The moment you first realized that you might like to make coaching part of your career?
This happened to me at the age of 14, playing varsity baseball at Morris Knolls High School in Rockaway, New Jersey. I had just recently earned the starting catcher position as we were getting ready to open the season. One day after practice a few of our assistant coaches were making comments about my understanding of the game and positive leadership from the catcher position at a young age being apart of the decision. They were joking around in an argument about who would get to have me as an assistant on their staff some day in the future, saying I was like a coach out on the field. It was a small conversation that they most likely don’t even remember, but it made me realize that some of my coaches saw potential in me to lead my peers. I have been so blessed to now, work alongside some tremendous coaches, and growing up having played for some amazing coaches. Each of them have provided me with something along the way that made me realize this is exactly what I’m meant to be doing.
Outside of mentors, talk about one way you’ve learned some aspect of coaching.
I learned a tremendous amount about coaching through something that may be surprising to some within the game of baseball. I was very active on campus throughout my undergraduate studies. I was fortunate to be named to presidential positions with both my own fraternity and the University Interfraternal Council. Serving as President of each respected organization provided me with an extraordinary amount of experiences that I could have never imagined being responsible for prior to, some that likely most will never experience until holding the position themselves. I understand how the negative light often shined on Greek Life can lead some hesitating to believe there’s similarities between being the President of an Interfraternal Council and coaching college baseball. However, you become extremely humbled in managing hundreds of young men from different backgrounds and parts of life between the ages of 18-22, and work through so many different complex chapters of positives and negatives that force you to understand the value of respecting each and everyone of their opinions the same. You learn that managing, and coaching, is more about listening than it is speaking. I found that to lead the groups successfully you had to have and maintain positive relationships with everyone you encountered, and being able to listen was the most important part of creating and managing those relationships. I am so thankful to now be working with such impressive and similar student-athletes after having gone through those learning experiences.
Name one new thing you want to accomplish this year.
I want, at the completion of the season, for each student-athlete I am coaching to feel as if they are stronger, more dedicated and committed person after having gone through a year of competing alongside one another. I feel that if you commit to the small goal of improving every single day, commit to one another and the work it will take to accomplish the bigger goals you have set together, then the positive results in the scorebook you are hoping for will come too.
What is your favorite memory from a coaching conference or clinic?
I attended the ABCA Convention this winter in Indianapolis and had the opportunity to see Coach Matt Deggs speak. While in graduate school, I was studying management styles and leadership characteristics and one topic we discussed was the differences between transactional and transformational leadership when the Youtube videos of Coach Deggs surfaced about his coaching style and incredible story. I was able to bring those clips into class and lead discussions about the differences after we listened together. The experience was really something coming full-circle for me in my young coaching career.
Your dream lunch date. One coach. Any sport. Any level. Who is it?
John Gruden – Oakland Raiders. I’ve never seen someone with such an obvious passion for something and true love for learning more about it. I would love to learn more about his daily process and efforts in building organizational culture not shown in his time calling Monday Night Football.