Auburn baseball adds another former Tiger to staff
ByJASON CALDWELL Jan 16, 9:44 AM
AUBURN, Alabama—Already with former Auburn players Gabe Gross and Blake Logan on his staff along with new addition Tim Hudson, Coach Butch Thompson made it four with former third baseman and nine-year minor leaguer Dan Gamache coming onboard as the student coach for the Tigers for the 2020 baseball season.
A career .337 hitter for Auburn in his three seasons before being drafted in the sixth round by the Pittsburgh Pirates, Gamache hit .270 in nine years in minor league baseball and twice advanced to the AAA level. His best season came in 2015 when he batted .312 with five home runs and 48 RBI in 104 games.
With a wealth of experience and knowledge of the game, Gamache is coming back to Auburn to finish his degree and get valuable time on the field as a coach in the process. Thompson said it’s a win-win in his book.
“I got a chance to recruit Dan, but I never got a chance to coach him,” Thompson said. “To be reunited after he plays nine years of professional baseball is pretty neat. It got to the point where his career was ending and he was so well thought of at Auburn. When you can come back and you were not only a great contributor and a great player,
but also a great person, I have heard from so many people from that era that are so glad Dan is back in school. To be part of another guy that is going to finish off their Auburn degree and knowing he’s going to invest in our program for the next two or three semesters is a benefit of Auburn baseball.”
With his background as a corner infielder, Gamache is someone that Thompson said he believes will fit in and help the Tigers in a number of areas in addition to helping the coaches do their jobs more effectively.
“I kind of laugh, but he’s another fungo and another guy to throw batting practice,” Thompson said. “It’s funny, but it’s so important because it allows the coach to stand with a player instead of hitting to the player. It’s going to be a win-win for (Karl) Nonemaker and Gabe Gross because Dan is a former infielder.
“You imagine playing an average of 140 minor league games a year that you had to pick up something playing the infield. What that’s going to mean to Ryan Bliss and Rankin Woley and all the way down the line. Then when we go hit in the cage it will be someone else with Coach Gross to help them with their swings.”
Gamache is the latest in a line of former players who have come back through the program to finish their degrees with many of them helping out with the program. Closer Gregg Olson helped as a student coach in the fall while finishing his degree, something Logan did as well. Thompson said that’s something he’s excited about continuing.
“I just think it’s a win-win and if we’re defining who we are when we’re at our best we’re helping guys on the front end, on the back end and the rest of their lives,” Thompson said. “I think that’s what we’re supposed to do. Once a family and student athlete makes a commitment I think Auburn does an amazing job and I want to do my part of following that through till the end.
“I figure I have a responsibility to anybody that has put on an Auburn uniform to do anything I can to help them get their degree and to feel welcome back here. I’ll always help them be a part of Auburn for the rest of their lives.”