Seth McClung has played professional baseball since he was drafted in the fifth round by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1999. Now, with his playing career officially over, he will try his hand at coaching.
McClung will be the new baseball coach at Keswick Christian at the end of this season. He is taking over for Brian Ibs, who has been promoted to a school administrator. Prior to this job, McClung was a girls basketball coach at Pinellas Park and Osceola.
“Obviously there was a little foreshadowing when I left Osceola,’’ said McClung, who resigned at Osceola in March, just before he was released by the Pittsburgh Pirates. “I think this is the perfect opportunity for me. My kids go there and I’ve been around the program already.’’
McClung, 33, will take over a program that has not had a lot of baseball success. The team is 7-8 this season and trails both Canterbury and Lakeside Christian in Class 2A, District 8. But he expects the program to get better quickly, and he hopes his baseball past will have something to do with that.
“I fully expect kids to walk through the door (to play baseball),’’ McClung said. “We’re going to treat it like spring training. I’ll be able to oversee all of the baseball, from middle school up. We’ll have everybody on the same program. And we already have a good core of younger kids in the program.’’
McClung pitched for six MLB teams in his career (Rays, Brewers, Marlins, Rangers, Cubs and Pirates). He also played in Mexico and Taiwan. He will be the fifth Pinellas County high school baseball coach with MLB experience. Northeast coach Rob Stanifer pitched for the Marlins and Red Sox, St. Petersburg's Travis Phelps pitched for the Rays and Brewers, Canterbury coach John Frascatore pitched for the Cardinals, Diamondbacks and Blue Jays, and Tarpon Springs coach Kris Wilson pitched for the Royals and Yankees.
McClung coached girls basketball for four seasons, two at Pinellas Park and two at Osceola. He did not rule out coaching basketball down the road.
“I’d be open to that,’’ McClung said. “(Current coach) Karrmayne (King) does a great job, but maybe down the road when my girls are older I would do that.’’