Many athletes today have found “their” sport by the time they get to high school and seemingly focus on it from a development and competition perspective. Plenty of them may play other sports because of interest or opportunity or even skill sets. But the 3-sport athlete is an endangered species. And in considering that truth, Coleman McGinnis is among the rarest of breeds.
The uncommitted 2023 catcher who attends Eastern Alamance High School in Mebane, NC, is a quintessential in-season guy. McGinnis routinely plays whichever sport is in season and seamlessly transitions from baseball, to the gridiron, to the hardwood, and then back to the diamond. Coleman says the drive to be a multi-sport athlete had been one he’s always had, and he looks forward to just being out playing and attempting to improve.
On top of that, McGinnis loves to help his team win. So far in his high school athletic career the freshman has done plenty of winning. Playing outside linebacker for his Eagles’ JV football, the squad went 9-0. And as a guard he helped the JV basketball to a 20-1 record.
But baseball is McGinnis’ top priority. Thus decisions like joining the Dirtbags, as he did in the fall of his 13u season, have been made to enhance his opportunities in his favorite sport. Coleman acknowledged he had been aware for some time of the high quality of teams and access the organization provided to those looking to be recruited to play at the next level. He also knew he wanted to be a part of the Dirtbag culture, and grow from the competition that exists both within the talented rosters and of course from the opponents they regularly face.
Being a Dirtbag has paid dividends for Coleman thus far. He says it’s been mainly from guidance he’s received from coaching as a part of the Chin Music team. The most obvious area of growth according to him has been the confidence factor. He is quick to mention that confidence now shows up both on and off the field.
On the field, McGinnis is a fierce competitor who has built his game around hustle and the attitude to taking no plays off. As he puts it, “(It’s about) busting my butt behind the plate. Always ready to block balls in the dirt to help the pitcher and the team.”
Those leading the Dirtbags have also noticed how his skills and attitude match up to create a player who will continue to impress as he develops. Dylan Dickens, a coach for the Bags who himself was a Dirtbag and has worked quite a bit with McGinnis had this to say regarding the demeanor of the catcher and its impact on his pursuit, “McGinnis is relentless. He prepares himself for success. Failure doesn’t seem to be an option.”
This all lends itself to the conclusion that the “off-season” doesn’t exist for the Coleman McGinnis’ of the sport. He counters by saying it just means the 3-sport athlete needs to subscribe to some simple principles. Namely, management – the intent to use the time wisely and effectively. He enhances his efforts by using the competition as an advantage.
His off-season has been finding chances to throw or occasionally hit. McGinnis is already aware of the essential nature of the weightroom as a recognized benefit in all sports. In respect to lifting, the work is non-stop, even while in-season.
He sees the three sports as very interactive supporting components to one another. From football he finds the toughness and physicality he finds so essential as a catcher. McGinnis also loves the way football has taught him “you can’t do it all yourself” and that the team work is key to his own successes. His stamina gets a boost from basketball. Safe to say each has a way to bring out the best of Coleman in the other sports.
For Coleman, this creates an attitude that extends to his efforts in the community and his academic life. Due to time commitments from all the athletics it may seem achievable, but he finds himself extending those same attributes he embodies on the field. As an A-student, he’s regularly eager to give academic assistance to teammates and friends. He’s very involved with his church and its youth group, active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at school, where he is also member of both the Student Council and DECA.
Matching the baseball skills with academic and community involvement means even as a ninth grader, Coleman is building the recruitment resume. And like many aspiring student-athletes who want to play at the next level, he has his dream school list ready. But he also has a keen understanding that right fits for him will center on connecting with a program dedicated to his development while also offering top facilities and a winning atmosphere where his game can play.
And his game plays. A righthanded line drive hitter who is regularly gap to gap, at 6’ and 165 pounds, he is just going to keep getting better. When asked about whether he looks to be a JV or varsity contributor as a freshman, McGinnis responded he’s not sure what the spring will offer when it comes to his status, but he’s just ready to serve; and get better.
After the spring, Coleman says he’s looking forward to the summer of 2020, with opportunities to play at new places with the Bags. He also quickly points out it’s an opportunity to help pitchers get better and thus serving as a proving ground for his own improvements. He already understands that when teammates improve together everyone wins.
Getting this type of view from a regular fifteen year old may be abnormal but truly, Coleman is atypical when it comes to his view about himself in the context of performance. His comments center not so much on what he’s done, but more about what he wants to become. The overwhelming theme of the conversation about himself in all capacities seems to center on ways to get ́better.
It’s just how the dude is wired. Right now isn’t good enough. A new opportunity is coming and he wants to be better. A new season is around the corner, and he wants to do it better.
With that mentality, programs BETTER pay attention to this guy because he’s going to one day be one of the best.