When a young man gets his first head coaching job, it can be a daunting experience. That would make Mike Gedman an exception.
At 27 years old, he is the new head baseball coach at Framingham State University. And Gedman, who grew up a few miles from the school, has hit the ground running.
“I fell into my dream job in my hometown,” said Gedman. “Living at home, I’m five minutes from the campus. I can drive to work every day. I played youth hockey and baseball in Framingham, and American Legion baseball in Framingham. Framingham State plays home games at Bowditch Field, where I played Legion ball.”
Clearly, athletic director Tom Kelley did not have to show Gedman around the area. Or the game.
“We wanted a young and hungry guy with experience,” said Kelley.
Gedman, who played collegiately at Le Moyne and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, was the hitting coach at Bryant University in Rhode Island the previous four seasons. His younger brother, 25-year-old Matt, is an infielder in the Red Sox farm system. And their father, Rich, who played 11 of his 13 big-league seasons as a catcher for Boston, where he was a two-time American League All-Star, is the hitting coach for the Portland Sea Dogs, the organization’s Double-A affiliate in Maine.
“Baseball, that’s what we do,” said Mike Gedman.
Gedman learned of the opening at Framingham State from Jerod Edmonson, one of his teammates with the Worcester Tornadoes, an independent team that formerly was a Can-Am League franchise.
“He said, ‘If you get the job, I’ll be your assistant,’ ” Gedman said.
Another ex-teammate, John Welch, said he would join Gedman too. Gedman hired both men.
“I’m happy that Tom let me bring in two assistants that I have a good relationship with.” Gedman said.
Kelley said he was bombarded with resumes for the top job.
“It was a pretty competitive field,” he said. “Being a Framingham guy, Mike knew all about us. He gets it. He knows the landscape. He knew we didn’t have our own field. He has some connections if he needs a practice field. He’s a ball of fire.”
Gedman takes over from Brian Blumsack, who coached the previous six seasons.
“He was pretty successful, taking over a program that was pretty bad,” Kelley said of Blumsack. “He didn’t win a title, but he had 24- and 26-win seasons.”
The Rams (17-23 overall) finished second in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference last season. In a preseason coaches poll, they have been picked to repeat that finish behind Salem State.
Gedman said he will emphasize recruiting players from the Bay State. One advantage: “I know most of the high school coaches. There’s a lot of talent,” he said. “I went to UMass. I want our players to take pride in being at a state school.”
Rich Gedman caught Roger Clemens, who also was a Framingham resident while playing for the Red Sox, numerous times, and was the first manager of the Worcester Tornadoes. He is just a phone call or text away if his son needs to talk baseball, although, the father said, “Mike’s a pretty independent kid.”
The two may not always see the game the same way, according to the elder Gedman, but he will listen to anything his son has on his mind.
“Everything I know I learned from him,” said Mike Gedman.
Even now as he embarks on his first head coaching job, things will pop up and he will remember, “Oh yeah, my dad taught me that.”
“This is a nice opportunity, a nice challenge for him,” said Rich Gedman. “It’s the next procession in the coaching ranks. He’s got to be firm and direct, let the players know the way he wants it done.”
Mike already has a good idea of how he wants it done.
“We’re going to steal a lot of bases, put the pressure on teams,” he said. “We’ll hit for some power.”
The team has two standout pitchers. Senior righthander Matt DiCato, a former star at Malden Catholic, was 7-1 with a 2.10 ERA last season. “I was lucky to fall into an ace,” said Gedman.
Redshirt sophomore Zach Kirby, who played at Old Rochester Regional High in Mattapoisett, is expected to have a comeback year after missing last season with an injury.
The Rams will kick off their Division 3 schedule March 13 at Johnson & Wales in Providence before embarking on a southern trip.
Gedman, who started out at Belmont Hill School, graduated from Loomis Chaffee, and then enrolled at Le Moyne, in Syracuse, before transferring to UMass, where he teamed up with his brother Matt.
As a junior, he had an outstanding season at the plate and on the mound, batting a team-leading .345 while compiling a 2.42 earned run average with five saves. He earned Atlantic 10 Conference all-star honors.
In Amherst, Gedman also worked on the crew that changed the surface at the university’s sports arena, the Mullins Center, from floor to ice and back. On his resume, Gedman highlights the experience.
“I worked long hours usually finishing around 3 a.m., which taught me to work hard through the fatigue,” he said.
As a teen, Gedman was one of the stars that lifted coach Bunkie Smith’s American Legion Post 74 squad to the final eight in the state tournament.
Gedman entered in relief in the second inning of one game and threw more than 100 pitches. The next day, Smith had run out of pitchers. Gedman volunteered. He threw about 100 pitches again.
“I always had a rubber arm. But I ran out of gas,” he said.
Now he is back in his hometown and living the good life, eating his mom Sherry’s meals, driving a few minutes to a job that is not really work, because it is baseball, which the Gedman men have always fed off.Lenny Megliola can be reached at email@example.com.