Last year, Lovelady had a lead role in the tryout phase for the 14-and-under team, which won a gold medal in Mexico.
“It was really emotional just putting the jersey on,” he said. “I remember when they gave us all our gear the first night, I went home and took a picture and tweeted it because I was so excited.”
His primary role will be to develop the catchers, and he’s had a history of churning out top pro prospects at the position.
He’s had several catchers drafted while at Wright State and during a stint as an assistant at Miami (Fla.), including third-round pick Sean Murphy this year. Lovelady also started behind the plate for the Hurricanes as they won a pair of national titles.
“You get to deal with some really, really high-level players,” Lovelady said. “But they‘re so very green. A lot of things, they never heard before. And they’re sponges. They’re very respectful. It’s ‘yes sir’ and ‘no sir.’ They’re trying to learn as much as they possibly can. They know they need to. They’re young, and they want to make the team.”
Lovelady will have a say in who makes the cut, although he won’t accompany the team in Japan or during an international tune-up in the Pan-American Games in Mexico in late August.
“I can’t imagine what that would be like to have a gold medal around your neck and USA across your chest,” he said. “Hopefully, one year, I’ll get to do it.”