Congratulations to our Baseball Coach of the Week - Michael Murray
Baseball Coach of the Week: Michael Murray is the EVP of Baseball
How long have you been EVP of Baseball and how many years were you on the board prior to EVP?
I am wrapping up my two-year commitment as EVP of Baseball at the end of this month and have loved every minute of it. Prior to becoming EVP of Baseball, I was on the board for 4 years as League Director of the leagues my kids played in.
What age are your teams? What leagues do you play in?
I just finished up coaching in the American League for my 2nd year in a row with Eric Sirlin last year and Chad Mattison this year. I had a blast with both those guys as they too are leaders and great role models at our park.
I also was an assistant coach on the Cyclones for a few years when my kids played summer ball.
When did you know you wanted to coach at SSYS? / How long have you been coaching?
Really before my kids were playing sports is when I thought I would like to be involved in coaching them, I just didn’t realize it would be so much fun. I have been coaching for 7 years since our younger son Clayton was 4 and his older brother, John Wilson was 5 on the Rookie League Yankees (this was the only time they have ever been on the same team in Sports). Such a great memory for all of us.
What do you enjoy most about coaching?
Creating an atmosphere where these young athletes can compete, work hard, have fun, and earn the respect of the game and their teammates. Trust me, I like to win as much as anyone, but coaching at SSYS is soooooo much more than just winning and losing. Building a special bond with so many great families at our park is why it is going to be so hard to leave.
How do you go about motivating your players?
Skittles, Snickers, and Code Red Mountain Dew. Pretty sure that is all anyone really needs. If you leave sugar and caffeine out, then really being positive, supportive, and encouraging goes a long way. These are kids and they need firm and positive reinforcement.
What skills/characteristics do you look for in your players?
I will draft kids with positive attitudes, who will listen, give great effort, and be a good teammate all day long. The season is too short to have to deal with anything else.
What is the biggest challenge you've had as a coach and how did you overcome it?
Baseball is a very challenging sport in so many ways. Some of the hardest challenges a coach will face are when a player fails. Baseball is a game of failure. If a player goes 1 for 3, they are upset but in the big leagues, they are winning the batting title. Making sure the kids believe in themselves and showing them how to improve is the recipe for success in my book.
Being a coach for both kids in two separate leagues for 3 years in a row was super challenging as I was at the park 7 days a week I think – but totally worth it.
What advice would you give to new coaches?
Soak it up. You blink and your child is graduating from the park. In addition, coaches often don’t know what a role model you really are to all the players on your team, so please be a positive one.
When not rooting for your SSYS team, who is your favorite school/sports team and/or players?
UGA.UGA.UGA and how can you not like the Atlanta Braves. They are so much fun to watch. And Roger Federer
What has been your most memorable SSYS moment?
Edging out Mike McAbee in the Home Run Derby at Family Night in extra rounds ranks up there near the top. Seeing the joy on my boy’s faces after they had a big hit or closed out a game is priceless and up there too. My most memorable moments are being up at the ball fields and being around some many wonderful families. The games may only last a few hours but the relationships last a lifetime.
When you are not at the fields, what do you enjoy doing most?
Being a spectator as I never want to miss any of my kids’ sports. Sounds weird but I am pretty sure I won’t ever coach again as I joke with my kids that now they get real coaching. Life on the other side of the fence is tough but I am getting used to it.
Thank you SSYS for making the last 7 years so special.
See our past Coaches of the Week:
6/9/2019 Andy Lipman
6/3/2019 Kevin VanBelle
5/24/2019 Dan O'Rourke
5/16/2019 Ben Macdonald
5/16/2019 Chad Fisher
5/7/2019 Johnny Arnold
4/29/2019 Lou Saez
4/22/2019 Joe Ryan
4/15/2019 Ken Bowman
4/8/2019 Michael Cohen