By STEVE KRAH
Adam Enright is settling into his first college baseball head coaching job.
Enright, a 2007 Munster (Ind.) High School graduate, officially started at Missouri Valley College in Marshall, Mo., on June 15, but started on-campus full-time the first week of August after managing the Northwest Indiana Oilmen to a 2018 Midwest Collegiate League championship.
Growing up, Enright played at Edison Little League/Babe Ruth League in Hammond, Ind., followed by four summers of travel baseball with the Hammond Chiefs (now the Morris Chiefs).
After playing for Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Famer Bob Shinkan at Munster, Enright took to the diamond at South Suburban College in South Holland, Ill. (2008-09) for National Junior College Athletic Association Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Famer Steve Ruzich and the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville (2010-11) for two-time national champion Tracy Archuleta.
Enright was an NJCAA All-American at South Suburban, hitting .446 with five home runs, 17 doubles and 46 runs batted in. At USI, he started every game for the 2010 NCAA Division II national champions. He also started 55 contests in 2011, helping the Screaming Eagles to a fourth straight Great Lakes Valley Conference championship.
Enright holds a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Southern Indiana and a Master’s of Arts in coaching from Greenville (Ill.) University.
As an assistant baseball coach, Enright has made stops at Chicago State University (2012), the University of Arkansas-Little Rock (2013) and Trinity College in Palos Heights, Ill. (2014-18).
He also spent seven summers with the Northwest Indiana Oilmen (2012-18) — the last four as manager. The Whiting-based team also won the league title in 2016.
During his time as a coach, Enright has learned the importance of being organized.
“Things can get pretty hectic,” says Enright, 29. “The qualities that I bring to this job as a head coach are thoroughness and the ability to put ideas together.
“I have to make sure things are spelled out and clearly communicated.”
At NCAA Division I Chicago State, Enright worked with Cougars head coach and Hammond (Ind.) High School graduate Michael Caston.
“He was a relationships guy,” says Enright of Caston. “Things were tougher for us and wins were hard to come by. He kept the players in a positive state of mind. He kept everybody’s spirits high and kept things enjoyable.
“He played a lot of really quality schools (during non-conference play).”
Enright’s stint at D-I Arkansas-Little Rock gave him the opportunity to serve on the staff of Trojans head coach Scott Norwood.
“He was a structured, disciplined type of coach,” says Enright of Norwood. “He would make sure everybody was motivated to buy into the program’s philosophy.
“Assistant coaches were allowed a lot of freedom when it came to developing players.”
At NAIA Trinity, Enright worked on a Trolls staff headed by Justin Huisman (who is also a former Oilmen manager) and learned that administrative duties make up a large portion of a head coach’s job.
“I got to really concentrate on baseball a lot,” says Enright. “(Huisman) was very good at the administrative side. He was very organized, a very good planner and very good at keeping players in the know.”
It was in Palos Heights that Enright met the woman that he would marry. Adam and Kimmy Enright were wed in December 2017.
Enright’s top assistant at Missouri Valley — Matt Dwyer — is back for his seventh season in 2019. Dwyer is familiar with both the coaching and administrative sides.
“We tackle things together,” says Enright of Dwyer. “That frees us up to do more baseball.”
Enright and Dwyer are aided by graduate assistant Tyler White and student assistants Dean Morphew and Chris Rodriguez.
Fall practice just began at Missouri Valley.
“There’s a a lot of instruction and breaking the game down,” says Enright. “It’s a lot more teaching and talking than playing games.”
NAIA rules allow baseball activities for 24 weeks and the Vikings will work six days a week for six weeks in the fall until mid-October and then 18 leading into and including the spring season. The season opener is scheduled for Feb. 8 at Williams Baptist University in Walnut Ridge, Ark., with the home opener Feb. 22 against conference opponent Northwestern College.
MVC is part of the 13-member Heart of America Athletic Conference. Teams will play 31 conference games — three each against divisional opponents and two apiece against cross-divisional foes. Division series are usually played on weekends with one nine-inning single game and a doubleheader. Cross-divisional games tend to be weekday doubleheaders.
Enright learned of the opening at Missouri Valley through the American Baseball Coaches Association job board. He attended the annual ABCA Convention when it was in Indianapolis last January.
“It’s something near and dear to my heart,” says Enright. “I try to go as often as I can.
“It’s always worth going. You’re always able to pick up something new, see familiar faces and meet new ones.”
The 2019 ABCA Convention is slated for Jan. 3-6 in Dallas.
Adam Enright, a Munster (Ind.) High School and University of Southern Indiana graduate and former Northwest Oilmen manager, is the new head baseball coach at Missouri Valley College in Marshall, Mo. (Missouri Valley College Photo)