DuBois Central Catholic baseball coach Adam Fox is still considered a “young” coach when it comes to the high school game given the fact he has been a head coach for just three years.
However, he was far from being your typical “young” head coach when he was handed the reins to the Cardinal program in 2018. Fox, a 2000 St. Marys Area graduate, brought with him years of playing the game at every level — from the youth leagues up through the highest levels of Minor League baseball.
Fox, who played collegiately at Ohio University, spent nine seasons (2003-11) as an infielder in the Minor Leagues with the Texas Rangers and Washington Nationals. He was selected by the Rangers in the 10th round of the 2013 MLB Draft.
Fox was more than just a baseball player in high school though. He was a great all-around athlete who also played football and basketball at St. Marys. He is still the Dutchmen’s second all-time leading scorer on the hardwood with 1,317 points.
“I encourage kids to take advantage of those other sports opportunities and be an athlete first,” said Fox
During those nine seasons in the minors, he spent a vast majority of his time at the Double-A and Triple-A levels. He finished his Minor League career with a .242 batting average and had 141 doubles, 23 triples, 84 home runs, 406 RBIs and scored 393 runs.
When he hung up the spikes and returned to the area in 2012, he initially got into coaching youth baseball because of his son Brayden Fox and also continued his playing career locally in the Federation League with the Sykesville Senatiors.
Fox, who gave private lessons to kids of all ages in the winter months during his professional days, still coaches at those youth levels today. Brayden, a student at DCC, is now 13 and plays in the DuBois Little League as well as on different travel teams.
Fox, who also has a one-year old daughter Raelan with fiancée Megan Witherite, took the time to answer a few other questions about himself for our series spotlighting area high school coaches in all sports.
The reason I enjoy coaching is ... This is a question I can answer in a lot of ways, and I probably will ruffle some feathers here. I can always say I coach for the love of the game and to give back for what I have been blessed with over my lifetime in baseball. I could say how rewarding it is to see kids improve at the game from season’s end to season’s finish, which are true, but in all honestly, I coach because kids in our area do not have a lot of options to learn from someone who has experienced what I have.
This is a small town and we are blessed to have people that give up their time to coach and help kids. For a game that is 90% mental, most coaches focus 90% on fundamental. Not that this is wrong, but most baseball coaches don’t know any better. Mechanics and fundamentals are the foundation, and all kids need to learn and work at them at all levels. Mentality and approach are what I teach on a daily basis, along with how to play the game the right way.
When you get outside the area and see the travel ball organizations, the level of play really jumps up from a skill standpoint. It also is a business, and if you know any better, you can see some of these organizations do not have the best interest of the kids at heart. They just want to win trophies and will abuse a kid by pitching more than they should on a given weekend to get it, then they go back and throw in their local leagues.
I try to address these issues with players because it is about the long term and keeping them healthy and learning. What they do at 12 years old really doesn’t matter. It is where they are at when they are 17 and 18 years old looking to get a scholarship or just be healthy to continue to play the game. Learning the mental game and the fundamentals at a young age is the most important thing. Learning how to have the right mentality as well as a solid approach to all aspects of the game is what I strive to teach my guys.
The hardest thing about coaching is ... communication with parents and the administration. The fundraising, scheduling, being the grounds crew, ordering uniforms, shoes, cleats, hats and finding help with those things above.
Coaching the game is the easy part.
The biggest reason I continue to coach is ... There is more talent today then there was when I grew up, and those kids deserve to learn how to play the game the right way and learn the mental aspect of baseball. The mental aspect is the ultimate separator when talent meets talent. You can not teach that if you have not experienced it for an extended period of time like I have.
It is one thing to be there to have a good experience and to be on a team and enjoy your friends. I am all for that, and I enjoy helping those kids that just want to have fun and be in the moment. If I can teach those kids some structure, commitment and work ethic to help them in whatever they do in their future, then I have done my job. I want to help them and mold boys into responsible young men.
Then there are the guys that want to take the game as far as they can, maybe a college scholarship or even further. I lived that life, so I can really help these type of players. These kids that want to play at a higher level in college or even pro ball need to realize that it is not all glitz and glam. You can be here today and gone tomorrow in the baseball world. It is cut throat.
There are a lot of salesman college coaches and scouts out there that will tell you what you want to hear. The fact is, only the man in the mirror is responsible for the outcome and what kind of baseball career they want to have no matter where they are in their baseball journey. Parents can’t hold a kid’s hand through high school baseball, college baseball and so on.
The first part is the kid has to be willing to sacrifice and do things other kids are not willing to do, and that is just the first part. Complacently is the downfall to any amateur player. Once they start to dig themselves, the game humbles you real quick ... once you get over that hurdle, you have a shot. It takes a ton of discipline and self awareness to be really good at baseball at a high level. Nutrition, workouts, sleep, traveling, it all matters. If you ignore one, it will effect the other.
Those are the kids I love to coach. Locally, Jeff Wehler, Justin Miknis and Cole Sansom are prime examples. These guys have been willing to commit their time and effort to baseball and have been rewarded for it. The families have made huge financial sacrifices and time sacrifices to give them the opportunity to compete on a higher scale. Justin is currently on a scholarship at Kent and was drafted by the Orioles, and Cole just recently committed to Kent. Jeff is an MLB draft prospect currently playing at Youngstown State.
I have had a chance to work with all three on their game and the mental sides of the game. Whether these guys make it it the Majors is up to them, but one thing is for sure, their make up and work ethic will translate into real life work later on in their lives. They have the foundation to be successful in whatever they do because what they have learned through baseball.
Then my own selfish reasons for coaching are the fact I have a talented 13 year old son Brayden who has one plan ... to play in the big leagues. If I can help him by being involved in the game as much as possible, I am going to do that for him. He loves being around the older guys and learning from them. He is a fun kid and loves the game. I just want him to grow up to be a good person and work hard ,no matter what he does. If baseball is in the cards down the road, all the better.
My real job outside coaching is ... I work for St. Marys Insurance Agency as a Commercial Insurance Producer. I help businesses by selling them insurance policies to protect their business.
The person(s) who influenced me to get into coaching ... Jeff Azzato has always been a mentor to me. I have the utmost respect for Jeff. He started coaching me when I was 9 or 10 years old. He has been someone I could lean on through all these years and get advice from. He owns St Marys Insurance who I now work for. He is one the hardest working people I know to this day. He has helped me as a coach and as a person for many years.
Coach Joe Carbone from my days at Ohio University. Coach and I still have a great relationship. He really helped me bridge the gap from being a good high school player to a very good college player and eventually to a professional. He focused on the details, grades and the things that turn boys into men. He is such a great baseball mind that anyone in the country that you talk to that has been in the game, seems to have a good story involving coach Carbone.
Even as a youngster, when I was given an opportunity to start as a freshman in high school ball (at St. Marys), Denny and Fred Haberberger saw something in me and gave me the opportunity. I never forgot that and I look at kids coming up into high school that need that opportunity. Good coaches see beyond the now. I truly appreciate what those guys saw in me back then.
All my coaches have had some influence on me. Communicating with players and treating them how you would want to be treated is a big component to coaching. You have to be able to talk to kids and let them know you truly care about them, all while still maintaining that level of respect. I always admired coaches I could approach at talk to. Some were better at it than others, and those coaches impacted me most.
My favorite team/season or game that stands out me is ... You will have to ask me this same question down the road. I am still early in my coaching career.
One final thing I’d like to add is ... I played this game at every level. I got a 3-day cup of coffee on the MLB roster in 2007 without ever seeing the field other than a few exhibition spring training games that year.
If I am not working or coaching, I am an avid outdoorsman, videographer, and youtuber (http://www.youtube.com/c/whitetailkings).