Archive for Thursday, July 17, 2003

Former Bobcat McCoy signs with Park University

July 17, 2003

Last week, Basehor-Linwood High School graduate Ross McCoy drove to Parkville, Mo., to look at the Park University baseball field.

It wasn't the first time he had seen it -- probably more like the fifth or sixth.

But it was the first time he saw it while knowing for sure that he'd be playing there.

Last week McCoy signed a national letter of intent to play baseball for the Pirates, and although the signing came later in the year than most typically do, McCoy said there was little doubt he'd end up in Parkville.

"It just kind of happened that way," McCoy said of waiting until July to sign. "We kind of decided a long time ago that that's where I was going to go."

Park University coach Cary Lundy had known for a while, too. Lundy first saw McCoy play when he was a freshman at BLHS. During his junior year, McCoy was contacted by Lundy and from there the two talked weekly until he signed.

Somewhere in between McCoy made a visit to the school. That only helped things.

"I knew as soon as I went up there that I wanted to go there," McCoy said. "Coach Lundy's a good coach, they have a good program and it just seemed like a good fit."

Several factors influenced McCoy's decision, but the biggest was the distance from Basehor to Parkville.

"It's close to home so that will give my parents a chance to see me play for a couple more years," McCoy said. "Because obviously, I'm not going to play forever."

With that in mind, Park offered another advantage for McCoy -- a good psychology program.

McCoy has spent the past two years helping out at Basehor Elementary as a counselor for younger students. During that time, he realized he was good with children and that he enjoyed the work he did.

"My ideal situation would be to be a psychologist for a school district," McCoy said. "I think that would be a lot of fun."

He went on to say something unheard of from a majority of college athletes.

"I like to learn," he said.

McCoy said he feels the 2,000-student school will give him the perfect opportunity to do just that. With class sizes averaging around 20 students per class, McCoy said it reminds him of high school and it's a perfect fit.

"If I sit in the back of the room in a big class, that's a problem," McCoy said. "I like to learn and I'm excited about the opportunity to do that at Park."

While excited was the word McCoy used to describe his academic anticipation, nerve-racking was the word he used to describe his upcoming athletic career.

"It's a little scary," McCoy said. "It will definitely be different playing against the best players around, but I'm looking forward to the challenge. It's hard to push yourself in high school when you're beating teams 22-0. And I'm looking forward to becoming a better player than I ever thought I could be."

At first, McCoy said he expects that improvement to come via his spot as a role player.

He has goals -- both for this year and his career -- but he said he's confident and content with letting his career develop instead of forcing it.

"I'm not necessarily expecting to start my first year, but I want to play a lot," McCoy said. "I'm not going to be the all-star stud that comes in and makes everybody say 'Wow.' I'm going to be more of the quiet guy, who fills a role this year and then becomes a leader for the next few years."

That role, as far as position goes, has not yet been determined. McCoy said he might see time at first base, third base and on the mound.

In high school he primarily played third base, but he did make seven appearances out of the bullpen as a BLHS pitcher.

McCoy didn't earn all-league, all-metro and MVP honors by playing third base or pitching, though. He earned them by swinging the bat.

As a senior, McCoy led the Bobcats in batting average and slugging percentage. His .550 average was one of the highest in BLHS history and his .931 slugging percentage was among the best in class 4A.

He also added five home runs, 37 RBIs in just 73 at bats. His total of four strike outs were the fewest on the team and McCoy hit higher than .400 in each year of his high school career, earning him varsity letterman honors all four seasons.

While his high school totals read like an all-star stat line, McCoy said he was anxious to close that chapter and begin the next.

"My whole life I've thought about playing college baseball and now I get the opportunity to," McCoy said. "I feel very lucky."

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