Montclair State University baseball’s 2020 season starts next week with first year manager Dave Lorber taking over a Red Hawks program that is looking for their first winning season since 2016. Lorber became the 12th coach in school history with a program that has won three Division III National Championships.
Lorber, who grew up in New Jersey playing and coaching baseball, felt Montclair State was an opportunity he had to take.
Before Lorber got into coaching, he played middle infielder at Brookdale Community College. Lorber helped the program get to the 2005 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) World Series as a two-year starter and two-time all-region and all-conference selection.
Lorber then went on to Central Connecticut State University, helping the Blue Devils to the finals of the 2007 Northeast Conference Championship Tournament.
After graduating, Lorber was focusing on preparing for the police academy to hopefully become a police officer. This all changed when he got a coaching opportunity from Johnny Johnson, the head coach at his former alma mater Brookdale.
Lorber took the job and worked his way up through the ranks of multiple divisional programs. He helped coach at Stony Brook University, bringing the team to the College World Series in 2012, as well as doing recruiting and helping infielders at Division I George Washington University. His most recent coaching job was head coach of Stockton University Baseball last season, where he doubled their win total.
Montclair State was too good of an opportunity pass up for Lorber, who has many goals for the Red Hawks’ upcoming season. Playing for championships, building a proud program and engaging alumni are the goals and focus point in which Lorber hopes to accomplish for the 2020 season.
Lorber puts the importance of players at the forefront of his coaching, explaining that having a connection to the person is bigger to him than just being a baseball player.
“Developing young men to see where they start at age 15 to 16 as a recruit to where they are when they are 22 to 23-years-old is the most rewarding part of coaching,” Lorber said.
Over time, Lorber has watched baseball through different lenses. The first was when he was younger, cheering on teams like the New York Yankees. Now, he focuses on great coaches and managers and their game plans and mindsets toward their team. Some of his favorite baseball coaches to watch in depth are Joe Maddon, Joe Girardi and even Greg Popovitch, who does not coach baseball but is one of most regarded coaches in the NBA.
One important moment that stands out to Lorber in his short time coaching Montclair State so far is off-season lifts and workouts with the guys. This is where he saw freshmen working out with seniors and the entire team being mixed up in groups they created themselves.
Lorber took a second to reflect during that moment on the big picture of what he was beginning to create.
“I am proud of what we are starting to build,” Lorber said. “Proud so far, but [the team has] a long way to go.”
Ultimately, Lorber wants to instill that passion of the game that he was taught when he began playing. He began to fall in love with the sport when his older sister’s friends taught him the game of baseball.
Lorber is trying his hardest to fix the program as a whole, rather than the product that is being presented on the field.
Senior catcher Justin Bates talked about the change in coaching and the impact Lorber has made so far.
“Since the first day [Lorber] came to Montclair State, he made it clear that one thing he wanted out of his team is that players became better on the field, but more importantly, better people off the field and in the community,” Bates said.
Lorber is picking up the pieces and connecting to his team to mold them into something great.
Bates described the feel of a new era being made under Lorber.
“He has brought to the table a sense of brotherhood, togetherness and communication that has lacked in the past,” Bates said.
Lorber has seen it all throughout his different journeys through multiple college divisions. This gives him knowledge of what it will take to be successful at Montclair State. Lorber is thankful for his past and where he comes from, and hopes to impact many lives on his journey and the future that is in front of him as the Red Hawks’ new head coach.
The love of one of America’s favorite pastimes is why he keeps pushing to be great, day in and day out.