MASCAC Made: Kevin Barnaby, Fitchburg State/Worcester State Baseball
Baseball is his life.
From his time as a kid watching his older brother play, to competing in college for Worcester State and now as the head coach for Fitchburg State, Kevin Barnaby is living his dreams out in reality.
Barnaby's first memories of baseball were being a bat boy for his older brother at all his games. His dad and brother made sure he was always involved which is where for his love of the game got its start.
Fast-forward to college and Barnaby was on the diamond for head coach Dirk Baker and the Worcester State Lancers. During his sophomore season, the Lancers captured a MASCAC title and made it to the NCAA Regionals. Unfortunately, his playing career was cut short due to illness in the family, but his passion for the game continued.
Barnaby went on to work as a high school coach in football, basketball and baseball. He eventually went back and got his history degree from Worcester State in 2011. It was shortly after that Barnaby was hired at Fitchburg State as the hitting coach and recruiting coordinator, a job he had been waiting a long time to get.
"It was a dream come true to get my first coaching job at Fitchburg State," Barnaby said. "I always wanted to coach college baseball. Prior to that, I coached high school sports…football, basketball and baseball. When I got the taste of college baseball, it was a dream come true. That first year was very eye-opening to me. Learning about recruiting, fundraising, budgeting. Keith Brouillard, the Fitchburg State coach at the time, allowed me a lot of room to learn on the fly and make mistakes. It opened other doors to be able to further my career."
After a few years with the Falcons, he moved on to UMass Lowell where he was the volunteer assistant baseball coach. While there, he worked primarily with the outfielders and spearheaded their volunteer efforts which included reading at elementary schools and helping with the STEM mentoring program.
With the departure of Fitchburg State's head coach in 2015, a job opening became available. One that Barnaby was all too excited to grab.
"Getting the head coaching job at Fitchburg State was everything I ever wanted," Barnaby said. "Some of them, I coached as freshman three years earlier so it helped the transition. They were supportive of my message and backed me up. The first time in the fall, everyone was looking at me to be the voice. As an assistant, you are used to them listening to someone else, but now you are it."
In his first season at the helm for the Falcons, the team went 10-4 during MASCAC play and earned the three seed in the conference tournament. For his efforts that season, he was named the Champions Choice Baseball Coach of the Year.
Barnaby got the opportunity only a few coaches get to experience, coaching against your former skipper. When the Falcons and Lancers faced off on April 27, 2016, his players wanted to win it for him.
"It is a cool moment to be able to coach against your former coach," Barnaby said. "I don't think many people get the opportunity to do it. My first year, the players wanted to win the game for me because it was a young coach versus his old coach. It isn't a rivalry. If anything, he is a mentor that I have a lot of respect for. If there was any advice I needed while at UMass Lowell, I would reach out to him."
Splitting his time between Fitchburg State and the Nor'Easters Baseball program, Barnaby serves as the Program Coordinator in the Leominster facility and assists in player development for the Nor'Easters organization. He also serves as the head coach for the 16U West.
Seeing the MASCAC first through student-athlete eyes and now those of the coach, he has seen the conference grow in many ways. One of his favorite things about the eight MASCAC institutions may be how alike they are.
"One of my favorite parts of being in the MASCAC is our likeness as state institutions," Barnaby said. "We have a competitiveness when it comes to our academics, facilities and athletics. You can't fall behind so we keep raising the bar. What we will see in the next 10 years for the MASCAC will be incredible."
Although he only played two years for the Lancers, the relationship with his teammates is one he will cherish forever. It doesn't matter how long it has been. When they see each other, it isn't a simple handshake, but a bear hug.
Release courtesy of Emily Loux | MASCAC Director of Media Relations