Veteran Coach Shares Passion for Maccabi Baseball
Meet Mickey Cohen, Head Coach of the 13-14 year-old Maccabi Baseball Team and Sonny Plant Volunteer of the Year for 2015 for the Baltimore JCC Maccabi Team. Mickey has been coaching JCC Maccabi baseball for the past 15 years.
When asked why he loves being a JCC Maccabi coach, Mickey enthusiastically replies: “It’s the memories we make together, seeing players have fun, being happy, succeeding, and building friendships.”
“It’s about being able to help these kids adjust to living in a complicated world through baseball. These guys often need a guy like me to nudge them along, to boost their confidence, to teach them to work hard, to show them that hard work breeds excellence and if you put in the effort you get the results.”
Mickey’s practices may be “long and hard.” But, he says “If you get your details together, your systems together, and all the signs you need on the field, you put together wins.”
He loves the J and the JCC Maccabi Games because of the personal connections he makes with the community, the players, the parents, and the families.
A true J kid since the Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC first opened in 1978, Mickey has seen all the renovations here. He recalls when the weightlifting gym was just a few pieces of equipment in the corner of the main gym, and downstairs housed a teen lounge and a snack shop, before the lower level was transformed into the Stoler Early Childhood Education Center.
When Mickey wasn’t at the J he was a student at Hernwood Elementary, Deer Park Junior High, and Randallstown High. He joined Liberty Road Baseball at age 6 and later joined the Reisterstown Baseball Travel Leagues.
Embracing the love of the sport, Mickey continued to attend baseball camps and clinics beginning at age 10, the point when he admits he became “good.”
“Over the years, I picked up the toughness, enthusiasm, and details about baseball from great coaches, and I learned how to think strategically.”
At Randallstown High, Mickey played 2nd base. Later, while attending Towson State University in 1993, he began coaching his youngest brother, Josh, who eventually played JCC Maccabi baseball for two years and helped the team win Gold Medals both years.
In 2002, Mickey decided he wanted to get involved in the JCC Maccabi Games and volunteered to be a baseball coach. He became the Assistant Coach for Girls Fast Pitch softball, a team of 15-16 year old high school players. He recalls the team advancing to “a hair away from the championship, losing a nail-biter in the semifinals.”
After one season coaching Fast Pitch, Mickey moved over to Boys Baseball. The detail with which he recounts each season from 2003-present is fantastic, like a true baseball fanatic.
“In 2004, we came in 4th, beat big time…”
“2005 – a 3-2 elimination loss on a Wednesday…”
“2006 – Gold Medal – a very big year….”
And the list of victories, and disappointments, continue.
“I feel pride in my team’s accomplishments – my players’ big moments — clutch hits, huge home-runs, come-through pitching performances, heroic diving plays, scratch and claw victories, come-back wins, and even the tough losses we shared — all the effort by my guys that create these memorable moments have been truly awe-inspiring.”
Mickey also coaches the 5th-8th grade boys’ team at Krieger Schecter Middle School, as well as his daughter’s 7-8 year-old Pikesville Recreation Softball team.
The proud husband of Liz Cohen and the father of daughter Hailey and son Justin, how does Mickey have the time to be a devoted family man, work, serve on other JCC committees, and coach three teams? Mickey gives every ounce of credit to Liz, who he says “puts up with him when it’s too much baseball and she’s doing double parenting duty while I coach.”
“If you put everything you have into something good, you will get more out of it than you put in. Between all the friendships, relationships, and inspiration I have received from coaching ball — that has definitely been the case for me.”
Maccabi participants are currently selling Two-Year Subscriptions to ESPN Magazine for $40. Each subscription sold earns the participant $30 back towards their JCC Maccabi Games registration fee (the remaining $10 goes to cover the subscription). A great gift for graduation, college students, Father’s Day, or anyone who is interested in sports, subscriptions give you access to both print and electronic copies of the magazine (ESPN Inside Online Access and ESPN The Magazine App for iPad!) Support your Maccabi participants today!