The Life of Student Assistant Coach: Cameron Tekker
By Andrew Reardon
(pictured: Student Assistant coach Cameron Tekker supervises Junior pitcher Erik Holton as he is about to do squats. )
Wake up. Breakfast. Class. Coaches meetings. Back to class. Lunch. Practice Prep. Early practice work. Actual Practice. Lift. Team laundry. Dinner. Homework. Sleep. Repeat.
This is a normal day for senior, mass communication major, Cameron Tekker, who is student assistant coaching for the Lander baseball team. Tekker, who transferred from the University of Virginia, played two years with the Bearcats in 2015 and ’17 (redshirting in ’16). Once completing four years of eligibility, Tekker focused on pursuing a career in coaching. The following year, an opportunity for an assistant baseball coach at Lander opened up, and Tekker immediately jumped on the position.
Tekker decided to coach baseball if he didn’t have the opportunity to further his career playing the sport on the professional level. During his senior year, Coach Burke asked Tekker about his plans once he finished playing. During the conversation, Burke suggested that Tekker consider accepting an assistant position.
Gladly, Tekker said he accepted the position. “Coach Burke and I would talk every day at practice, and occasionally we would talk about my future after playing. He knew I wanted to coach, so he would just tell me about pros and cons of the job and his experiences so far with the transition.” Tekker continued, “Once I really got interested in coming back and helping with coach Burke, he told me he wanted me to really experience all parts of the coaching experience by doing as much as I can on and off the field. He told me to push myself like I was playing and get the most out of the opportunity while still being in school”.
When asked if it worth these long days at practice and long nights of school, Tekker confidently responded, “100% yes. It is what I have always wanted to do with my future. I love having the opportunity to continue to invest in the program I once had the pleasure to play for.” Also, Coach Burke has allowed Tekker to obtain information to accumulate data in regards to a research project he is working on. Tekker is working towards creating a “heat chart” that analytically evaluates each pitcher and their outing performance.
When asked about the worst part of the job, Tekker wasted no time responding, “having to do team laundry after coming home from a late-night road trip of finishing up after a long night of practice”.
He added, “The best part is having the opportunity to view the game from an altered perspective.” With a new point of a view, Cameron has had the opportunity to analyze and gain addition knowledge of the game.
During the games, Cameron runs the bullpen for pitchers who are warming up to go into the game. In the dugout, he keeps up with the pitching stats to complete his heat chart and the pitching white board. Also, if he notices specific game details, such as coaching signs, tipping pitches, or team tendencies, he immediately informs Coach Burke.
The above timeline fails to display the true effort and dedication Tekker puts into his coaching position. Straight from speech class, he squeezes in a quick lunch to go while rushing to get to attend a coaching staff meeting at noon in order to discuss the performance of the weekend games.
Before practices, you can find him either hitting ground balls to the infielders or running position specific drills, while the team is stretching. Once practice starts, Tekker gears up to assist with pitcher bullpens. He is a versatile asset to the coaching staff and is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve success.