Diamond Gems

FAY AND LINARES GO TO BAT FOR NEW BASEBALL AND SOFTBALL PROGRAMS

BY ELAINE GEROU AND NICK MISIAK
MANAGING EDITOR AND SPORTS EDITOR

Since the announcement of the creation of a baseball and softball program at Schoolcraft, a search has been on for the right coaches to step in and begin piecing together teams. That search is now over.

On Friday, March 20, it was announced that Robert Fay and Rey Linares were hired in as the head coaches of the Schoolcraft baseball and softball programs that will begin league play in the spring of 2016.

“As soon as we were approved by the NJCAA to create these teams, it became imperative to identify coaches who could take up the challenges associated with jump starting brand new programs,” said Sid Fox, Athletic Director at Schoolcraft College. “I am extremely proud and confident that appointing Fay and Linares represent qualitative choices needed to build and maintain the integrity of competitive sports as are accustomed to at Schoolcraft College. Both coaches have demonstrated the passion, intellect and seasoned leadership to allow them to transition smoothly into our college culture.”

With new programs starting from scratch, there is much to be done for the Schoolcraft baseball and softball programs, but with Coach Linares and Coach Fey, the Ocelots are poised to have success on and off the diamond.

ROB FAY

PHOTO BY NATHAN GARTNER PHOTO EDITOR

PHOTO BY NATHAN GARTNER
PHOTO EDITOR

After 14 years of coaching Catholic Youth Organization (CYO), high school, travel and American Legion levels of baseball players, Fay has covered nearly all the bases at the amateur level and is ready to coach a collegiate program. Fay played in high school and was slated to play junior college ball, but unfortunately had an arm injury that needed surgery, which ended his playing career.

“Coaching at the next level has always been a goal of mine. Schoolcraft has made it possible,” said Fay. “I have spent my career helping players get to the next level. This will still continue as we help our players get into four year colleges/universities.”

Currently, Fay is the head coach at Edsel Ford High School in Dearborn, the Director of Baseball Operations for Skillbuilder Batters Box and the head coach of the 18U Michigan Strategy travel baseball team. With Fay’s connections, he has had no problem recruiting players to the program.

“Recruiting is going well. We already have some verbal commitments and are seeing a lot of interest from area coaches and players,” Fay said. “I am also aware that there are some talented ball players already enrolled in Schoolcraft. We will be meeting with these players on April 8 and [are] arranging a workout for them so we can see their talent level.”

For the April 8 meetings, recruits will meet at 10 a.m. to tour campus, and interested, already enrolled students will meet with Coach Fay at 1 p.m. to discuss the upcoming season. Both meetings will begin in PE 105, and there will be a tryout in the fall to finalize the team from about 24 to 30 players.

“We want good character people in our program that are strong academically. We want them to work toward the dream of playing at the highest level possible, but understand they are a student first,” Fay said. “They must be hard working and coachable, with the ability of being a good teammate.”

Although college baseball programs typically struggle in their first few years of existence, Fay believes that he can find the talent and coaching staff necessary to be competitive right off the bat. “Our expectations will always be that way. We feel we can recruit and put together a very competitive team in our first year. Winning league championships and advancing to the National Tournament will always be our goal,” Fay said.

Athletes interested in playing or those looking for more information should email Coach Fay at rfay@schoolcraft.edu.

REY LINARES

PHOTO BY NICK MISIAK SPORTS EDITOR

PHOTO BY NICK MISIAK
SPORTS EDITOR

Linares has been actively coaching and training competitive fastpitch softball throughout southeastern Michigan for over 20 years, primarily with mid-teen to college prep age groups. This includes Class A travel softball, high school varsity softball and Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) softball. He played competitive travel and school baseball in his youth and teenage years, but injuries brought his career to an abrupt end, which subsequently moved him into coaching.

Linares is currently the Head Fastpitch Softball Trainer at Skill Builder Batter’s Box in Dearborn Heights, the Michigan Strategy 16U Class A travel softball head coach and the Melvindale High School varsity softball head coach. He will relieve his duties at Melvindale after the completion of the 2015 season.

“The opportunity to coach at such an outstanding academic institution such as Schoolcraft College excited me,” said Linares. “In addition, the challenge of building a competitive softball program is something I have considerable experience of doing in my past with good success and results.”

Linares is already hot on the recruiting trail as well, using his connections through years of coaching fastpitch softball to contact potential recruits about the new program. He plans to field an adequate roster number to allow his team to be competitive. Other community college programs in the area on average roster 16 to 20 athletes.

As the new head coach, Linares hopes to recruit athletes who have a love and passion for the game, a good skill set with mental focus, strong organizational skills that will allow one to correctly balance and maintain a high level of academic and athletic performance and respect for team mates, coaching staff and opponents.

“With the outstanding talent level of the recruiting commitments already made and with the area being truly rich in skilled players that remain available, our expectations are to be competitive from the start,” said Linares.

An informational meet and greet meeting will be held on campus on Monday, April 6 at 6 p.m. in PE 105 for those interested in playing softball. Linares highly encourages all interested parties to attend. Information about open tryouts, summer training and more will be provided.

Current Schoolcraft students interested in playing can contact Coach Linares via email at rlinares@schoolcraft.edu.