Zegarski has been named the new head coach of the MCCC
Women’s Softball Team. Zegarski is no stranger to Mercer’s
tradition of athletic excellence, having graduated from MCCC in
2001 after two years on the Men’s Baseball Team. He completed
his B.A. degree at Stockton State University, where he continued
a distinguished playing career.
a Hamilton native, began playing baseball at the age of six. In
high school he was an outfielder for Hamilton High West, which
made it to the state quarterfinals in his junior year and the
semi-finals in his senior year.
Zegarski played under then Head Coach Dave Gallagher. “Gallagher
was a great baseball guy,” Zegarski said. “He combined
the best of ‘old school’ fundamentals with a fresh
approach. He was really able to relate to the players. There was
great chemistry on that team.” The Vikings won Region 19
and the Northeast District his first year (1999) and competed
at the NJCAA World Series in Millington, TN. “We played
at the Team USA Training Complex. We were there with the seven
other top teams in the nation. There were lots of fans, pro scouts
and recruiters from four-year schools. I’ll never forget
it,” Zegarski said.
Zegarski continued to rack up the accolades, leading the conference
in hitting during his junior year and earning a No. 20 ranking
nationally. Unfortunately Stockton’s team was not highly
competitive, so there were many more losses than wins. “I
learned a lot from that experience,” Zegarski said. “There
are many positive things that go into college athletics besides
winning,” he said.
Mercer has been a natural transition for this talented player,
who accumulated years of summer work experience first as a teen
counselor and later as a teacher in MCCC’s Camp College.
When he was offered the coaching job, he was happy to accept.
plans for the women’s team will focus, at least for now,
on the small stuff. “I want the players to work on the fundamentals,”
Zegarski said. “It’s the small things that win ball
games.” After five weeks of fall practices, the players
have time off for strength training in the Fitness Center. Spring
practices begin in earnest in February for opening day on March
a nice mix of seven returning players and nine newcomers. He predicts
that they will improve on last year’s 11-17 record. But
he will also oversee a process that helps the players develop
academically. “It was one of my goals as a student and it’s
what the coaching staff is here for, to see progress on the field
and in the classroom,” Zegarski said.