PAINESVILLE, Ohio—Lake Erie College Athletic Director Reid Guarnieri announced the hiring of alumnus Cameron Castro (Class of 2012) as the Storm's Head Baseball Coach Tuesday (August 2).
Castro rejoins the Storm after several successful stints coaching college level athletes and replaces outgoing coach Brian McGee who accepted a position with Wittenberg University on August 1.
"It is not often that institutions have the opportunity to hire alumni, but in this case we were easily convinced that Cameron was more than just someone who played here," said Guarnieri.
Returning home is an exciting opportunity for Castro as he stated, "I am very pleased and extremely fortunate to be the next Head Baseball Coach at my alma mater. I would like to thank Reid Guarnieri for selecting me to lead the baseball program and believing in my ability as a coach and my vision for Lake Erie College baseball. I would also like to thank Vice President of Student Affairs, Billie Dunn, and the rest of the search committee who was involved in the process."
Castro played for Coach McGee and the Storm as a pitcher during the 2008-11 seasons, teaming up with Texas Rangers outfielder Ryan Rua and was part of a foundation that helped set in motion a 2014 NCAA Regional run for the Storm. Castro also coached former Storm outfielder and seventh round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers Luke Raley in the Wisconsin Northwoods League.
"I would also like to thank Coach Brian McGee, who recruited me and gave me the opportunity to come to Lake Erie College in the first place. He built a dynamic culture here for nine years and I'm proud to say I was there for the beginning of it and now look forward to taking over where he left off," he said.
McGee became the first coach in Lake Erie baseball program history, and just the second coach at Lake Erie in any sport, to win 100 games at the school in 2013. In his nine years, McGee built a competitive program as his squads steadily improved, culminating in a GLIAC Runner-Up finish, an NCAA postseason berth and the development of two MLB draftees.
Upon learning Castro had been hired, McGee exclaimed, "I was so pleased and excited to learn that Coach Castro will be taking over the program. It's nice knowing one of my past players enjoyed their time here so much and is now more than ready to take over the program himself. I plan on staying up with coach and the team and wish them all the best. I believe Reid Guarnieri made a great decision by bringing in someone who is not only capable of running a highly competitive program, but also someone who has a genuine love for the program, players, alumni and College."
About the transition from McGee to Castro Guarnieri offered, "It is always tough to lose a head coach who has been successful. You never want to lose the continuity or momentum that has been built. In this case though, Cameron comes with a full endorsement and brings the knowledge of how to build upon our recent successes. I am so pleased that our student-athletes will benefit from his familiarity with the program and the College."
With nearly 200 applicants, the hiring process was high-paced but thorough. Guarnieri added, "We had such an impressive candidate pool but none of them had the combination of institutional knowledge, love for the community, passion for the program, relatability to alumni and current student-athletes, Ohio recruiting connections and player development expertise that Cameron has. Those are a lot of boxes to check and he has done that."
The 2017 season will be Castro's seventh year in coaching at various levels and he joins Lake Erie having recently served in an assistant capacity at Division-II Augustana University in South Dakota. Prior to that Castro worked as a trainer and coach at Driveline Baseball, an advanced pitching research company that designs programming and consults on player development for over 25 Division I programs, 75 professional clients and multiple MLB organizations.
From 2012-2016 Castro was a key member of the Defiance College baseball coaching staff. Castro worked primarily with the Yellow Jacket pitching staff and was integral to recruiting and administrative efforts as well as fundraising. Castro helped guide Defiance to its third highest win total in its history and best finish ever in the conference.
Castro also built up his experience coaching with the world-renowned IMG Baseball Academy in Bradenton, Fla. and coached prospect-aged players at Notre Dame Cathedral Latin High School in Chardon, Ohio. He also spent time with the Ontario Blue Jays and Lorain Saints travel organizations. In the summers of 2014 and 2015, Castro was with the Lakeshore Chinooks of the Northwoods League where he served as the team's first base and bullpen coach.
During his time with the Chinooks, he was part of a coaching staff whose team finished as the regular season NWL South Division Champions with a 50-21 record - one of only three teams in league history to post 50 victories. The team went on to capture NWL South Division and NWL Summer Collegiate World Series titles. In addition, Castro was selected to be part of the South Division All-Star coaching staff.
The Lorain native graduated from Lake Erie College with a degree in legal studies after playing on the LEC baseball team in all four seasons. He completed his master's degree in business administration with a concentration in sport management at Defiance in the spring of 2014.
Castro remarked, "Lake Erie is a special place; the relationships that are forged there amongst students, staff and faculty is something I have always held dear. The idea of coming back to be a part of that again is needless to say, very exciting. For me, there is no other job like this - the opportunity to have my first head coaching position be at the same school where I played and graduated from, is unmatched. I'm excited to meet the players, staff and my colleagues, and can't wait to get back to campus and get started."