HUNTLEY – Standing at almost seven feet tall, Stacey King is an imposing presence on the baseball field.
However, the former Chicago Bull has put his experience as a professional athlete to good use as the coach of a youth baseball team. His Long Grove A’s finished pool play in the Continental Amateur Baseball Associaton 15-Year-Old World Series with a 3-1 record after a 6-5 victory Monday against Seattle’s SBA Buzz.
The victory gave King’s team the second seed out of their division, but King said once you get into the championship bracket, seeding really doesn’t matter.
“You can be seeded first or 32nd at this point, every team is a great baseball team,” King said. “I just want my team to be healthy and ready to go in the next round.”
King also gets to coach his son Erick, who is the team’s starting right-fielder, which allows him to enjoy coaching even more.
“My kids got into the sport at an early age so I [started] coaching them around T-Ball so I have been coaching baseball for about 14 years now,” King said. “Coaching youth baseball allows me to spend more time around my kids and seeing them enjoy a sport that they can play at a later age.”
After his playing days, King went on to become the head coach of the CBA’s Rockford Lightning, taking them to the championship game in 2003, where the Lightning lost to the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
King said his coaching experience with the Lightning has helped him manage youth baseball.
See CABA, page 3B
“Coaching is just about managing people, and I was around good coaches and good people in my playing days,” King said. “This is about getting kids to believe in themselves. The biggest difference between me and other dads who coach is that the kids respect me because I played on the highest level so they are going to listen to what I say.”
See CABA, page 3B
The 40-year-old King, who was part of the Bulls’ first three championship teams from 1991-93 and now is a color analyst for Bulls games for Comcast SportsNet, added that while he was a productive basketball player, he has had a love for baseball since his youth in Oklahoma.
“People may not know that I was a heck of a baseball player in high school,” King said. “For me, it was football, baseball and then basketball in high school but I love to be outside and I have the summers free so this is a chance for me to be outside and help kids.”
With King’s duties for Comcast, he always has his eyes on the Bulls and what they are doing and said he believes the Bulls are on the right track to get back to championship material.
“[The Bulls] is a very special team,” King said. “John Paxson and Scott Skiles have done a remarkable job of building this team from within in the draft. They have not had to give up any of their key pieces to get to where they are now. Fans want a championship now but it takes a long time to build teams like that just like the teams I was on in the early ’90s. They are making the right steps, it will just take time.”