ACS: D.J. Engle, Lakeland University Baseball

D.J. Engle
Assistant Baseball Coach, Lakeland University
official bio here

Assistant Baseball Coach, Bismark Sharks (Northwoods League)
Alma Mater: Chicago State University
Hometown: Milwaukee
Twitter: @CoachEngleLU

The moment you first realized that you might like to make coaching part of your career? I first found out that I would want to get into coaching at a young age. I was in second year of college, my redshirt freshman year at College of Lake County (DII Juco). My roommate at the time had a tie to the Milwaukee Boys and Girls Club which was running camps for the Milwaukee RBI Program, and asked if I would like to get involved with it. Of course, me being young and loving the game of baseball, I jumped at the opportunity not necessarily thinking anything of it more than just fun over winter break. Over the course of the camps, I realized just how satisfying it was to help the younger generation develop at the game that I loved. Over the course of my season, and some of their seasons, parents would reach out to tell me how well their child was doing, and that alone was more gratifying than me doing well myself.

Outside of mentors, talk about one way you’ve learned some aspect of coaching. Just throughout my experiences in my young career I have learned a lot about leading and motivating a team. Not every team will be that “rah-rah” bunch, some will be silently aggressive, or locked-in and laser focused. I have come to realize that it does not always take a coach resorting in punishment in order to motivate a team, and there are many different ways for a coach to get his team ready for success.

If you could go back to your rookie coach self and give one piece of advice, what would it be? My advice to my rookie coach self would be two pieces actually. My first piece of advice would be to always have a plan for everything; plan for yourself, plan for you team, plan for a practice, plan for a game, etc. There is not and never will be such thing as being over-prepared. Which leads into my next point; you must always be prepared for any situation you can think of. You must hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst. If you can ultimately do this, no situation should catch you by surprise.

Best career or work advice you ever received? The best advice I have ever received came from my father after I finished my playing career. When I finished I explained to my parents that I did not want to pursue a career in the field of my degree but that I wanted to coach baseball. My father told me, “If you want to do this, go for it and give it everything you have. Just remember to never lose the love of this game, because once that happens it will not be a game anymore.”

Your dream lunch date. One coach. Any sport. Any level. Who is it? This answer is exceptionally tough because there are so many great leaders over the years. For me personally, it would have to be Nick Saban, the head football coach at the University of Alabama. Coach Saban, has seen his share of peaks and valleys throughout his career, and is once again back atop the college football mountain. It would be pleasure to pick this man’s brain just to see how he has dealt with his failures and turned it into such great success. The record and championships speak for themselves.

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