Former Black Hawk player, Augustana coach Meyer takes reins of UT baseball | Contributed photo
The United Township High School (UT) baseball team has a new coach heading up the program, but he already knows his way around the area.
Mike Meyers, a former pitcher at Black Hawk College and coach at Augustana College, was recently hired to run the Panthers program.
Meyers told the Rock Island Today that he took the job on Feb. 21.
It has been a whirlwind since then, he said, with getting his certifications and testing done as well as the players' paperwork.
“It has been pretty hectic here,” Meyers said. “Ready for just the baseball games to be going on, feel more at home.”
United Township is scheduled to open the season on March 18 at LaSalle-Peru Township High School. Results were unavailable at publishing time.
Meyers, a native of London, Ontario, twice earned All-Arrowhead Conference honors while pitching for Black Hawk, according to Augustana's website. He was drafted twice by the Houston Astros in the Major League Baseball amateur draft — bypassing them both times — before being taken by the Chicago Cubs in the 1997 draft.
Meyers went on to spend nine seasons in the Cubs, New York Mets and Milwaukee Brewers farm systems. He amassed a 59-38 career record with a 3.67 earned run average and 777 strikeouts in 859 innings, according to The Baseball Cube.
Since then, Meyers has been coaching throughout the Quad Cities region. He had two stints as an assistant at Augustana and also was an assistant at Black Hawk and Assumption High School in Davenport, Iowa. At Assumption, he was part of the program's 2008 Class 2A state-title team. He also has been a private pitching coach in the area.
The UT job came to Meyers when he got a phone call from a neighbor, he said. The call was to let Meyers know that Tyson Blaser, UT's previous coach, had taken a job in the New York Yankees' minor-league system and that the UT position would be coming open. Meyers and his wife have two children in the UT school system.
“I kind of talked it over with (my wife) and decided it might be a good opportunity to make sure the baseball program is going in the right direction,” he said.
The appeal of coaching to Meyers is to pay forward the instruction and opportunities he received throughout his playing career from top coaches.
“I like to just give the knowledge that I've learned throughout the years and kind of pass it on,” he said.
As far as this year's UT squad, Meyers said that judging from preseason practices, the Panthers should be fine offensively and good defensively.
“Pitching-wise, we might be a little bit light, but we do have some young guys in the program at the younger levels that I think are going to be able to help us out this year,” he said.