Assistant Varsity Baseball Coach, Mahopac High School, Mahopac, New York
Health and Physical Education Teacher, Mahopac Central School District
Alma Mater: SUNY Cortland ’09
The moment you first realized that you might like to make coaching part of your career? I first knew that I wanted to coach during my high school playing career. I had always had a love and a passion for baseball since my dad, Joe McGee, introduced me to the game at a young age. He got me hooked on the game and I knew that it would be a major part of my life. I didn’t have the talent to play at the next level but I wanted to stay involved and contribute in another way. I had the opportunity to coach with my dad as a volunteer after college and fell in love with it from day one. Since then, I have had the opportunity to work at two high schools with rich baseball traditions and all-star coaches who have helped to shape who I am as a coach. The knowledge I have acquired from the members of each coaching staff is something I will be forever grateful for. Geoff Curtis and his staff at John Jay Cross River taught me how to carry myself as a coach and how to teach my players how to carry themselves as student athletes. Chris Miller and his coaching staff at Mahopac are some of the best motivators I have ever been around. These coaches are deeply passionate about the game and more importantly, their players. They demand the best out of their players and push them to exceed expectations and their potential. Their enthusiasm for the game is contagious and has made me a better coach. The time that they have dedicated to building their programs is motivating in itself. I consider myself extremely fortunate to be part of these programs and to learn from the best. I look forward to continuing to grow as a coach at Mahopac by learning from our staff, current athletes and future athletes.
Outside of mentors, talk about one way you’ve learned some aspect of coaching. Being a teacher, I get to interact with kids of different ages all day long. I was once told that “you never know when a child is going through at home. It is our responsibility as educators to make every day special for every child.” This has always stuck with me in the classroom and on the baseball field. I owe it to my students and my players to give them the best of me every single day.
If you could go back to your rookie coach self and give one piece of advice, what would it be? Simply put, one piece of advice I would give to my rookie coach self would be to listen. When I first began coaching I was eager to show what I knew and I thought I knew everything. Truth be told, I had a lot to learn and I didn’t know as much as I thought. There are numerous great baseball minds out there with much more experience than me. I have had great opportunities in my coaching career and have been able to take something from every coach I have worked with to build my own style. Listening to a recent baseball podcast a coach mentioned that “baseball knowledge doesn’t discriminate.” There are so many great resources out there for all coaches whether it be clinics, camps, podcasts and videos to take advantage of. Keep your eyes and ears open because there is always knowledge to be gained!
What is your favorite memory from a coaching conference or clinic? I had my first coaching experience right out of college at the age of 21. I was able to attend the Be The Best Baseball Coaches’ Convention in Cherry Hill, NJ with my dad who has over 20 years of baseball coaching experience. Baseball is a bond that we have shared my entire life and going to this clinic with him was something I’ll never forget. The clinic was my first real experience in coaching and getting to listen to all the speakers and seeing the presentations and exhibits, and to do it with my father, was something I took a lot from and fueled my passion for the game even more.
Your dream lunch date. One coach. Any sport. Any level. Who is it? Switching gears from baseball, I would have to say Herb Brooks. Brooks coached in the NHL for a number of years but is more famously known for the Miracle on Ice during the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid. What he accomplished with that team was remarkable. He was able to take a group of individuals, morph them into a team in a short amount of time, and defeat possibly the greatest hockey team ever. It is not always the best team that wins, it is the team that plays the best together that wins. That is our goal as coaches. We will not always have the best team; we will have to figure out how our team works together the best. Being able to put individual awards and statistics aside and having the entire group buy into the team philosophy and goal is that hallmark of a successful program. Having an understanding of how Herb and his staff were able to do that would be immensely valuable