Rick McCarty, head coach of the ACU baseball team, was announced as the new skipper for the Wildcats in June. McCarty, most recently, was a pitching coach at Dallas Baptist before coming to Abilene.
McCarty began his college baseball career as a player at John A. Logan College. After two years at John A. Logan, he transferred to Murray State University where he finished his playing career. After his final season as a player, McCarty joined the Murray State coaching staff as an assistant while finishing his degree.
McCarty said playing college baseball gives him an upper hand in understanding his players as a coach.
“Playing junior college and Div. I baseball helps me relate to our current players or other high school players we are recruiting.” McCarty said.
McCarty finished school and started coaching as a graduate assistant at Delta State a year later. Bart Osborne, the coach that recruited McCarty to Murray State, also coached at Delta State and had a connection with the school for McCarty.
“For whatever reason, I felt called to go there and I’m very glad that I did,” McCarty said. “I was able to work for Coach Kinnison for two years, as a GA, and I was hired for the last three years I was there. I learned so much from him.”
Delta State had created a position for him. When McCarty was getting his masters, he was not sure what was going to happen. He wanted to coach college baseball, but was not sure what was in store for him. He was fully prepared to get his masters, teach and coach at the high school level, but said fortunately he has never had to do that.
“The Lord has provided a job for me every year and this is my sixth spot and sixteenth year of coaching,” McCarty said.
When McCarty was at Delta State, the Statesmen made their way to Abilene when ACU was Division II. ACU also played at Delta State several times while he was there. This was his first encounter with Abilene and he later came back to Crutcher Scott Field as the pitching coach for Dallas Baptist. When his teams came to Abilene, they came straight to the field and left right after the game making him unaware of what the city was really like.
“I was not as familiar with the city of Abilene and the campus itself,” McCarty said, ” I had a chance to walk around with my wife and we were blown away. I didn’t realize it was this big and had so much to offer. The campus is beautiful.”
McCarty has coached under people that have won at a high level. He said those coaches have taught him so much as a coach and person. McCarty said you pick what you appreciate and what you enjoyed about each man you worked with and put your own spin on it. He is grateful for each coach and program he has worked with and said they have prepared him for this job.
McCarty has a wife and three children. Moving from school to school on the way to becoming a head coach has been “demanding” for McCarty and his family. He said he would not be able to do this without his wife, but it has also been good for his family.
“It’s been a blast,” McCarty said. “My kids have got to experience a lot, that most kids would not. There might be a negative or two to that, but having the chance to bounce around and see different parts of the country has been cool for me and I thank my whole family.”
To put into perspective how successful McCarty was as a pitching coach, 22 players McCarty coached have been drafted and a lot of them eventually made it to Major League Baseball. He has been able to make most of the pitchers debut in the MLB, but said it’s hard to know which ones will make their debuts in a series.
“Some guys are limited to talent like I was, I didn’t get a chance to go play,” McCarty said. “So, when I get to celebrate someone else, whoever you want to name, it’s a special moment with them and their family.”
In five years, McCarty sees ACU “winning” and expects to be competing in the Southland Conference tournament and NCAA tournament.
“With the resources and the support here, hopefully that happens sooner than later, but that’s going to be our expectation to win and win a bunch,” McCarty said.