Miami (Ohio) University Baseball – Oxford, Ohio
Hometown: Erie, Pennsylvania
Education: Lee University; Georgia Southern (Masters)
Email: passum [at] miamioh.edu
The moment you first realized that you might like to make coaching part of your career.
My first job after college was selling cars in Cleveland, Tennessee. Once spring came around, I caught myself leaving work often to go watch baseball games. It became pretty clear to me how much I missed the game, and I realized I wanted to start coaching.
Outside of mentors, talk about one or more ways you’ve learned some aspect of coaching.
Based on the first question, think about how much most people dislike car salesmen. While selling cars, I had the opportunity to meet and talk to people with a variety of personalities. Each day I had to build trustworthy relationships with my customers to accomplish the task at hand which was not only to sell a car. This experience made speaking to both players and parents about pursuing college baseball a heck of a lot easier.
If you could go back to your rookie coach self and give one piece of advice, what would it be?
Have some fun and allow the players to do the same! My first year of coaching, I bet it wasn’t very fun to “play” at East Georgia. Everything had to be so serious. If my players did one thing out of line, it was the end of the world to me. I’d love to go back and work with that group again simply for the opportunity to have some fun with them and hopefully make showing up to the park enjoyable.
Best career or work advice you ever received.
I had a teacher in high school who handled questions extremely well. If asked a question and he didn’t know the answer to he simply said, “Good question. I’m not sure about that but I will get back with you tomorrow.” And sure enough, he always came back to the question the next day and answered with the research he found the previous night. I loved that. I had a lot of respect for the fact that he didn’t simply answer off the cuff with a potentially wrong answer. From a coaching perspective, I think it earns credibility with your players. It also challenges you to go home and educate yourself on the topic so you can communicate with your player the next day, so it’s a win-win.
Your dream lunch date. One coach. Any sport. Any level. Living or dead. Who is it?
John Wooden. His books have been an inspiration to me — they have made a huge impact on how I go about being a coach. I also think there’s a chance he would blow my mind with each answer he gave.