Mike Matheny spent a lot of time last spring following his son, Tate, and the Class 3 state champion baseball team.
But Matheny will not be spending as much time at Westminster during Tate's senior season as he just got a new job, as manager of the World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals.
"That balance of power of career and family has always been a tough one for me, and I believe it's tough for everybody in this industry," Matheny said at a press conference Monday. "But the dynamics in my particular family have certainly changed, and a great example is yesterday was a tremendous day for our family. Not just for me, but my son (Tate) signs his national letter of intent to go to Missouri State. My daughter makes an oral commitment to play hockey at Ohio State University, so things are changing quickly in my home. My family couldn't be more supportive than they are of this."
Matheny has five children, four of whom are currently at Westminster Christian Academy. Senior Tate comes off a spectacular junior season as he hit .505 with 10 homeruns and 54 RBIs for the state champion Wildcats. More than half of his 54 hits were of the extra base variety as he had eight doubles and 10 triples to go along with his 10 home runs. He also stole 22 bases and was not caught.
Katie, a junior, is a hockey player who recently made her commitment to Ohio State.
Luke is a freshman who is currently preparing for the basketball season and will likely play baseball in the spring. Jake is in eighth grade at Westminster and Blaise is in fifth grade.
Matheny's former Cardinals teammate Andy Benes is the softball coach (the Wildcats advanced to the final four this fall) and assistant baseball coach at Westminster. Benes played three years with Matheny with the Cardinals in 2000, 2001 and 2002.
As a pitcher, Benes could appreciate the defensive exploits of Matheny, who won four Gold Gloves.
"I have been privileged to have pitched to some great catchers in my career," Benes told Town and Country-Manchester Patch. "But Mike would have to be at the top of the list. He was a phenomenal defensive catcher. As a pitcher, you want to be comfortable throwing any pitch at any time and that was the case with Mike behind the plate. I am sure the current Cardinals feel the same now with Yadi (Molina)."
Benes said he could envision Matheny becoming a major league manager.
"Absolutely," Benes said. "He was always close with Tony (LaRussa) and Dave Duncan and was a guy who always paid attention to detail. I felt it would just be a matter of time."
The only question is the timing as Matheny has no managerial experience in either the major or minor leagues.
"I am sure it is going to be a challenge for him," Benes said. "But Mike is a smart guy who I am sure will have some great people around him helping him out. I was a little surprised of his hiring from the standpoint of his experience, but not surprised at all because of his character and integrity. I think it is a very good fit."