Q&A with Matt McCay

North Carolina assistant coach Matt McCay gained valuable experience this summer as the head coach for the Thomasville Hi-Toms of the Coastal Plains League, leading the squad to a 37-19 regular season record and the CPL Petitt Cup Championship. Inside Carolina caught up with him late in the season for an interview.

How has it been coaching in the Coastal Plains League this summer?
"It has been a great experience and a good opportunity for me to lead a team. I am coaching in baseball because I want to be a head coach - and a good coach. It has been a great opportunity to come out and lead a group of guys. We are big school guys - I have been coaching kids from Clemson, Tennessee, Old Miss and Boston College. At Carolina I get an opportunity to coach some elite athletes - here I get to coach some major D-1 kids."

What has it been like coaching against some of your players from UNC?
"It has been fun - it has been fun to see those guys and talk to them and joke around. Guys like Greg Holt - he will be playing third base when we play them and I'll be coaching third and we will be talking about his swing - it is cool to know so much about these kids - our Carolina guys in another situation with other coaches, with their swings and their development. I get to watch them and appreciate them in a little different way - I get to ask them questions, 'That is cool, I will give you some information so that you can beat me' [laughs] ... that was a good idea."

What makes the summer leagues so special?
"It is truly baseball - college baseball is great but the student-athletes have a lot of demands and requirements on their time as far as campus life and academics. At Carolina we demand a lot of their time - whether it is practice or study hall. In the summer it is more the opportunity to play every day instead of practicing most of the week and playing weekends. It is a pretty cool dynamic because it is closer to professional baseball - which is a little bit more of my experience. It has paid off for me as a coach after having six years in pro ball. Explaining to them that this is what it takes - to come out and play hard every day."

What are your feelings on moving back to the renovated Boshamer Stadium?
"I am excited - it is going to be a great facility and for me financially it is going to be a big improvement because we have not been able to do camps and as the camp coordinator it is kind of important to me. The facilities will be top notch. We have a winning percentage in our program that draws the top kids - now we are adding one of the top facilities to what we have done so far. It will be a very good tool for us to draw the best kids in the country to North Carolina."

Tell me your opinions on Scott Jackson joining the UNC coachingl staff...
"I met Coach Jackson one time and what I have heard from people who know him is one of his biggest assets is in his tenacity as a recruiter. I know that Coach Fox is very good at what he does - he went through the hiring process with Coach Jackson - I am sure that he will be an excellent choice."

What has it been like being on the coaching staff at UNC with Coach Fox?
"It has been an awesome experience. I played at Carolina, then I left - I did things a little differently. Most people who start in college coaching don't start at 30 years old - or like I am at 29 now. I played six years of professional ball then returned to finish my degree - during that time I was coaching the Orange High baseball team as well. It has been an awesome next step during my coaching growth and growth during baseball. From playing for Coach Fox at Carolina and then coaching with him - I have learned a lot. I have learned about management and how to run teams - things I use every day here at Thomasville."

What plans do you have for your coaching career?
"I have looked into and inquired about a hand full of jobs. I have not applied for any of them but wanted to learn during my young coaching career about salary scales and how much coaches make other places. The bottom line is I do want to be a paid assistant - preferably a recruiting coordinator. I need to work on my experience because that is the one thing I need to do to take the next step. That is something I want to do - I want to go out there and be a recruiter and I think that will be one of my big assets as far as my coaching future goes."

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