, a.k.a Coach Mac, is a native Washingtonian and a product of the DC Public Schools and Police Boys and Girls clubs. He is a nationally renowned youth baseball coach and educator who has spent the past 24 years creating opportunities for children in Washington, New York and Dominican Republic in critically acclaimed youth baseball and literacy programs he has created.
John’s a motivator’s motivator who is a sought after speaker to companies, organizations, teams and events. He has been invited to speak and coach all over America and overseas in such places as Augsburg, Havana, The Hague, Paris, San Pedro de Macoris and Tokyo.
After graduating from Wilson High School, John received no interest from college baseball. He walked on at the University of South Alabama and later played at Enterprise JC (AL) and Troy University (AL). He earned a scholarship by his sophomore year and was chosen as a tri-captain for his senior year. He was voted MVP by his teammates at Enterprise, threw a no-hitter and set a school record by not giving up a single home run his junior year at Troy. Three seasons his teams were ranked in the top 15 and twice played in the NCAA regionals. He set league records playing for Utica in the Northeast Collegiate Summer League for complete games and innings pitched. Five of his college teammates went on to play in the big leagues. After earning a degree in broadcast journalism, he signed a free agent contract with the Baltimore Orioles and played for their rookie league team in Sarasota.
In 1994, John came back to his hometown and laid the groundwork for his career as an educator and coach. He returned to his alma mater, Wilson High School, and began teaching a course called Alternatives to Violence
on the adjunct faculty, which explores the successes of such Hall of Fame peacemakers as Mandela, King, Day, Gandhi and Schweitzer. In 1998, John was honored with the Ray A. Kroc Teacher Achievement Award for the Washington area.
John is the founder of Home Run Baseball Camp, a unique and well-loved baseball program in Washington and New York City. Now thriving in its 24th year, HRBC offers programs year round in Washington and New York City. Thousands of young players have trained with Home Run Baseball Camp. A testimony to John’s leadership and values is the fact that a majority of coaches on staff are themselves former players.
In 1994, John blended his passion for coaching and his commitment to education and created Elementary Baseball, an after school literacy and baseball program for boys and girls ages 6-12 in Washington DC’s Shaw neighborhood. With encouragement from early supporters DC Superior Court Chief Judge Eugene Hamilton and DC Court of Appeals Chief Judge Annice Wagner, more than 80 court employees – including 15 judges – volunteered as mentors to the youngsters in the program. In 1997, the US Department of Justice funded Elementary Baseball and named it a Pathways to Success program. To date, Elementary Baseball has helped more than 600 students and recruited over 700 volunteer tutors from area high schools and colleges. It has served as a model for DC’s own Field of Dreams program and the University of Notre Dame’s literacy program, “Teamwork for Tomorrow.”
In 1999, John joined forces with former Major Leaguer Pepe Frias and educator Sister Lenore Gibb (Grey Sisters of the Immaculate Conception) to start Beisbol y Libros in a small town called Consuelo in the Dominican Republic. A co-ed after-school program, Beisbol y Libros
had 400 kids enrolled ages 5 – 15. Beisbol y Libros
was the first program of its kind in the baseball-loving Dominican Republic.
John has written for National Catholic Reporter, was a contributing editor for the Sports Illustrated Pitching Book Series and recently contributed to the book What Do You Stand For?
(Jim Lichtman, Scribblers Ink). He is a frequent speaker around the country on service and leadership to schools, companies and organizations. Visits include Brown University, Howard University, Georgetown University, George Washington University, American University, Yale University, Greenwich Country Day, WH Council ES (Satchel Paige and Hank Aaron’s alma mater), All for One
gang prevention program in California, The American Psychiatric Association annual convention, Greenpark Financial, Fannie Mae and The Fulbright Scholarship Dinner. John was featured in the documentary “A Season in the City” and wrote and directed the film “Bandit,” which premiered July 31, 2008 at the Avalon Theatre in Washington.
John has been profiled in Time, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, The Wall Street Journal, Education Week
and on the Today Show, NPR, CNN, Univision, Voice of America
. In 1998, John was named by MTV as one of America’s top community leaders under 30. In 2000, Chief Judge Eugene N. Hamilton awarded him the D.C. Superior Court Medal of Excellence. In 2001, John was named an Irish American of the Year. John and his wife live in Washington.