K.C. Brown earned his first ever head coaching job after being promoted from within the Lexington County Blowfish organization.
May 26. 7:05 p.m. $6.50-$9.50 single game tickets. Lexington County Baseball Stadium. 474 Ball Park Rd. goblowfishbaseball.com.
K.C. Brown earned his first-ever head coaching job after being promoted from within the Lexington County Blowfish.
For him, the chance to lead the collegiate wood bat summer team is an exciting opportunity to really find his voice as a coach and a leader in this sport. It’s also a job where he knows that the best learning will be the learning that comes from experience.
It’s a weird feeling for Brown. There’s a lot he has to grasp, like being the main voice of leadership and being the executive decision maker when it comes to strategy and lineups. Like some things in life, Brown believes you never fully feel ready until you begin the journey.
“I mean, it’s a week away and it still hasn’t hit me yet,” Brown said.
The Blowfish are set to open their season at home against the Boone Bigfoots May 27 before hitting the road for a second game against the N.C. squad the next day. The team is back at home June 1 for a game against the Forest City Owls.
“It’s my first coaching gig, I’m nervous, I’m excited. Coaches I’ve talked to say it’s like having a kid. You’re never ready and you never feel fully ready. So the only way is to just go out there and get your feet wet and dive right in and get after it.”
Brown is 25 years old and some of the Blowfish players are 22. Many of the players that Brown will be in charge of this summer could easily have been his college teammates back when he played at Georgia College and State University just last spring. While it feels like a big test to be able to balance out those dynamics, he feels as if his ability to relate to these players is actually an advantage that he can use.
“Being a really young head coach, I feel like I can still really relate to the guys,” Brown said. “But I also just want to learn the best way that I can lead them and what they’ll respond to.”
Being a young head coach also provides Brown with an opportunity to be more hands on with some of his players when it comes to teaching and giving mechanical instruction.
“I think that side is really beneficial. I can hop in the batting cage and demonstrate something and they can be like ‘Ok, he’s not full of crap he knows what he’s talking about and can still demonstrate it’,” Brown said.
Brown already has some experience in working with athletes barely younger than him. He worked as a volunteer assistant last season and last fall, was an unpaid intern for the University of South Carolina’s football strength and conditioning program.
While an intern for USC’s strength and conditioning program, Brown learned how to get out of his shell and really start finding his voice as a coach and reach another level of intensity in an environment that is completely different than a long baseball season.
“Being in the SC football weight room was like driving down the road with the radio on turned all the way up at the maximum all the time,” Brown recalled. “The biggest learning point is that everything matters. They have dozens of coaches so there are a bunch of eyes on everything and is, I don’t want to say micromanaged, but everything matters and everything is on a checklist and there’s a set of eyes on everything at all times. So I’m really just trying to carry that over to baseball. The intensity can’t be ramped up like the pros who play 162 games. I mean, it gets monotonous at times, certainly, but I really just want to carry over the discipline and the attention to detail.”
Brown also wants to carry over the lessons he learned from the two Blowfish coaches before him and combine the best attributes he observed.
“I can appreciate the previous two Blowfish coaches, Jonathan Johhnson and Fico Kondla,” Brown said. “I got to see both of them and appreciated them both so much but they were also different people. Fico came from Division II and was in Division II his whole life in the college ranks Jonathan Johnson was a first rounder and more on the pro ball side of things. Fico was more detail oriented and Johnson was more player relations. None of this is derogatory, but they were two sides of the same coin. I got to see two different ends of the spectrum and then kind of try to combine both of them. So they were two really good mentors I got to learn from last summer.”
Blowfish owner Bill Shanahan is excited about the youthful presence Brown will bring to the club and loved the relationship he was able to build with the players last season after head coach Fico Kondla left shortly before the season and Columbia International University head coach and former Blowfish coach Jonathan Johnson wasn’t able to be the head coach at full capacity.
“Jonathan [Johnson] couldn’t be at all the games because he had other things too last season. So K.C. got to do a lot more coaching with the players and all the players I talked to just loved K.C.,” Shanahan said. “At the end of the season I knew Jonathan was not going to be able to continue into this year because of CIU and other responsibilities he has. K.C. and I just sat down and I was so impressed with him and I love him. He’s a respectful young man, loves the game and I offered him the job. He wanted to talk to his family and close associates and came back and said ‘I’m in’. So here we go, we got a 24-year old head coach that a lot of these players that are coming back are really excited to have here.”
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