned to the Braves as an area scouting
    supervisor (2001-05) before being promoted to the position of
    professional scout in 2005-06.

    The son of former minor-league baseball player Lester
    Clinkscales – a left-handed pitcher who reached triple-A
    Indianapolis during an 11-year career in the White Sox organization
    – the younger Clinkscales was an all-county pitcher at
    Brebeuf Jesuit High School. He also was an all-county point
    guard for the BJHS basketball team that beat powerhouse Pike
    in the 1989 sectionals before losing on a last-second shot to a
    Lawrence North squad led by future North Carolina standout
    Eric Montross. His teammates at Brebeuf Jesuit included future
    NBA player Alan Henderson.

    Clinkscales was a scholarship baseball player at Purdue while
    also playing for Gene Keady[apos]s 1989-90 basketball
    team, as an invited walk-on (he turned
    down full scholarship offers from D-I basketball
    schools). His breakout baseball season came as a
    junior, earning ABCA all-region and first team
    all-Big Ten Conference honors while leading
    longtime coach Dave Alexander[apos]s 1992 squad in
    ERA (2.34), strikeouts (87), wins (7), complete
    games (9) and innings (80.2). He earlier was
    invited to attend tryouts for the 1991 United
    States Olympic team.

    His pro career included playing with the single-
    A Eugene (Ore.) Emeralds and Rockford
    (Ill.) Royals, before being released in 1995. He
    earlier returned to Purdue to complete his requirements before graduating in 1994 with a degree in history.

    Clinkscales was contacted in 1996 by then Atlanta Braves
    assistant general manager Dean Taylor (now Vice President-
    Baseball Operations/Assistant General Manager of the Kansas
    City Royals) and made a strong impression in his interview with
    GM John Schuerholz and director of scouting Paul Snyder, a
    legend in the scouting community. Clinkscales went on to serve
    in 1997 as the Braves[apos] area scouting supervisor for the mid-
    Atlantic region and held the same title in 1998-99 for the
    Midwest region. In his mid-Atlantic position, Clinkscales
    replaced Dayton Moore – who has gone on to become assistant
    GM for the Braves and general manager of the Royals.

    The role of area scouting supervisor involved overseeing
    evaluations of high school and college players, with associate
    scouts reporting directly to Clinkscales. He also handled scouting
    big-league clubs during those years.

    Clinkscales first crossed paths with the current Notre Dame
    head coach in 1998, when Dave Schrage was at Northern Iowa.
    The Braves later used their seventh-round pick in 1998 to select
    UNI[apos]s Scott Sobkowiack, who pitched with the big-league club
    before career-ending elbow surgery.

    The fall of 1999 saw Clinkscales become assistant director of
    scouting with a Devil Rays franchise owned by Notre Dame
    graduate Vince Naimoli. He evaluated elite players nationwide
    while coordinating draft operations and handling all budgeting
    for domestic and international scouting. While in Tampa, he
    completed a 2001 executive training program and worked
    alongside respected talent evaluator Dan Jennings (now the
    Florida Marlins Vice President, Player Personnel and Assistant
    General Manager).

    Clinkscales returned to the Braves in the fall of 2001 and
    served four years as an area-scouting supervisor in Indiana,
    Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee. Clinkscales[apos] most recent position
    of professional scout included evaluating minor-leaguers in the
    Carolina and Midwest leagues. He also served as an advance
    scout in the 2004-05 playoffs, providing a complete scouting
    report of the Boston Red Sox.

    In the role of professional scout, Clinkscales – who was
    instrumental in signing Australian National Team standout and
    eventual Major League pitcher Peter Moylan – reported directly
    to Schuerholz and Moore, who accepted his new post with the
    Royals in 2006.

    During recent off-seasons, Clinkscales worked alongside cofounder
    Scott McGowan with After Sport Group, an organization
    that conducts on-campus career workshops for

    Clinkscales emerged as one of the nation[apos]s top prospects as
    a junior at Purdue. The three-year starter compiled a 5.01 career
    ERA and 14-14 record in 41 appearances (36 starts), with 190
    strikeouts, 173 walks and 38 more innings pitched (196) than
    hits allowed (158). His 14 complete games included three solo
    shutouts and a no-hitter. He still owns Purdue[apos]s top career
    strikeout average (8.72 Ks/9 IP), ranks fourth in fewest hits
    allowed per 9.0 innings (7.26, best since [apos]71) and eighth in
    strikeouts (190, most among three-year players).

    His 1992 season ranks among the best ever at Purdue, as he
    tied team records for strikeouts (87) and complete games (9)
    while posting a 2.34 ERA that is second-best in the record book
    and tops in the past 40 years. His 1992 strikeout average (9.71/9
    IP) was best in Purdue history and now ranks second, while his
    6.0 hits allowed per 9.0 IP is best by a Purdue pitcher since the
    late 1960s (sixth overall).

    After compiling similar seasons in 1990 (6.13, 4-6, 55 Ks, 57
    BB, 48 H in 61.2 IP), and 1991 (7.71, 3-4, 48 Ks, 58 BB, 56 H,
    53.2 IP), Clinkscales had the breakout that earned him the second-
    most votes for 1992 Big Ten pitcher of the year. During his
    junior season, Purdue split a pair of games versus a 1992 Notre
    Dame squad that featured future big leaguers Craig Counsell
    and Chris Michalak.

    Clinkscales was a member of the 1989-90 Purdue basketball
    team that finished as Big Ten runner-up and lost to Texas in the
    NCAAs. His teammate and roommate on the road was Matt
    Painter, now head coach of the Boilermakers.

    He and his wife, the former Trisha Lashan Smith (a graduate
    of Ball State), were married in 1995 and are the parents of
    a son, Alex (10), and a daughter, Tara (9).