When you work in the sports world whether it be writing, as an athlete or working for a sports brand you meet some incredible people. Over the last few months I’ve gotten to know a bright young man who is attending Grand Valley State University. He is going to be graduating this coming Spring in Sports Management. He was also recently hired as the Head Coach for Wayland Union High School Junior Varsity’s Baseball team. I’ve never met anyone who loves baseball as much as Kevin does. After many talks with him about baseball, life and his passion for wanting to teach kids Kevin has a bright future ahead of him. Here is what Kevin had to say about his passion and his future.
What made you want to play baseball?
I started playing tball when I was 5 and from there It was just a game I really enjoyed playing and all my friends had fun just playing the game
What are your earliest memories of baseball?
My earliest memories of baseball would have to be playing sandlot baseball in my hometown of lansing Illinois. We used to get around 10-15 guys on the baseball diamond and just have fun playing ball
Who were some of the baseball players who inspired you growing up?
I would say my favorite player growing up was Kerry wood because I loved the cubs and I thought Kerry woods movement on his curveball was filthy. As I got older I started to admire Curtis Granderson, whom I was fortunate enough to meet because he is a legend at my high school. He epitomizes the way you are supposed to conduct yourself as a major league baseball player
Did you play any other sports before you made it to College and if so how were they different from playing baseball?
I would actually say I was a bigger football player than I was baseball player in high school, I played QB and just love the game of football because of the team element. Baseball for me is a little different because it is still a team game but as a pitcher you are all alone by yourself on the mound
What were your goals going into College in terms of playing baseball?
To be honest the only real main goal going into college was to get my tuition payed for and to make sure I busted my butt to be the best player I could be. As I made my way into playing college baseball my only real goal was to make the World Series and win it.
Do you feel you met those goals?
Well, I met the first goal of getting my tuition mostly payed for which is something I am very grateful for in this age where a college education is so expensive. I never achieved the goal of making it to the world series but I can honestly say the teammates and brothers I have made through the years through playing college baseball is something that can never be taken away from me.
Did you have aspirations of trying out for a Minor League Baseball team?
It has crossed my mind yeah, I’m not sure what the future holds in that aspect but as of right now I would say I probably wouldn’t try out. Baseball is a humbling sport and at some point you have to realize that its time to hang up the cleats and move on with what I want to do in my career.
You’re attending Grand Valley State University and graduating in the Spring of 2016. What are you hoping to accomplish with your sports management degree?
I would love to hopefully one day land a job in a college or high school athletic department somehow, I love working with student athletes so I would love to be in a spot where I get to interact and make a difference in student athletes lives
You were recently hired by Wayland Union School district to be the Junior Varsity Coach. How do you feel about this opportunity?
I am extremely excited about being hired at Wayland Union High School. I feel like this is an outstanding opportunity in a great school district to not only gain experience in coaching but also be a part of something special happening in the baseball program. I was lucky enough to meet Travis Wilcox and we talked on a few occasions about potentially coaching and I am really looking forward to joining him and Joe Slagter, John Stowe and the rest of the Wayland Baseball staff as we get going here relatively soon.
What do you hope to accomplish for Wayland Union High School’s Baseball program?
I hope I am able to teach these young guys the right way to play the game of baseball and really try and emphasize the fundamentals of the game. I know Travis has laid an awesome foundation with the baseball program at Wayland already so I’m excited to go in there and bring some energy and intensity as we are looking to not only be competitive in every game and win games but also to have fun doing it.
With your passion for baseball, your sports management degree from GVSU and the experience you’re going to get from coaching what do you ultimately hope to accomplish?
I just love the game of baseball and sports in general, I’m trying to stay around the game and young athletes of the game for as long as I possibly can because it is something I am passionate about about and something I love doing.
Any closing thoughts?
Thank you Joey for taking the time to interview me, its been fun going back and forth talking sports with you and I look forward to all the conversations we are going to have this year when Wayland Baseball takes the field. Go Cats!