What do the first two hours of your day look like?
The first thing I do every morning when I get to the office is go through my emails and start a checklist of exactly what I need to get done that day and that week. This could mean inputting our CARA Logs, communicating with our Facilities Department, speaking with Community Outreach and so on. Some days the list is long. Other days there are only a few things I need to get done. After that, I usually talk with Coach (Jay) Johnson to see exactly what we have scheduled for practice that day. We are very fortunate to have student managers that help with the setup of our practices. I want them to know everything that will need to be ready before practice starts so that we can maximize our training time. When the practice schedule and notes are ready for our managers, I attack that to-do list.
If you could go back to your first day on the job and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
I think, if I could go back to my first day on the job, I would tell myself to be patient. In our line of work, a lot of the time we must rely on other people to accomplish the things that need to be done. My first year I got frustrated when things were not done in a timely manner or at an elite level. Things happen, people make mistakes, I make mistakes, but we just have to adapt, improvise, and overcome. Coach Johnson tells all of his teams that the only thing that he can promise will happen in a season is that things are going to go sideways at some point. It’s not what happens, but how you respond that truly matters.
Name one new thing you want to accomplish this year?
Every year after the season I create a list of “side projects” that I want to try and help me improve as a Director of Operations and as a future coach. The biggest one I have been working on this year, alongside our hitting coach, Marc Wanaka, is what we call The Hitting Manual. First, let me start by saying that this man is one of the most knowledgeable, creative baseball minds I have ever met. He has an amazing way of impressing his knowledge on our players. My job this year was to condense everything he preaches related to hitting into one manual. I’m talking everything from load timing and separation, to how we should step into the box. We have gone through three or four edits and hopefully this summer we will complete it. As you all know though, coaches are life-long learners. So while this version may be finished in July, it will never be one hundred percent complete.
Best career or work advice you ever received?
The best career advice I have ever received is to make yourself irreplaceable. Be so good at what you do that when the time comes to take a new job or position, no one on Earth would be able to fill your roll at the same level you did. The guys on the team like to joke that I am a man of “many hats”. They know I run a lot of our recruit tours, help setup practice, and organize all of our travel. I even learned how to retie gloves when they break. Some days I come in the office and there are three broken or loose gloves on my desk. I make sure those are ready to go well before they show up to the field. It is the little things like that I think help separate me.
First event, person, or job that sparked your interest in this field of work.
I always knew I wanted to be in baseball. It wasn’t until about my sophomore year of college that I realized I was meant to work in baseball rather than play it for a living (not a lot of major leaguers are 5’8” with below average bat speed). So, while coaching is the end goal, I needed to get my foot in the door. Coach Johnson was gracious enough to let me stay on the staff at Nevada as an Assistant Director of Operations and that was the first time I really saw how much goes on behind the scenes to run a college baseball team. I instantly loved soaking up the knowledge from guys like Coach Johnson, Coach Mark Kertenian, Coach Dave Lawn, Coach Wanaka, and our Director of Operations at the time Cameron McMullan. When I become a coach one day, I feel like I will be extremely prepared, largely in-part to the time I have spent with them.
Talk about a project or effort you’re working on or a group or organization that you’re working with that is near and dear to your heart.
The Jessie Rees Foundation is a group that I have started to learn a lot about this year. NEGU (Never Ever Give Up) is the motto that they use with the goal of helping youth that have different types of cancer while they are going through treatment. The main thing that they do is create “Joy Jars” which are full of a bunch of little things like socks, toys, Legos, you name it! The emotions that fill your heart when you watch one of the kids open these jars and go through all of the cool things in them is amazing. I highly encourage any bit of donation or volunteering that you can spare towards the Jesse Rees Foundation. They do an amazing job! More information on how to donate or volunteer can be found on their website www.negu.org.