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Former Washington Nationals pitcher Mike Hinckley couldn't be happier in first year as Capitol Hill coach

by Ryan Aber Published: April 18, 2013

But the younger Hinckley didn't give much thought to coaching until recently.

“I remember my dad coming home and unraveling the tape off his stirrups and throwing them at me when I was a kid,” Mike said. “I loved being around him at the field and dragging the field with him. I never thought to myself that I do that. I always thought I'd play all the time.”

But in the latter years of his playing career, Hinckley started offering pitching and hitting lessons and contemplating what it would be like to follow his father's footsteps.

Last summer, about a year after he'd been “fired” from professional baseball, he mentioned to his wife Leanna that he'd like to coach on some level.

A few weeks later, Capitol Hill principal Ale Souza approached Hinckley after a service at Faith Crossing Baptist Church and asked him if he'd be interested in the spot.

“We prayed about it, talked about it as a family and in August, once school started, I was ready to get out here and get started,” Hinckley said. “When I got fired from baseball June 11, 2011, I didn't know what the next move was. I knew I wanted to go back to school and do certain things with my life but I wasn't sure what God had in store for me.”

The players weren't sure what to think when they found out a player who pitched 28 games in the majors over 2008 and 2009 with a 1.93 ERA was going to be their coach.

“I was in shock,” sophomore Juan Varela said of finding out their coach played in the majors. “I can't believe we had someone as our coach that had done that. Why is he at Capitol Hill?”

Hinckley wants it to be much more than a cameo, though.

“As long as they let me stay around here and no one fires me, I'd like to stay around Capitol Hill for quite some time,” he said. “I've grown so close to these guys, coming out to practice and getting a chance to hang out with them outside of the field. … I want to be out here watching them grow up.”

by Ryan Aber
OU Athletics Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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