Danny Penn: For the love of baseball and softball

Saturday, December 31, 2022
Head Coach for Nevada Tiger baseball and Nevada Lady Tiger softball Danny Penn showing a Lady Tiger softball player what to do during practice.
File Photo

Out of all of the sports that the Nevada Tigers compete in, none have the mental and physical challenge as baseball does. A sport that the Tigers have been very successful in the past, it is only fitting to have the program run by one of the best players to play baseball for Nevada. Yesterday, Nevada Daily Mail had a chance to have an interview with the one and only, Danny Penn.

Penn is currently the Head Varsity Coach for the Nevada Tiger Baseball team. But like many others who fell in love with the sport of baseball, it all started when he was young. “I grew up playing baseball after learning the game from my dad,” quoted Coach Penn. “He was a big Twins fan and so we went to a lot of Kansas City/Minnesota games. The Braves were on TBS all the time, so I watched baseball whenever I could. I also played a ton of Ken Griffey Jr., on Super Nintendo. All of these things helped grow my knowledge and love of the game.”

Penn graduated from Nevada High School in 2003 and was a stellar player for the Tigers. After his playing career was over for Nevada and was heading to college, teaching wasn’t the first thing on his mind. However in June of 2012, he was announced as the new Head Coach for the Nevada Tiger Baseball program. “I grew up in a household with two parents that were nurses and emphasized the importance of doing something to help others,” said Penn. “While I wouldn’t say I had no interest in becoming a teacher or coach, there were other careers that seemed more interesting as I was nearing HS graduation. Within a couple of years, though, I recognized teaching and coaching were ways I could have a positive impact on kids and hopefully be a positive role model.”

Penn was replacing Coach Marty Atnip after his only year coaching the Tigers. Penn had an opportunity to be an Assistant Coach while Coach Atnip was in charge before taking the ropes on the program. When talking about his early years in coaching, Penn stated that is was helpful to see how Coach Atnip ran things. “When I came to Nevada, I only had one year experience, and that was as an assistant. Working with Coach Atnip allowed me to see how another coach ran a program and let me pick things up along the way.”

While baseball is one of the sports Penn coaches, he is also the Head Coach for the Nevada Lady Tiger softball program since 2019 after being an Assistant Coach to Coach Tammy Holcomb, who led the program to win the State Title in 2010. Penn may be the one who is listed as the main Varsity Coach for the Tigers, but it isn’t done without a little bit of help from others. One of those people who has helped the Tigers as much as Penn has is the Assistant Coach and JV Head Coach Kyle Talley. When speaking about Talley, Penn had nothing to say except great things.

“Working with Coach Talley has been an extremely beneficial experience for me. He is incredibly cerebral about different ways of approaching different situations a team may find itself in during the course of a game. He is a selfless individual who has no ego and truly will do anything to help, whether it is with field prep, giving players extra reps after a practice, or checking on the field after a heavy rain. I’ve learned an incredible amount from Coach Talley and know that our program would be nowhere near as successful without him.”

Wrapping up the conversation with Coach Penn, the topic on the Nevada Tiger Baseball program and its future popped up. Penn gave a very straight forward answer. “I think the Nevada Baseball Program is one the community can be proud of. I’m biased but feel that the four coaches, all Nevada alums, are good baseball coaches but great role models for our players. There are going to be highs and lows in baseball seasons, just as in life, and handling the highs with class and fighting through the lows with determination and hard work are good life lessons for all of us, players and coaches alike.”

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