The road to success is usually never a smooth one as we all would like it to be.
On paper, you could say that holding a 360-88 record at Rowan College at Gloucester County while also having six National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) District G Coach of The Year honors makes for a clear road.
Rowan baseball coach Mike Dickson would beg to differ.
“When I was younger, baseball was the most challenging sport,” Dickson said. “There’s so many things with it that are challenging at a young age, but I loved it. The challenge of baseball drew me to it. I liked that individual moment and the team setting, and I could handle dealing with failure.”
While playing at Rowan from 1997-2000, Dickson accumulated three New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) All-Conference selections while residing in Glassboro. He clearly left a mark that he’d later want to lengthen.
Dickson still holds records for runs in a season and runs per game in a season with 57 and 1.58, respectively, both set in 1998. This led to the conversation of players who have then turned to coaching. This is something that occurs in sports year after year. Joe Girardi, Ron Washington and Terry Francona are just a few to name in baseball.
Dickson is no different.
“The most challenging thing is you’re not out there playing,” Dickson said with a grin. “You’re relying on 18- to 22-year-olds to do things that you’re hopefully teaching them to do. Ultimately, they have to go out to tell them. I tell them, ‘I can’t get a hit with two outs anymore with a runner in scoring position or a leadoff walk.’ Teaching them about being humble in success and being humble in failure. That’s what it’s about.”
The Profs are 16-7 overall as they’ve opened up NJAC play this past week, splitting a doubleheader against Ramapo College. This is Dickson’s third year in charge of the brown and gold, and his third year seems to be quite the charm.
In 2015, Rowan held a team batting average of .315 and an ERA of 3.61. Dickson hit a sophomore slump of sorts in 2016 while the team batted .311 and held a 3.79 ERA. This year has been a different story. Although they have a middle-of-the-pack batting average in the NJAC (.295), the Profs have been dominant on the mound. Rowan is second in the conference as well as sixth in the nation in terms of team ERA this year with a 2.67 figure.
Adversity has played a huge role in Dickson’s success here in the ‘Boro. After losing his father at 18 and his brother suffering a neck injury in 2009, Dickson knows a challenge and how to overcome whatever lays in his way.
“If he can get through that, then I can work through this. In 2010, we won a national championship and that was the same year he was injured. So, going back and forth to the hospital after practice at night and with him to the rehab facility was a challenge,” Dickson said.
“Developing kids and working with them is fun,” he added. “The game is fun.”
For questions/comments about this story, email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @thewhitonline.