June | Blue KC Coaches with Character
Michael Dudley, Baseball Coach
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) and the “C” You in the Major Leagues Foundation (CYITML) have announced Blue Valley North Baseball Coach Michael Dudley as the June Blue Blue KC Coaches with Character honoree.
“One way to develop stronger communities is to get involved and help others,” said CYITML Founder/Executive Director and Royals VP/General Manager Dayton Moore. “With his leadership classes and service throughout Kansas City, coach Dudley is making an impact on our community while instilling in his student-athletes a servant leadership heart that will leave a life-long impression on these young men.”
Following his collegiate career, which included two seasons at both Garden City Community College (Kan.) and the University of Kansas, Dudley returned to both schools in a coaching role, serving as a graduate assistant for KU in 2006 and as an assistant coach for GCCC from 2009-2011. Following a five-year stint as an assistant coach at Lawrence High School (Kan.), Dudley joined Blue Valley North in 2017 where he spent two seasons as an assistant before taking over as head coach this season. And it hasn’t taken long for him to earn a glowing reputation among those associated with the program.
“He is a true leader and has been an incredible influence on his players right from the start,” said Chris Reeves, the parent of one of the BVN players who nominated Dudley for the Blue KC Coaches with Character honor. “He is the most positive coach I have ever encountered. His enthusiasm is infectious and has definitely rubbed off on his players. There is a great family atmosphere among the team and the entire baseball program. I couldn’t be happier that my son has the opportunity to play for him.”
Selected from nominations submitted by fans, with one honoree announced each month throughout the 2019 MLB season, each Blue KC Coaches with Character honoree will throw out the first pitch at a Royals home game, watch pregame batting practice, receive four game tickets, enjoy dinner in the Royals Diamond Club and visit the Royals Radio Network to record an on-air interview. Dudley threw out the first pitch and enjoyed his experience at Wednesday night’s game.
“It’s incredible to see a coach in his first year as a head coach making such a tremendous impact,” said Christina Lively, Department Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Blue KC. “Coach Michael Dudley is making an investment in his players on and off the field, and it will pay dividends for years to come. It’s our honor to recognize him as a Blue KC Coach with Character.”
Part of Dudley’s positive influence on his athletes stems from the character lessons he works to instill in them. On the field, he enjoys helping his guys learn perseverance, how to function as a team and how to set goals and work to achieve them. Off the field, he helps them learn the value of serving others by arranging and assisting with community outreach efforts.
This season, Dudley organized a food drive for Harvesters and sent the players out into the community to solicit donations, resulting in a donation to Harvesters of 459 pounds of food. His players went out in groups to visit and thank businesses that had supported the program in the past. And Dudley also helped facilitate a fundraiser for ALS after learning a player’s uncle was diagnosed last year.
“I want to try and instill qualities and characteristics in my athletes that will help them well beyond their time as a member of the BVN baseball program,” said Dudley, who heads to work early once every two weeks to give leadership classes for his upperclassmen players. “I want them to value things like hard work, character, integrity, selflessness, leadership, working with others, and accepting a role within a team and performing it to the best of their ability. They’ll be employees, husbands, fathers, etc. for a lot longer than they will be baseball players, so I feel like it’s my job as a coach to try and prepare them for those things as well.”
In addition to the game-day benefits, each Blue KC Coaches with Character honoree also will be interviewed on 610 Sports Radio, receive a VIP gift package from Blue KC and CYITML and will be invited to meet 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 honoree.
Those who would like to nominate an amateur coach from the KC area for Blue KC Coaches with Character are encouraged to visit CYouInTheMajorLeagues.org/bluekc.