Program Spotlight: Middlebury College

Head Coach Mike Leonard of Middlebury College shared with players a look into his recruiting process and how student-athletes can stand out during the recruiting process.

The Panthers are an NCAA Division III school that competes in the New England Small College Athletic Conference. The Panthers regularly compete for a conference championship and have put together some impressive seasons in recent years.

“Spend some time researching schools and self-reflecting on what you hope to bring to a college team.”

– Coach Leonard, Middlebury College
courtesy of

Quick Facts

School:Middlebury College
Division:NCAA Division III
Conference:New England Small College Athletic Conference
Location:Middlebury, VT
Student Population:2,500
Questionnaire:Recruit Form

Recruiting Q&A – with Head Coach Mike Leonard

What are your typical scouting methods?

Academic Showcases, institutional camps, and tournaments.

How do you recommend players contact you if they are interested in your program?

Email and questionnaire or direct message on social media to an assistant.

If a player contacts you, what are you most interested in?

Video, grades, and coach references.

Any general advice for players that want to play college baseball?

Spend some time researching schools and self-reflecting on what you hope to bring to a college team. Being prepared to talk about those things helps in the recruiting process and sets the player apart from others.

>> Read more: Recruiting Q&As from college coaches <<

Program Overview – Panthers Baseball

Since its inception in 1881, Middlebury College’s baseball program has been a mainstay in New England. The team made history in 2006 by winning its first NESCAC Championship and qualifying for the NCAA Regionals, a feat that had never been achieved before. This particular squad set multiple team records, including most wins in a season with 26, a record that was later tied in 2019. The 2022 team added to the program’s legacy by capturing its second NESCAC Championship, breaking several statistical records and setting a new program record with 31 victories in a single season. Over the past four seasons, the Panthers have maintained an average of over 20 wins, making it to the NESCAC Championship game in 2017, 2019, and 2022.

Head Coach Mike Leonard took over the Panther’s program in 2016, and prior to that, he was the head baseball coach at Bates College from 2010-2016 and at Elms College in 2010. Leonard also served as an assistant baseball coach at St. Lawrence University from 2009-2010. Under his leadership, the Middlebury baseball team achieved numerous accomplishments, including winning the 2022 NESCAC Championship, breaking over two dozen individual and team records in 2022, and reaching the NCAA Regional Final in the same year. In addition, Leonard coached the 2022 NESCAC Player and Pitcher of the Year, as well as the 2018 Pitcher of the Year and the 2018 Defensive Player of the Year. Leonard was named the 2022 NESCAC Coach of the Year and the 2022 D3 Baseball Region 1 Coach of the Year.

The Panthers host several camps throughout the year which can be a great opportunity for players to showcase their skills to the coaching staff. For the most up-to-date camp info, please visit the program’s website here.

School Overview – Middlebury College

Middlebury College is a private liberal arts college located in Middlebury, Vermont. Founded in 1800, it is one of the oldest liberal arts colleges in the United States. Middlebury College offers undergraduate degrees in more than 50 majors, and also offers graduate degrees in areas such as environmental studies, education, and language teaching.

Middlebury College is known for its strong commitment to environmental sustainability, with initiatives such as a biomass plant, solar arrays, and a recycling program that diverts more than 50% of waste from landfills. The college has also taken steps to reduce its carbon footprint, such as using renewable energy sources and implementing energy-efficient practices across campus.

Academically, Middlebury College is highly selective, with an acceptance rate of around 15%. The college is known for its rigorous academics, with a strong focus on the liberal arts. Students are required to complete a variety of courses across different disciplines, with the goal of developing a broad understanding of the world.

The college has a diverse student body, with students from all 50 states and more than 70 countries. The campus is located in a picturesque setting, surrounded by the Green Mountains and close to Lake Champlain. Students have access to a range of recreational activities, including hiking, skiing, and kayaking.

Middlebury College is also known for its language programs, offering one of the most extensive language programs of any college in the United States. Students can choose from more than 30 languages to study, and the college is known for its strong programs in languages such as Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, and Russian.

The college has a strong tradition of community service, with a range of programs aimed at addressing social and environmental issues. The college also has a strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, with initiatives aimed at creating a more inclusive campus culture.

Middlebury College has a strong alumni network, with notable alumni including author and environmentalist Bill McKibben, former Secretary of State John Kerry, and actor and writer Jake Gyllenhaal. The college has also produced numerous Fulbright scholars and Rhodes scholars.

Middlebury College is a highly selective and academically rigorous liberal arts college known for its strong commitment to environmental sustainability, extensive language programs, and diverse student body. The college is located in a beautiful setting and offers a range of opportunities for students to engage in community service and athletic activities. With its strong academic reputation and commitment to creating a more inclusive and sustainable world, Middlebury College is a great choice for students seeking a well-rounded education.

Closing Remarks

Coach Leonard offered up some really valuable advice to players to help them stand out in the recruiting process. If a player is prepared to share what they can bring to the program can really separate a player from another recruit. This shows coaches several qualities that they will be looking for such as preparedness, honesty, and a genuine interest in the process.

We would like the thank Coach Leonard for his time and for sharing some thoughts with players. Best of luck to the Panthers in their upcoming season!