What parish are you and your wife members of?
Along with my wife, Michelle and our two children: Haley (plays lacrosse at Kennesaw State in Georgia) and Matthew (Varsity football and baseball player at Foothill High School) we are members of La Purisima Catholic Church in Orange.
How long have you been at that parish?
About 14 years.
How long have you been a deacon?
I was ordained on October 17, 2015…so not too long ago. I am still a rookie!
When did you launch the baseball camp and what motivated you to do so?
It started in 1998, this will be our 19th year! When I retired from coaching the varsity baseball team at Tustin High to become an assistant principal, I still wanted to be involved with the game. I love coaching and teaching the game of baseball. It’s not work to me, it’s more like a hobby.
What is your most memorable experience playing baseball?
Playing for fun. Hanging out with your friends all day at the Little League field. Hours and hours of wiffle ball outside with all of your friends. Most memorable experience as a coach was winning the CIF Championship at Anaheim Stadium and being ranked #1 in the state of California and winning the Little League State Championship back to back (hadn’t been done before).
How does faith play a role in your baseball experience?
I’ve been blessed with a gift of being a solid teacher of the game. I have been coaching youth players in many sports for 37+ years. After coaching for that many years, I have learned to live by the words of St. Francis of Assisi…Preach the Gospel at all times—if necessary, use words. I try to be a good role model for the kids.
How does the game of baseball teach young players about faith?
Baseball, more than any other sport, is a game of ups and downs … lots of failures. However, players have to endure and continue to try their best even when things get tough. There’s an old saying, “Baseball is Life.” Players are taught to respect their coaches, teammates and their opponents. As Christians, we are commanded to love one another. Keeping in mind in both roles what’s most important is to honor God with our actions.
It’s demanding to run a camp, and be a deacon. How do you balance all your obligations?
The camp takes place in the summer when I am on vacation from my job as a high school principal. It’s also a slower time at the church during the summer. Sometimes it gets a little hectic…maybe several different events on a single day, but you can always make time for the things you love to do.
Do you have another job besides the camp?
Yes, I have worked for the Tustin Unified School District for 30 years in a wide variety of roles: as a teacher, coach and for the last 20 years as a school administrator. I am currently the principal of Hillview High School in Tustin. I have also been a middle school principal and an elementary school assistant principal.
What do campers take away from attending your camp? Is it more than just baseball skills? Are there other lessons taught?
First and foremost we want kids to have a good time, but I do want to stress that they learn while at camp. If it’s the right environment, learning the skills of baseball can be a lot of fun. Demonstrating good sportsmanship is definitely something they will learn and a skill that will help them throughout their baseball career. They learn to work hard, have respect for others and the game of baseball. They learn to hustle … everyone can bat a1000 in the hustle category!