Just weeks after guiding the Thunder Mountain High School baseball team to their first ever win over Juneau-Douglas High School and nearly gaining entry into the state championships, Falcons’ co-head coach Matt Greely has accepted a position to coach in Washington State.
“I told the players after our last game,” Greely said. “I told the coaching staff a couple weeks before. I didn’t want it to be a distraction in the season. I definitely had some help here for sure. Bill (McCauley), Joe (Tompkins) and Todd (Luck) and the boys will be missed. I am going to miss the program. I will be back at Spring Breaks, but as far as coaching high school baseball I am done.”
Greely accepted three positions actually, and each one is a compliment to what Greely loves about the game.
“It will be a lot of baseball,” Greely said. “But anyone that has been around me knows that I have no problem engulfing myself in baseball for long periods of time.”
Greely will be taking a position as the head pitching coach at Everett Community College, will also be the General Manager of the Laces Baseball Academy, and will be the head coach of the college semi-pro summer team the North Sound Emeralds.
“Hopefully it won’t feel like work all the time,” Greely said. “These are three separate jobs but it equates to year-round employment.”
Greely met representatives from these teams while working a baseball clinic in Anchorage over winter break. Levi Lacey, the President of Laces Baseball Academy is also the head coach of College of Idaho and a member of the Hall of Fame there.
“We have a connection there,” Greely said. “I played there one year. Mister Lacey wants to expand the academy and see how far we can take it. Ultimately I want to make a career in baseball. Wherever that is. Everett is a great school to be going into. I am really honored that they are giving me this opportunity and I hope I can fit into what they are trying to do. This seems like the logical next step.”
Greely, a 2004 JDHS graduate played two seasons of baseball at Walla Walla Community College, one year at Kentucky’s University of the Cumberlands, and one year at College of Idaho where he finished his bachelor’s degree in Sports and Fitness Management. Greely then coached and scouted at COI for a year before obtaining his master’s degree in Teaching & Secondary Education at the University of Alaska Southeast in 2010.
The Everett C.C. Trojans were the 2013 NWAACC Champions, finishing with a 39-9 overall record. The team has a Fall Ball and spring season.
Laces Baseball Academy is composed of five teams that play summer baseball. Instructors there provide individual lessons and the teams participate in various tournaments, all in a year-round training format.
The North Sound Emeralds, based out of Edmonds, Wash., are composed of various college players in the extended areas. The team plays from the beginning of June through the end of July.
Greely will not be forgetting Thunder Mountain baseball, or Juneau area baseball for that matter.
“Nothing would make me happier than to give Alaska kids that are deserving a chance to play college baseball,” Greely said. “That is how I got my break. A coach gave me a chance and I was able to run with it. That is what all these kids are looking for. With the little exposure they get up here I would love to give kids from Alaska a chance if they can play at a high level and are deserving of it.”
Greely stated the highlights of Thunder Mountain baseball are too numerous to list from the past four seasons.
“The first game ever has to be on that list,” Greely said. “The first two games were wins against Wrangell. That first game, just considering the work that was put in prior, it being a new school and finally putting a team on the field. Certainly our first wins over conference opponents, this years win over JD was certainly a highlight for me and the kids that put in four hard years of hard work, and even the kids with three, two or one year.”
Continued Greely, “There was a lot of hard work put in by many people, tons of unsung heroes. Bill McCauley has really dedicated an incredible amount of time and effort to get this program to where it is. The program is still in great hands with Bill, Todd Luck and Joe Tompkins and the kids really respond well to all of them.”
Greely said the players have kept his own arm in shape.
“Maybe not game shape,” Greely laughed. “But certainly batting practice shape. I like competing whenever I get the chance, whether it is on the ball field or coaching, and I will use this next step to elevate my game, coaching wise, against great competition.”
Greely said he thanked all the people in Juneau who have helped make this possible.
“Just like with any ball player or any person there are a lot of people along the way that help you get to where you get to,” Greely said. “There are a lot of people in Juneau who I am thankful for being in contact with. Certainly the Thunder Mountain family for giving me the chance to cut my teeth as a high school coach has meant a lot. Bill brought me on as an assistant the first year and we have been co-head coaches and he has been my mentor. There are tons of people in Juneau to thank and I would not be doing them justice trying to name them all because I would leave people out.”
Greely flies to Washington today and will be coaching tonight.
“The semi-pro team has games already,” Greely said. “I think they have a 30 or 40-game schedule. I really can’t speak a whole lot about any of these yet because I haven’t experienced them, but I am really excited to get into it. I am going into this with my eyes wide open. I am going to try and be a sponge, absorb as much as I can to try and get better as a coach.”