Mudcats coach Kerry Kincaid has traveled the nation and even lived in sunny Hawaii, but he feels most at home on a baseball diamond.
Q: As a former baseball coach at East Wake High and current first base coach for the Carolina Mudcats, you obviously have a love for Americas pastime. Do you remember how that passion for the game was ignited? Was it something that developed as a young boy?
A: I really love all sports. If it is a sport with a ball in it, I like it, but I would have to say baseball is just different. I played baseball in high school and even though my wife and I have been living here for 23 years now, I did not grow up in this area. I was born in Shelby, and then we moved to Randleman, and then we moved to Virginia Beach and also Norfolk. For most of my grade school, I was in Virginia. We then moved to Asheboro, and that is where I graduated from high school.
Q: You moved around a lot. You say you lived in Norfolk for a while. Were your parents in the military?
A: No, my dad was a Baptist minister.
Q: So you grew up a preachers kid? You always hear the stories about preachers kids and the stereotype about how they can sometimes be pretty rowdy. Was it hard growing up the son of a minister?
A: Well, you do grow up with expectations. We were at church every time the doors were open. There are some hard things about it and sometimes people do expect you to be perfect and living to those standards can be hard. You just try to do your best. I know I was not perfect and I probably could have been better but I was not too bad. Raising kids is never an easy thing. My boys are grown, thank goodness, because I would hate to be a new parent nowadays.
Q: Why is that?
A: There is just so much more kids can get into nowadays. There is so much out there to get them in trouble. I cant imagine having to be a new parent just monitoring a smart phone is a full time job. I was glad we didnt have stuff like that when I was growing up. We just ran around and played outside.
Q: And youre still playing outside. You said baseball is different. What is it about the game that sets it apart?
A: That is right. I am fortunate to have been around a great game for so long. I have always wanted to learn as much as I can about the game, and I have been lucky enough to have worked with all kinds of players, from young kids to professionals. The game of baseball is very strategic. It is a thinking mans game. It is one of the few sports I know where the defense is the one in control of the ball. You really have to think ahead in baseball. Also, most people consider high-scoring games to be exciting and chalking up points the main purpose, but that is not the case in baseball. Some of the most exciting games I know have been 1-0 at the end.
Q: You coached baseball at East Wake High, where your sons graduated. What was it like to coach them?
A: Well, I started helping out at East Wake when I began talking to coach Chad Smothers. My son was in his class and he was telling me how he needed some help. I did take some time off when my sons were playing because it was easier just to watch. They both went on to go to N.C. State but they didnt play ball there. My oldest son, Chase, is now 28 and my younger son Storm is 25.
Q: Chase and Storm sound like good soap opera names.
A: I guess they do (laughing). We got our son Chases name from a baby book and it fit him because we were always chasing him. I was a big Baltimore Orioles fan growing up and I liked the player Storm Davis so we named our younger son after him.
Q: Have you been to a lot of big league baseball games?
A: I joined the Navy after I went to technical school out of high school. My wife and I lived in five states in six years. We lived in Chicago for a while so we saw games there. We have been to some Boston Red Sox games. In the late 1980s, we lived in Hawaii and we didnt go to a lot of baseball games but celebrating Christmas in Hawaii at a luau is pretty nice.
Q: What is your favorite baseball movie?
A: It would have to be The Rookie (with Dennis Quaid). It is about a high school baseball coach who can still throw the ball fast, so he gets a chance to play in the big leagues. It is a great story.
Q: Your wife, surrounded by males and full-time sports, must be a patient woman. I hope she likes sports.
A:She does. My wife, Penny, and I have been married for 30 years. She grew up playing softball. And she enjoys watching football on television. I have been fortunate to have such a good wife. When you have someone that enjoys the same things you do, it allows you to be successful. I have been blessed.
Correspondent Dena Coward