When Joe Muecke was named head baseball coach of Saguaro High School in the fall of 2013, there was a genuine interest in enhancing the reach of the program beyond the field and into the community.
Having spent the better half of a decade involved in Saguaro’s baseball program, he felt one area could have a large impact on the culture of the program. Having grown up in the SUSD community, Coach Muecke noticed that players often don’t realize how fortunate they are to play the game they love, but take it more for granted than the privilege it is.
Prior to his first season as Head Coach, Coach Muecke made it his priority to create a “family atmosphere” for his players and coaching staff. This was accomplished through team bonding exercises, family/program outings, and parent involvement. More significantly, the baseball team became heavily involved with volunteer work, in line with its new mantra, “Men of Character.”
As a member of the baseball program, each player is required to complete a number of community service hours in the off-season. Players and coaches have on multiple occasions volunteered at the Miracle League of Arizona, a non-profit organization that allows children with disabilities and special needs to enjoy the game of baseball. The team also has “adopted” multiple families for the holidays, helped with a local blanket drives for the Andre House, cleaned community parks, participated in walks, toy drives and served at the Scottsdale Parada del Sol Parade, among other things.
Coach Muecke says, “As participants of the Saguaro High School baseball team, we are very fortunate to represent the community on the field. Moreover, I feel strongly that we must represent the community off the field. The “Men of Character” program has been a great way for the boys to bond together, appreciate what they have, and help those that might not be as lucky as we are.”
A person’s character is more to be praised than outstanding talent. Most talents are, to some extent, a gift. Good character by contrast, is not given to each person. For Saguaro’s baseball players, the “Men of Character” program helps each player develop lifelong skills – on the field, in the classroom, around campus, and in the community.