The “C” You in the Major Leagues Foundation and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) have selected youth baseball coach Jack Gillis as the June “Blue KC Coaches with Character” honoree.
“I’m honored to be selected as a Blue KC Coaches with Character honoree,” said Gillis, who began coaching in 1984 when he took over his oldest son’s T-ball team and now works to instill positive values in his 17- and 18-year- old athletes. “I ask my team to give 100 percent all the time and to be man enough to admit when you make a mistake. I expect them to be good sports and respectful of the umpires, coaches, other team and the game of baseball. At the same time, I try to be respectful of the other team and recognize their successes. I try to be friendly with the other coaches as an example and to reinforce that behavior in the dugout.”
Selected from nominations submitted online at cyouinthemajorleagues.org, with one honoree announced each month throughout the 2017 MLB season, each Blue KC Coaches with Character honoree will be interviewed on 810 WHB, receive a VIP gift package from Blue KC and CYITML, and will be invited to meet Royals General Manager and CYITML Founder Dayton Moore at an event in September at Kauffman Stadium. Additionally, Blue KC will make a $2,000 donation to CYITML in honor of each selected coach.
“I’m so proud of coaches like Jack Gillis who work to teach athletes not only the fundamentals of their sport, but also how to be good men and women off the field,” said Moore. “It says a lot about Jack and the authentic relationships he’s been building with baseball players for more than 30 years when his son is the who nominated him for this honor.”
Known for his stance on hard work and respect—a lesson he learned from his own father—Gillis was nominated by his son Ryan. According to Ryan, it’s difficult to go anywhere with his father without being stopped by a former player, parent or fellow coach who wants to thank Gillis for his positive influence on them.
“It amazes me the way his former players admire him and look for his advice in baseball and in life,” said Ryan. “He has given countless hours into teaching and learning how to play the game the right way. He preaches no shortcuts and that hard work will get you where you need to be. Yes, he is my dad, but I would imagine that all of the kids he has coached would agree with me that he is much more than that.”
When it comes to the payoff, Gillis says that his gratification comes from seeing players begin to reach their potential as ballplayers and as men.
“I try to make sure they know I care about them personally,” said Gillis, a native of the Kansas City area. “I care about their home life, their grades, their dreams and about what they want to accomplish.”
Those who would like to nominate an amateur coach for the Blue KC Coaches with Character program are encouraged to visit CYouInTheMajorLeagues.org/bluekc.