Mike McCormack will likely be the next product out of the Newburyport coaching factory.
But first, the Worcester State College senior and 2004 Newburyport High graduate will compete in the NCAA Division 3 Regionals next Wednesday. The McCormack-captained Worcester State club recently captured the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference title with a two-game sweep of No. 1 seed Westfield.
McCormack, a utility outfielder, batted .350 in 11 games this season. After starting the season 6-13, Worcester State won 17 of its last 20 games. The midseason turnaround reminded McCormack of his senior year as a Newburyport High captain when his squad started 3-6 before closing with a 10-game winning streak and a Cape Ann League title.
"I remember that year we got beat at Amesbury," McCormack said. "We came together after that game. We talked among ourselves and coach (Bill) Pettingell. Then we won 10 in a row and a CAL Large title."
McCormack appears primed to join a long list of Newburyport alumni who chose to follow Pettingell's career path. The list includes Dave Wilbur (Class of 1970, Beverly High head coach), Steve Malenfant (Class of '72, Newburyport High assistant), Mark Rowe (Class of '79, Georgetown High head coach), Peter Yates (Class of '80, Georgetown High assistant), Chris Lamothe (Class of '86, Manchester Essex head coach), Ryan McCarthy (Class of '98, Newburyport High assistant), and more than 10 coaches at the college level.
McCormack, who tonight will be named the Worcester State College male student-athlete of the year at a school function, is applying for graduate assistant positions with college baseball teams throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions of the United States.
"If I get a position as a graduate assistant, they'll pay for my school and I can coach," McCormack said. "I don't want to be out of baseball quite yet. I still want it to be a part of my life."
Worcester State coach Dirk Baker believes McCormack will always have the itch to coach.
"He's an unbelievable kid," Baker said. "He definitely has a future as a coach. We win because of kids like him. We gave him the nickname 'Skip' because he's a future coach. Kids go to him. He breaks down film of all of our practices. He has to teach me how to do it."
McCormack learned to analyze film through his role as a scout for TPX Top 96 — a company that organizes clinics for high school athletes hosted by college coaches. He works for TPX full-time in the summer and helps with clinics on a part-time basis in the fall and spring.
"I intend on making that my full-time job some day," McCormack said.
McCormack, a criminal justice student, will graduate May 8 with a 3.6 grade-point average. He and his Worcester State teammates will learn their NCAA Tournament fate Sunday evening when the pairings are revealed.
"I'm thrilled with the way things have turned out," McCormack said. "I'm sure if you asked coach Pettingell about me, he'd say I'm a plugger. I'm someone who always gives his best effort, even though I may not be the most talented."
The McCormack Report
Name: Mike McCormack
School: Worcester State College
High School: Newburyport High (Class of 2004)
Award: Will be named Worcester State College's student-athlete of the year at a function this evening