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Mulcahy named new head baseball coach

The Perham Yellowjacket baseball program will have a familiar face at the helm when they take to the diamond during the 2018 baseball season. Perham-Dent High School named James Mulcahy the new head coach. He takes over the reins from the departed Kyle Van Dyke, who led the program to the Section 8AA Championship game.

“It’s been a decision that we didn’t make easily. It was a decision where we had strong candidates that appreciated the game and have a real love for the game itself,” Perham-Dent activities Director Erin Anderson said. “By that standpoint, it wasn’t an easy decision. For Mulcahy, we are excited about what he brought to the table with his history and experience here in Perham. He has quite a history of helping from high school all the way down to the elementary school. He is very invested and that excitement and solutions that he wants to bring as a leader of the program, were fun to hear. We are very excited to name him the next head coach of the Yellowjacket program.”

Mulcahy comes to the Perham program with more than 30 years of coaching experience and 23 of them have come either as a head coach or an assistant at the high school level.

“It feels good to be back in the head coaching role and in Perham, where I love to be,” Mulcahy said on being named the head coach of the Yellowjackets, pending school board approval.

Mulcahy played for two years with the Concordia-Moorhead Cobbers, before becoming an assistant with the junior varsity team his junior and senior years. He moved to Los Angeles in 1994 and became a head coach at 26 years old. He eventually moved on to Granada Hills and became the head coach there in 2003, leading them to a city championship the following spring in 2004. Winning a city championship in Los Angeles is comparable to winning the section title in Minnesota, according to Mulcahy. Mulcahy moved back to Perham in 2009 and became a volunteer assistant with longtime Perham head coach Hans Hanson.

Mulcahy said he is excited to have the opportunity to lead the Yellowjackets.

“I enjoy overseeing the whole program. I know as a program leader you are looking at the kids from Kindergarten and below, all the way up and watching our players evolve beyond high school and college,” Mulcahy said. “I was really looking forward to the opportunity to be a high school coach.”

Mulcahy said he embraces the entire athlete, trying to make them better on the field and off the field, giving them opportunities to succeed. On the diamond, Mulcahy said his style is flexible based on the team that he has, but one thing is he likes to be aggressive.

“By nature if anyone has seen me coach the last few years, especially in the summer, I like to roll the dice and be very aggressive,” Mulcahy said. “The hit-and-runs, the bunts, the double steals and suicide squeezes are parts I love of the small ball game, because it puts pressure on the other team. What it comes down to a coaching philosophy, it’s really embracing the entire player and the entire team concept and buy into the team concept. For most players, your sports career will be over after high school. It’s really what kind of people they are going to come down the road.”

Mulcahy inherits a very talented baseball team that will enter with high expectations. It’s a group of kids that Mulcahy is very familiar with, having coached them throughout the years as they have grown up. The Yellowjackets were defeated by Warroad in the Section 8AA Championship in 2017 and return a strong core for 2018.

“I have pretty much coached all of the kids that are on the team over the summer for the last several years, whether it has been in Babe Ruth, Legion, Junior Legion or VFW,” Mulcahy said. “I have been involved pretty heavily in the summer. I know every single kid and they are used to me and they know my style. They know what to expect from me, so that will help. We have a lot of returners, some good quality seniors and juniors that played a lot last year on varsity and were starters. We have a strong team coming back.”

Mulcahy said baseball in Perham is in a good place and getting better. He said he the program has a strong freshman group coming up as well as a strong seventh and eighth grade program as well.

“Perham has a great baseball tradition,” Mulcahy said. “We are going to compete right out of the gate this spring and roll right into the summer.”

Jason Groth

 Groth is a Minnesota Newspaper Association award-winning Sports Editor of the Perham Focus and the Wadena Pioneer Journal. Groth worked in Grand Rapids as the Sports Director at KOZY/KMFY radio for two years and prior to that he was the Sports Editor/Writer for the Grand Rapids Herald-Review for seven years. 

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