The life of baseball Head Coach Doug Kimbler has never strayed far from the baseball diamond, whether playing as shortstop for the College of Saint Rose or growing up in a military base in Plattsburgh, New York. Now, as the baseball team enters NCAA Division III for the first time in over 40 years, Kimbler calls upon his experiences as the child of a military man to help guide him through the tall task of leading the Violets.
“I think you try to let the game come to you,” Kimbler said. “If you try to win little battles, at the end of the game you’ve won so many little battles, the outcome comes in your favor all the time.”
The coach’s baseball career started when his father came back to Plattsburgh after military service overseas. His father then handed the 3-year-old Kimbler his first mitt, bat
“As soon as I got it, it was my favorite gift,” Kimbler said. “So no matter what we were doing, we were playing with it.”
His father spent seven more years in the military, and when he was home, the two spent the majority of their time together playing ball. Kimbler attributes his father as the main influence to his career.
“100 percent it was my dad,” Kimbler said. “Out of everyone in our family, I think he was the best baseball player.”
Kimbler and his two brothers lived at the military base from birth to the middle of high school. Now out of the base, Kimbler enforces the same rules he grew up with on
“I think a lot of my rules come from military background,” Kimbler said. “From curfew to telling players to be on time. But not only be on time, be 15 minutes early. And making sure their lives on and off the field are tidy.”
Kimbler only ever left the base for schooling. In high school, he met coach Gary Butler, who doubled as a scout and helped make Kimbler a
“He had a lot of influence on the level of talent I was at,” Kimbler said.
In 1990, the Detroit Tigers drafted Kimbler in the twenty-third round, making him the first athlete from his college to be drafted by a professional team. He spent eight years playing in the minor leagues with the Tigers and Chicago Cubs. Saint Rose inducted him into the Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007. David Alexander, the chair of the hall of fame at Saint Rose spoke highly of Kimbler.
He is one of the finest athletes to put on a Saint Rose Uniform,” Alexander said.
Kimbler hung up his cleats and started coaching at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2001. He also coached at Hartwick College and Castleton State College before coaching at NYU-Poly for the past two years. Poly junior Keenan Kush was a pitcher during Kimbler’s time as a coach there.
“He was definitely a mentor to me as a player,” Kush said. “I think he’ll mold a great team
Kimbler may be out of the military lifestyle now, but the fight to succeed at the varsity level is just beginning.
A version of this article appeared in the March 5 print edition. Email Kathryn Jones at [email protected]