(PARKVILLE, Mo.) Park University Director of Athletics Claude English and head baseball coach Cary Lundy announced the addition of 10-year Major League Baseball veteran and former Kansas City Royals player Brian McRae to the Pirates' baseball staff for the 2013 season.
"This is an incredible addition to our baseball staff," English said. "This is like Warren Buffett spending time with a business major. Any time you have the ability to bring in someone that's spent 10 years at the highest level, you've done something special for your student-athletes."
McRae, a Blue Springs native and the son of former Royals player, manager and coach Hal McRae, played for five MLB franchises, including the Royals, Chicago Cubs, New York Mets, Colorado Rockies and Toronto Blue Jays. His major league career began in 1990 after being drafted by the Royals in the first round of the 1985 first-year player draft.
He hit .261 in his career with 103 home runs and 532 RBIs, spending the majority of his career (1990-1994) in Kansas City, making his debut with the Royals on Aug. 7, 1990, against the Chicago White Sox. McRae played in more than 1,300 games in his major league career with over 5,100 at bats. He also stole 196 bases in 10 seasons.
"Brian brings a lot of credibility to our program," Lundy said. "He played the game the right way and we think he'll be able to make an immediate impact on our guys. He was a great baserunner and he's seen pitching at the highest level of this game. His main responsibilities will be hitting and baserunning, and obviously he's got a lot of knowledge to lend to our outfielders. He lived their dream, and our guys will get something out of this. He knows how to teach the game."
McRae's coaching experience includes managing the Kansas City Sluggers, a traveling showcase baseball organization for 15-18 year olds in Kansas City. He also managed the 2012 Morehead City (N.C.) Marlins of the Coastal Plains League, a collegiate wood-bat summer organization.
He has also served as an analyst for the Chicago Cubs Network (WGN), MLB.com radio and ESPN's Baseball Tonight. He has also had ownership interest in WHB (810 AM), a sports radio station in Kansas City, and has devoted time to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
McRae replaces Nick Kouratou, who had served as assistant coach from 2010 to 2012 after completing his two-year career as a staple at shortstop for the Pirates in 2008 and 2009.
"Nick gave us four great years, and we can never repay him for that," Lundy said. "He put his heart and soul in to this baseball program, and we're proud of the way he's advanced in his career. He'll always be a big part of what we do in the Park University baseball program."
Park opens its season in Dallas, Texas, at the Dallas Christian College Round Robin. The Pirates begin the event Feb. 15 at noon, taking on Central Baptist College at Reverchon Park in Dallas.