TAG BOZIED: University of San Francisco
Tag Bozied lived by the motto that was hanging in the locker room at USF, “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” Tag’s story is a perfect ill
By Greg Shepard
Published: Winter 1999
Baseball America named Tag Bozied a first team All-America and a unanimous choice for West Coast Conference Player of the Year. His performance earned him an invitation to the 1999 summer camp for the USA National Baseball Team. Tag made the cut and was one of only 22 that made this elite team which features the very top college players in the nation. It is, in fact, the very top USA amateur team. They call it the Senior National Collegiate baseball team.
Forty players were invited and after six days, at breakfast, the decision came through! “That morning was tension filled,” Tag admitted. “It was a dream come true! I know the caliber of players who made it before. I made the team as a first baseman so guys like Mark McGwire, Raphael Palmero, Frank Thomas, Will Clark, and Jason Giambi were also at that position.”
The tryouts were held in Tucson last June and they played in the Pacific Northwest, Southwest and Midwest before playing the Japan Collegiate All-Star Team in Japan.
“Japan was a great experience being in a totally different culture” beamed Tag. “We played in Japan, Korea, Mexico, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. We also played our Pan Am team which we lost by a 7-1 score. The Pan-Am team is made up of our best Triple A and Double A players.”
Tag plays for the University of San Francisco and set eight single-season records for the Dons: most home runs (30), RBI (82), batting average (.412), runs (71), hits (84), extra base hits (45), total bases (191) and slugging percentage (.936) all in 56 games.
“I approached the entire season day-to-day and just tried to do the best I could each day,” Bozied said after the season finale. “If I were to look back at the numbers I guess you could say I was a bit surprised they were that high, but I think I prepared myself for success this year.”
Tag began lifting weights with his dad, Bob Bozied who is one of our BFS Clinicians and also the head football coach at Arvada High School in a suburb of Denver. Tag was 5-10 and 185 pounds as a 9th grader. By his senior year he was 6-2, 205 and could Parallel Squat 420, Bench 210 and Power Clean 225 pounds. Tag also had a Vertical Jump of 35 and ran a 4.7 forty.
However, that's not the whole story. Tag could only run a 6.0 forty as a 9th grader. “My dad started me on the BFS Flexibility Program and the Dot Drill immediately to improve my time,” Tag remembered, “I was the butt of many jokes because of my lack of speed. That's what drove me.”
Tag played football, basketball and baseball in high school. “My dad always stressed to play all sports to be a balanced athlete,” said Tag. He graduated with a 3.92 GPA, good enough for 13th in a class of 400 plus. Tag played for Adams City High School (1993-96) and for Arvada his senior year. He was selected all-conference in baseball four times, including an all-Colorado honor as a senior. Tag averaged 20.0 points per game as a junior in basketball. In football, he ranks sixth on the state's all-time career passing list.
Every professional baseball team is required to draft at least 52 players. Tag was drafted 51st by the Twins out of high school. “But when I signed with the University of San Francisco,” stated Tag, “which is a four-year college, the Twins lost control of me.
“I was not a priority player by any stretch of the imagination. I wanted to come to USF because I knew it was the right place for me. I felt I could start right away and help the team win.” Tag is a Business Administration major. “But I want to be a football coach. My mom thinks I'm crazy,” Tag chuckled.
The University of San Francisco was founded in 1855 and has always remained faithful to its Jesuit mission for preparing men and women as leaders in service to others. The University now enrolls 8,000 students. Athletically the Dons are most famous for the Bill Russell era where they won back-to-back national basketball championships (1955,1956). USF is located in the heart of San Francisco on 55 hilltop acres with beautiful vistas, and magnificent views.
The Dons play Division I NCAA baseball in the West Coast Conference which includes Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine, San Diego, Santa Clara, Gonzaga, Saint Mary's and Portland. Non-conference opponents include some of the biggest names in college baseball. The University has remodeled its weight room and strength and conditioning coach John White said, “The new weight room expands our training capabilities tremendously. This demonstrates the desire of USF athletes to step to the fore front of strength and conditioning.”
Tag believes he would be nowhere near where he is today without a strength and conditioning program. “When I go into the weight room,” says Tag, “I go in with an attitude of getting better every time. That helps mentally and physically. You have to be disciplined to lift and that in itself is an important carry over.
“You hear a lot about weights screwing up your skills but stretching is huge. I've lifted probably as consistently as anyone who's played the game and because of my flexibility program, I have never felt tight. But, I have seen guys on steroids get tight or guys that don't stretch get tight.”
Tag had a big rookie season for the Dons earning honorable mention Freshman All-American an all-WCC honors. He hit .326 with four homers and 50 RBI and closed the year with a season-high 15-game hitting streak. Tag was the only USF player to start all 58 games and set a new school record with 456 defensive putouts.
However, no one could have predicted what was to happen the following year. The media guide stated that Tag was expected to be a major part of the Don's formula for success in 1999 both at the plate and on the mound. Yes, he pitched a little on the side. But, several other returning starters were given top billing. Tag was not slated to be the main attraction. What made the difference?
Bob Bozied had a motivational sign at Arvada High School that meant a lot to his son Tag. “It has become my favorite saying. My dad gave me permission to use it here at USF. I put it up in the locker room. I touch it every time I go to workout.
“If you want something
you've never had,
You must be willing to do
something you've never done.”
“Last year preparation became a huge deal. My written goal was to be an All-American. It was quite a stretch from the results of my freshman year. Those words on the sign were very special and meaningful to me.”
Tag's plan for the upcoming season is to take away pressure on himself to hit so may home runs. “But I will prepare even harder,” says Tag. “The goal is what can I do every inning of every game to help my team win. Last year my team went 22-33-1 and that did not sit well with me. Winning for the team is what's most important.”
Inside Tag's hat and batting helmet he always writes, “You are prepared.”
“You get out of something what you put into it,” says Tag. “Success comes through preparation. Don't wait just to let something great happen. Prepare to make it happen.”
Tag never had a drop of alcohol in high school and, of course, the same was true with drugs. “My mom would kill me,” says Tag, “if I chewed, so I never have! In college it has been the same story. I have not even had a soda in over 8 years. My drink of choice is water and orange juice.”
Tag will be draft eligible after this next season, his junior year. The draft will take place next June. He doesn't even think about it. “My goal,” says Tag, “is to prepare and help the team win. Then whatever happens, happens.”
With young men like Tag, our nation will survive and become even greater. What an inspiration! We will use a lot of Tag's methods in our BFS Clinics from now on. I will not wish him luck but wish him continued health so he can continue to prepare and we hope to see Tag making it big in the big league