Joe Loftus, a 2008 Blizzard alumni, is joining the Minnesota Blizzard baseball program.
Loftus, who went to Holy Angels High School, surpassed Joe Mauer's home run record (14) when he finished his high school career with 27 home runs, an all-time Minnesota record. After being drafted in 28th round by the Minnesota Twins, Loftus opted to attend Vanderbilt where he helped the Commodores to a World Series appearance in 2011 before being drafted again in the 46th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Loftus played for the Blizzard starting in 2003, the Blizzard's first year, through 2008 and played with some of the Blizzard's top prep stars including Miami Marlin's LHP Brad Hand (Chaska), Houston Astros OF Justin Gominsky (Mahtomedi) and Minnesota Twin's Madison Boer (Eden Prairie). The Blizzard's Top Hitter Award is named for Joe - "Joe Loftus" Top Hitter Award.
Adam Barta, Blizzard's owner, said that having Loftus back gives the younger players a chance to look up to someone who played for the Blizzard, played in college and played pro baseball.
"Having Lofty back brings everything full circle," Barta said. "He's been a part of the Blizzard since it started. He knows our vision and values and how we do things. He played at a high level in high school, played at the best Division I in the country and played pro ball. He has a lot to offer."
Loftus said the history, competitiveness and values of the program are just a few reasons he came back.
"The family culture is what brought me back to the Blizzard," Loftus said. "The Blizzard program is where I made life long friends, built lasting relationships and competed at the highest level. It is like a second home to me so I don't think I'm coming back to the Blizzard because I never left. I am very grateful I have the opportunity to work with Adam again and coach some great players. #BlueLove!"
On instructing players at the Academy ...
My goal as an instructor is to help my players get into a position to be successful mechanically, mentally and physically. I have noticed a trend that many of my players learn much faster seeing their mechanics visually so I use a lot of video so they can see the adjustments they need to make to be successful.
On coaching a Blizzard team this year ...
I want these boys to feel like the Blizzard Academy is a second home to them like it was for me. The Blizzard program produces some of the best baseball players around but this program is much more than just baseball. Once you wear a Blizzard jersey you are a part of a family.
What he is looking forward to most coaching with the Blizzard ...
I am looking forward to the van rides with the players. I remember sitting in the back seat making memories with my teammates and coaches. The only difference now is that I will be driving the van now. My favorite moment is when John Anderson hit a curb and popped our vans tire. We had to get out and walk a mile to play our next game.
Loftus graduated from Vanderbilt University with a Business degree and will put both his smarts and baseball skills to work at the Academy. His role will include coaching a Blizzard Elite team, giving individual instruction, help manage ScoutStop events and working at offsite locations.
"Joe is an incredibly bright and very forward thinking," Barta said. "He is going to make us better in every aspect of what we do starting with instruction and coaching. But what is really exciting is that he is very motivated to help grow the brand and continuing to attract the best players in the state of Minnesota."
And Loftus is excited about coaching and instructing again, too.
"I am looking forward to helping players become successful in all aspects of their lives," Loftus said. "I will teach them to take pride in everything that they do. I want to instill a mindset of winning in the classroom and on the field and they will learn to not take any shortcuts and to do things the right way. I want to prepare these boys to be ready for college and professional life."
Barta also explained that having Blizzard alumni come back always makes things more seamless and the transition into 'work' much easier.
"Loftus is a phenomenal instructor and leader," Barta said. "He's a great communicator who is able to work with a baseball beginner and the advanced senior in high school."
Kids will be able to get to know Joe immediately at our Summer Training at Century College, our ScoutStop Midwest Showcase and Blizzard tryouts starting June 22nd. Joe will also be giving lessons at the Blizzard Academy in Vadnais Heights starting immediately.
Welcome back, Joe !
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Holy Angels HS