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Remembering Coach Jimmy Mac

by Diane Quail | Posted on Friday, June 13th, 2014

Whether you were one of his students, athletes or just someone who simply loved the game, Coach Mac was the person to talk to.

Coach Mac and Coach Maria Fagan

Coach Mac and Coach Maria Fagan

 

Before the pitch was thrown, coaches would yell out three numbers; these stood for the pitch being thrown and the location of the pitch. The North Jersey softball community says goodbye to one of the best out there.  Coach James A. MacDonald, (Jimmy Mac), passed away on Tuesday at the age of 78.

If you ever went to All Pro Baseball and Softball Academy in Lyndhurst, New Jersey, you would often see pitchers at the far end of the facility either pitching on a wooden beam or pitching in between two poles.  They were Coach Mac’s girls.

Coach Mac created the wooden beam to instruct young pitchers to throw on a straight line.  If you fell off, you were not pitching correctly.

The two poles were used to prevent pitchers from leaning when they threw the ball and to make sure that everything they did was, once again, on a straight line.  If your arm is too far outside, not only will the pitch be wild, but you will hit the pole.

Coach Mac had the end pitching tunnel at All Pro, but you could always hear him shouting something out to his pitchers while he was sitting on his crate catching for the girl.  “Step on my face,” “Elbow in,” and “Fall back,” were all terms he would use to instill proper mechanics in his pitchers.

Coach Mac simply loved the game of softball and helping all that loved it, as well.  He did not care if you were not his student or if your parent was not paying him; if he saw something he could fix, he would fix it.  When he advised you, you would listen.

You would never see Mac without a smile on his face. If he recognized you, he would say hi.  If he saw how much work you put into the game of softball, he would take notice.  He was observant of every young girl he saw practicing the game that he helped make better.

Mac also was the assistant coach at St. Mary’s high school for 15 years, never asking for a penny.  He volunteered his time and dedication to these girls and helped them and guided them to be the best athletes that they could be.  Mac did not coach for the money; he did it because he cared.

He was not the type of coach that would push his pitchers in a negative way. His specialty was pitching, but he loved and assisted girls with every aspect of softball.

You would always see him during his free time at the batting cages telling girls’ fathers what they should do to better their swing.  Or if he saw someone with a minor mechanic issue with throwing, he would stop his lesson and help them.

He loved watching the pitchers he saw working hard all winter perform well during the spring, always asking where they played and who they were playing for.

I was not one of his pitchers, but to this day, one of the most memorable compliments I received was from him when I was 16 years old.  He went up to my father and said “I watched her go from a little girl to a very good little pitcher.”  He never coached me, but if I got to my lessons early, he would always talk softball to my father and me.  He loved that we loved softball and that’s all that mattered.

Mac lived for the game of softball.  It was what made him and he gave all he could to help girls all around New Jersey become the best that they could be.   He will truly be missed.

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