Homewood-Flossmoor High School announced this month the hiring of Marcus Rodgers as varsity baseball coach. He’ll replace John McCarthy, who left for Lincoln-Way East.
Rodgers was head coach for the Chicago White Sox Amateur City Elite Program, where he won four MLB RBI World Series titles. Before that, he was a scout for the Houston Astros and managed the Chicago Cubs RBI Junior All-Star team.
“When you can surround yourself with great kids, a great staff, great facilities, that’s what you want. This is one of the best jobs in the state, if not the best job in the state,” Rodgers said. “I went to a Division I school and didn’t have these types of resources. You write down what you look for in a program and H-F checks all the boxes.”
Rodgers also coached in the high school ranks, with stops at Thornwood, Rich Central, Urban Prep Charter Academy and Simeon.
He played first base at Arkansas Pine Bluff, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business management. He was a captain and four-year letterman for the Golden Lions.
“His expertise and insights have undoubtedly played a significant role in the success of numerous Chicagoland athletes including several from Homewood-Flossmoor,” H-F Athletic Director Matthew Lyke said in a release. “Many of our own students have benefited from his guidance through the ACE program and we are eager to see the positive impact he will bring to our baseball family.”
McCarthy led H-F for five seasons, winning a sectional title in 2018. He oversaw field improvements and sent multiple players into the college ranks and even Major League Baseball, including first-round pick Dillon Head who was tabbed by the San Diego Padres in July.
“I love McCarthy. He’s been an advocate for me for years,” Rodgers said.
The Vikings program lost 23 seniors to graduation in the spring. Rodgers said he’s excited to work with the younger players who didn’t have many opportunities to see the field in the last few years. He knows and coached a handful of them already.
“I’m hoping that those kids are more hungry now. I’m hoping they’re chomping at the bit,” he said. “What I love about coaching is that each year is a different task. It’s a different obstacle but it’s also a different opportunity. I see it as an opportunity.”
Rodgers also sees the youth leagues and travel programs in Homewood and Flossmoor as a strength. The rate at which the community produces college and professional players isn’t lost on him.
Keeping that talent within the high school system is an imperative, he said. Rodgers believes the Vikings play in the most difficult conference and regional in Illinois.
“There are a ton of phenomenal families here,” he said. “They’re going to do everything they can to give their kids an advantage, whether it’s tutoring or putting them in the best schools. If we can get mom and dad bought in on everything we’re trying to do, it just helps everything become easier.”
The brand of baseball Rodgers plans to bring is an aggressive one, he said. He wants his team to limit mistakes and play fundamentally sound but also play ‘like its hair’s on fire.” He uses words like “grit,” “heart” and “toughness.”
“We want the kids who play here to have a great experience,” Rodgers said. “We want to win multiple state championships. We want to continue to grow the game at the youth level. We just have to keep the talent at home.”