When Stephen Decatur Baseball Coach, Tyler Riley, was awarded Assistant Coach of the Year by the Maryland State Association of Baseball Coaches, he attributed his success to his family and friends.
Instead of taking credit for it, Riley said the award really should go to his wife, his mom, his mom mom, his sister—any one but him. According to his friends and coworkers, that is the type of person he is. Riley is the unsung hero.
Riley grew up in the area, played baseball at Snow Hill High School and later went on to play collegiate baseball at Salisbury University, graduating in 2008. He stepped into his first coaching gig at SU just a year later in 2009 under Coach Fleetwood.
After Salisbury University, Riley coached at Pocomoke High School under Coach Jesse Serig and then went on to Stephen Decatur, where he is currently the Varsity Assistant Coach under Rich Ferro.
“I have been at Decatur for 5 years now— I just wanted to stay around the game I love,” Riley said.
To Riley, coaching baseball goes far beyond the sport.
“Once I really got into it, I saw something where I could take baseball and use it with young men and really propel them into their future,” Riley said. “It’s an eye opening experience to get the type of reaction that coaching can.”
Not only does Riley coach baseball, he is also an Alternative Education teacher at Decatur. Riley says all the hours he has put in with his students and players, have been worth it.
“Having kids I coached at Salisury, Pocomoke and Decatur, message me and call me over the last 24 hrs since receiving this award has been such a rewarding feeling,” Riley said.
Riley says other than using baseball as a stepping stone with kids and their futures, being able to show kids in the program it’s not all about muscle, but it’s about what is between the ears and thinking, is his favorite part.
“Baseball is really a thinking person’s game— the game of failure,” Riley said. “We teach out kids to figure it out, learn from adversity, learn from failure.”
As Riley accepts his award, he looks back on how he got to where he is today.
“This award makes me realize how fortunate I am for my dad and the men in my family to teach me the baseball side and for the women in my family who have helped me out,” Riley said. “I really owe it to past coaches and my family.”
As a father of three, with two twins under a year old, Riley says he wouldn’t be able to do it without the women in his life coming to help as soon as practices and games start.
With tryouts quickly approaching, Riley believes his players have been pointed in the right direction. Although the coaches can’t be with the players hands on, at the end of each season, they do a one-on-one player evaluation, coach them, and challenge them. Riley says at that point, it’s on their plate.
“We have a great group of kids and they work hard. Everyone is going to think we’ll be down since we’ve lost 7 or 8 kids to college baseball and we are very young but they are going to be able to handle it.”
SDHS baseball tryouts begin March 1st and the teams season opener will be mid-March.