My brother Brad and I sat down with Coach Cameron, the newly appointed head coach of the varsity baseball team, and the third head coach in the last five years. During our interview with Coach Cameron we discussed the many changes to the field, additions to the coaching staff, and a little taste of what is to come in the spring of 2017.
We started our conversation by asking him to walk through the renovations made to the field over the last four years. Compared to my freshman year (Jake Howell, 2013-2014 school year), the baseball field features a relocated bullpen due to the Smith Center renovation, new covers and banners on the outfield fence, additional fencing that leads down the right field line, a new backstop and scoreboard, and the newest addition being the dugouts. As a baseball player who is impacted by the renovations each year, it has been nice to see how far the field has come from what it was my freshman year through now. With Plevyak Field and the Smith Center, it is nice to see the baseball field come together to match the quality of our other sporting facilities.
Since baseball is still several months away, we asked Coach Cameron if he was going to make any changes to the winter workout program we had in place. “I think the first step is that from the time we stop [Fall Baseball] now early November through the end of the year will be a rest period,” Coach Cameron said. Any baseball player knows this is a big difference from years past. In off-seasons past, we would go from fall ball right into the weight room then right to tryouts. Coach Cameron wants to stress the importance of shutting down for a little bit to give your body time to recharge and refresh.
We then moved to address the announcement that he would be taking over at the helm for the varsity team. After Coach Harris’ departure, the position was open to the public, and there was a lot of interest. We asked him what he thought set him apart from other candidates. Coach Cameron credited his experience as the thing that he believed made him the most attractive candidate over other applicants. “Of all the talented people that interviewed for the job, I was the one with the one with the most experience, the one who was the most familiar with the program.” He also credited the connections that he had to the baseball community outside of Mount Saint Joe. An example of his connections to the community would be our newest addition to the JV team, Coach Ian Hendricks. “[Coach Hendricks] spent a number of years as a coach at McDonough. He is also the son of Elrod Hendricks who was with the Orioles for a decade,” Coach Cameron said of the legacy of the Hendricks family in Baltimore. But the additions do not stop there, Coach Cameron said that he plans to extend the coaching staff even more, adding coaches that will assist with every team, not just one. He plans to bring aboard Mr. Grebe to specialize with all the catchers. Having coaches that work with a specific position is something that I believe can really improve the team’s overall defense.
After discussing the changes to the coaching staff, we then moved on to a small preview of the upcoming season. When asked about the impact of the experience the senior class got as juniors last school year, Cameron responded by saying how the experience has the potential to make a tremendous impact for the outlook of the spring season, “It’ll be their [the 13 returning players] jobs to instill that confidence while the new guys are going through that period of adjustment [from JV competition to Varsity].”
It is not hard to see that Coach Cameron pours his heart and soul into this game, and I am looking forward to seeing all his hard work in the preseason translate into success when the time for tryouts comes in February.