By Noreen Peebles
CCC Journalism Program
John Merkh is the assistant baseball coach at Camden County College. Merkh is a former baseball player and student at Camden County College, a business major and pitcher from 2008 to 2011.
After leaving Camden County College, Merkh moved on to Penn State to continue his education and pursue his business degree. Last year, Merkh came back to Camden County College to be an assistant coach for the baseball team.
Merkh started playing sports at an early age. Playing both hockey and baseball as a boy, Merkh has always loved sports. Eventually, Merkh chose baseball as his core sport. After playing a variety of positions as a boy, he stuck with pitching because that is what he found he was not only best at but enjoyed the most.
Merkh enjoys coaching as much as he did playing the sport, after being unable to play because of an injury. Around the 2008 and 2009 seasons, Merkh tore the labrum in his right shoulder. While attending physical therapy, Merkh still pitched; however, his shoulder got worse because of usage. After having to get surgery, Merkh had to be red-shirted for the season because he was not fully recovered. After recovering from surgery, Merkh came back to pitch his third season at Camden County College.
Merkh enjoys both the game and coaching. Not only does he say he enjoys helping the students he coaches “become better players,” but he also hopes he helps them become “better people” through baseball.
The players on the team enjoy having Merkh as a coach. Ethan Mesey, 18, a pitcher, says Merkh “knows what he’s talking about, he always gives us good feedback when we’re pitching, he helps us when we’re not doing so well.” In addition to being a good coach, he is “good moral support as well,” Mesey says.
Daniel Reese, 19, a pitcher, notes, “Merkh does give a lot of good feedback and is good for moral support.” This moral support especially helps when a player is having a not-so-great day. Reese adds, “When he sees that I’m upset, he just comes out and talks to me to make me relax.”
Eventually, Merkh wants to move up to being the head baseball coach. Merkh is also determined to take the baseball team to the World Series. Finally, he says he wants to be a coach for as long as he can. He says his favorite thing about coaching beyond helping the players become better players and people is “seeing them progress over two years and helping them move on to other schools afterwards.”