Coaching Spotlight: Kyle McKay

by Jason Booth

Coach Kyle McKay has been with Team Ontario for many years now and has become a staple within Team Ontario, wearing many different hats across the program.

He joined Team Ontario back in fall of 2014 as a pitching coach on the 18U squad and quickly became more involved. His knowledge of the game and experience throughout his playing and coaching career makes him a huge asset to the program and his roles within the organization continued to grow. 

In 2017 McKay was appointed the head coach of the 16U team, a role he's held ever since. With one of his expertise's being in player development, this has been the perfect age group for McKay as he begins to prepare players for their upper class years and begins the process of preparing them for college baseball. 

On top of his role with the 16U program, McKay is also the Director of Player Development and the Pitching Coordinator, with both of these positions allowing him to work with players across the entire organization.

The experience that has helped him grow into the coach he is today comes through an impressive college career, a professional career, Team Canada (World Baseball Challenge 2013), semi-pro career, and as a former pitching coach at the University of Saint Francis.

McKay's college career got started at Kaskaskia College, a Division I NJCAA program in Centralia, Illinois. After a strong Sophomore season in Illinois that saw him finish top 25 nationally in strikeouts, he moved onto USC Upstate, a NCAA Division I program in Spartanburg, South Carolina of the Atlantic Sun Conference. 

McKay closed out his college career at the University of Saint Francis, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. This was where McKay really broke out as a pitcher, took his game to the next level and finally got to the opportunity to compete as a dual guy. It was there where he learned how to pitch and not just rely on rearing back with his stuff on the mound. He closed out his career at USF with the lowest career ERA in program history and also broke the record for most single-season strikeouts. He also received First-Team All-Conference recognition in the Crossroads League as a Designated Hitter after not getting at bats since high school. 

Following his time as a student-athlete at USF, McKay remained on staff in the previously mentioned role as a Pitching Coach. This was where he began to learn and develop on the coaching side of baseball.

McKay also dipped into the pro level for several years following his college career, playing in the Frontier League, the Pecos League and the Mount Rainier Pro Baseball League. He played in 2015 for the Skagit Valley Lumberjacks (Rainier Pro League) and in 2016 for the Traverse City Beach Bums (Frontier) and the Trinidad Triggers (Pecos). In his time with Traverse City of the Frontier Professional Baseball League, he became one of only two ever Canadians to suit up for the Beach Bums. McKay also broke records at the Independent Professional Level posting a 1.23 ERA as a starter with the Trinidad Triggers of Colorado. He currently holds the professional clubs all time best single season ERA, and 2nd all time single season WHIP.   He closed out his pro career in 2017 with the High Desert Yardbirds (Pecos). 

McKay spent many summers pitching semi-professionally as well for the Kitchener Panthers of the Intercounty Baseball League from the years 2010-2015. He was a key starter in their 2015 runner up finish. He also saw runner up finish and Northern Division Championship in the WMBL with a Medicine Hat Mavericks team in 2013 that broke the league wins record. There he posted a 2.15 ERA and got to pitch along side big leaguer Jacob Webb of the Atlanta Braves bullpen.  

Coach McKay also had the honor in 2013 to suit up for Team Canada in the World Baseball Challenge. There he pitched some of his best performances in his career. During the tournament he posted a 1.29 ERA with a relief appearance against Cuba and a start against Japan going a strong 7 2/3 innings deep while surrendering only 1 earned run. 

In 2016, McKay was picked up by international tournament team entry Sidearm Nation to compete in the Ramada World Challenge. Once again performing on a international stage, saw the club earn a bronze medal finish. 

McKay has been a huge asset to the program since jumping on board, thanks to all of his experiences over the years within the game. He has been able to help prepare the arms across the organization for what college baseball has to offer, and even professional baseball.

Team Ontario has been lucky to have Kyle with the program over the past several years and we look forward to following all of the players he continues to help develop across the organization going forward, whether that be in college or in the professional ranks.