By KEN MORSE
The Baltimore Orioles announced on Nov. 25 as that they added 19 new coaches as part of the refurbishment plan to overhaul their entire minor league system. Plainville native Tim DeJohn, a 2002 graduate of the Blue Devils, was added to their coaching roster.
DeJohn was a centerfielder for the Blue Devils baseball team and a much accomplished wide receiver and cornerback on the football field. He took his game to Western Connecticut State University and played four years of baseball for the Colonials.
His real passion was in coaching and over the past 11 years has honed his skills not only as a coach but an effective communicator. When you have a passion for something you possess the greatest tool needed to achieve success. The most effective attribute you can have as a coach/teacher is a willingness to learn.
After coaching in high school and college for the past 10 years, DeJohn got his first coaching assignment in the professional ranks with the Milwaukee Milkmen of the Independent American Association this past summer.
“It was a little bit of a transition going to professional baseball,” said DeJohn. “Going from three to five games a week in college to games every day and road trips is a grind. I learned a lot. I was their defense coach, first base coach and did their defensive positioning. “
It was a different animal at the professional level. “When you coach a college player you tell them what to do and they do it. When guys are professionals you really need to gain their trust first,” he said. “They want to know how much you care before they care how much you know.”
Like father, like son. DeJohn is beginning his professional coaching career as his father, Mark DeJohn, is retiring after spending 49 years in professional baseball—33 of those years with the St. Louis Cardinals as a minor league coach, manager and field coordinator. DeJohn’s father worked six seasons on Tony LaRussa’s staff in St. Louis as a bullpen and bench coach.
Tim began his coaching career with the Plainville Junior League and his team won the state championship. He then spent three years coaching at Plainville High School, including the Blue Devils’ 2008 championship run. He then spent five years as an assistant infield coach at Southington High School, and the Blue Knights captured four conference championships and five consecutive state semifinal appearances, culminating in three state finals appearances in 2011, 2013, and 2014.
He then spent one season at Western Connecticut State University, two seasons at the University of Hartford and two seasons at the University of Memphis.
“After I applied for the job with the Orioles a few days later I was contacted by the director of player development, and I was invited to Baltimore for an interview,” said DeJohn. “Usually for a position like this you interview with a couple of people. The director of player development, the assistant General Manager, and the General Manager interviewed me. It was more than I expected. The Orioles are serious about turning this around and I’m excited for this opportunity to be part of that.”
DeJohn will be assigned to the Gulf Coast League Orioles in Sarasota, Florida as the Developmental Coach.
“I feel this is the best place for me personally for my own development and growth as a coach with a chance for future advancement. The way they presented the way they value me as a coach I felt a sense of trust and I will forever be grateful to the Orioles for giving me this chance.”
DeJohn spoke about the many mentors he had that have helped him to achieve his goals. He got into coaching on the recommendation of Jim Tufts who ran the Plainville Youth Baseball organization. Tim also played for and went on to coach with legendary baseball coach Rob Freimuth.
“Frank Marchione is like a brother to me and Lou Mandeville is as good a guy as you can get and one of the greatest men I know,” said DeJohn, talking about the people who have made a positive influence on him when he was growing up.
“Ten years ago I was coaching the Plainville All-Stars and now I’m coaching with the Baltimore Orioles organization,” said DeJohn. “There have been a lot of bumps along the way. But when you are passionate about something and you continue to learn and grow and realize you don’t know everything that is when you can accomplish anything.”
“You can’t do it alone and I have so many people I’m grateful to for supporting me and having my back. So many people have reached out to me in the community on social media it just motivates you to succeed for your hometown.”