May 17, 2003.
In the first game of a Saturday doubleheader between Big Ten foes Purdue and Michigan, Chris Toneguzzi, Purdue’s starting pitcher, gave up five earned runs across the first two innings — quickly turning into a long day for the Boilermaker bullpen.
However, after Purdue’s offense battled back and grabbed the lead in West Lafayette, Indiana, junior closer Dustin Glant entered the game in hopes of grabbing his fifth save of the season. He pitched a perfect two innings, and the Boilermakers defeated the Wolverines 8-6.
This game stands out for Glant above the rest for a reason he wouldn’t know until a decade later.
Unsuspecting at the time, this game was the first encounter between Glant and then-Michigan head coach Rich Maloney. These two would go on to work together and develop a lifelong bond that would change both of their lives forever.
In 2017, Glant joined Maloney’s coaching staff at Ball State as the Cardinals' pitching coach — a position he held for three seasons. He is now entering his first season as the pitching coach of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees.
Glant pitched for Purdue in the early 2000s before the Arizona Diamondbacks took him in the seventh round of the 2003 MLB Draft. While he never made the MLB, he spent time playing at the Double-A and Triple-A levels before ending his career in the independent leagues.
“I just knew I wasn’t being used in any sort of leveraging situation,” Glant said. “I was throwing the ball well, and I was still not anywhere close. If the phone call comes, it’s not for me, [but] I was in love with playing professional baseball. I wasn’t leaving unless baseball was going to retire me.”
Baseball retired Glant in 2011 when he was playing in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. A couple of years before retiring from playing, many of Glant’s colleagues and connections throughout baseball recommended he transition into coaching — including current Detroit Tigers manager A.J. Hinch.
Although Hinch made a glowing recommendation, Glant said, coaching was something that had sparked his interest as early as his teenage years.
“I remember talking to a pitcher [about] staying focused during a game, and it registered with me right then — it felt natural,” Glant said. “I knew then at some point coaching was what I would do.”
Glant’s first coaching opportunity was also his first professional run-in with Maloney. After coaching at Michigan, Maloney returned to Ball State for his second tenure as head coach in 2013 when Glant also joined as a volunteer pitching coach.
“He understood the pitching analytics that I didn’t,” Maloney said. “You need to have people in your circle that you trust and can talk with — me learning from him and him learning from me.”
After one year with the Cardinals, Glant became head coach of Mount Vernon High School in Fortville, Indiana, before taking over the same position at Lapel High School in Lapel, Indiana, spending one year at each school.
“[Coaching high school baseball] was awesome because it was a one-man show,” Glant said. “You learn how to deal with administration, how to deal with parents, how to fundraise, how to take care of the field ... that’s the beauty of it. You get a crash course in 360-degrees of coaching.”
In 2016, Glant moved up from the high school to college levels when he became the head coach at Anderson University, but his tenure wasn’t long. The following year, Glant returned to Ball State as the Cardinals’ pitching coach.
“I had one year with [Maloney] there in 2013, and he had a really big impact on me as a person and as a coach,” Glant said. “We kind of checked back in with each other and talked about it more. To go back and work with Rich, I am so glad I did it — it was a big springboard to where I am now.”
During Glant’s final season in 2019, the Cardinals recorded 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. He said his relationship with Maloney was a catalyst for his success both on and off the diamond.
“He develops you as a man,” Glant said. “He wants to know about your life off the field. He was giving financial advice — he is a father figure, brother, friend and he is a guy that you can trust. He is a very, very smart pitching man. He wanted to learn, and it was such a good chemistry.”
That chemistry was reciprocated on both sides, and their relationship extended beyond the mound of Ball Diamond. The two would often have dinner together with their wives and spend time chatting about their lives outside of baseball.
“It was kind of like a good marriage,” Maloney said. “I’ve had a lot of outstanding pitching coaches — both at Ball State and Michigan — but Dustin and I have a special bond that is very deep. He was an absolute blessing.”
During his Cardinal tenure, Glant successfully developed right-hander Drey Jameson, who came to Muncie in 2018 after going undrafted out of high school. Under Maloney and Glant’s guidance, the Diamondbacks selected Jameson 34th overall in the 2019 MLB Draft. Jameson said his quick development was partially thanks to Glant’s commitment.
“Coach Glant developed me as a pitcher in a way of being able to command the zone and not worry what the game was dealing to me,” Jameson said. “Coach Glant and I had a really good relationship while I was at Ball State. He kept me accountable, and I liked that about him.”
However, before 2020 rolled up, Glant was offered an opportunity that he said was too good to pass up on — a position in the Yankees organization.
Just as he went from high school to college, Glant went from college to the pros.
“I had several opportunities with major league clubs to make the jump, and I didn’t know I wanted to,” Glant said. “It was the Yankees. It is an honor, and you feel the weight of it. It is awesome to have the expectations of not being everybody else. We are the Yankees.”
Glant is in his first season on the job after COVID-19 concerns cancelled the 2020 Minor League Baseball season. He sees significant differences between the two gigs.
“It’s amazing how talented these guys are,” Glant said. “There’s a huge difference in talent. My natural instinct is to be aggressive, but I have found that a lot of the guys I am working with on a daily basis have substantial big league time. It is a lot more specific here in terms of what guys need to work on.”
Although the connection between Glant and Maloney is now extended more than nearly 600 miles, the two still frequently talk. Their relationship transcends physical bounds as both credit their individual successes partially to each other.
“I hated to see him leave, but I knew he was going to — he was too good,” Maloney said. “In the end, he and Ashley decided to go the pro route — he still had the itch. I’m excited about his future.”
The Cardinals lost a coach and the RailRiders gained one, but no situation or distance can keep Maloney and Glant apart.
Contact Drew Pierce with comments at email@example.com or on Twitter @drewpierce.