JAMESTOWN – It seems that for every athlete that wants to continue their academic and athletic career after high school, going Division I is the main goal. But for some, it just isn’t the right fit.
Former Jamestown Community College Baseball player and coach, Frank Jagoda, stopped by the first fall baseball practice that JCC had to talk to the team about what junior college baseball provides for the athletes and how it helps the player become more accountable.
“I started my collegiate baseball career at the University at Buffalo and found out quickly that it wasn’t the right fit for me,” said Jagoda, who is currently the player development coach for the Tampa Bay Rays organization. “I became the best version of myself with my time at JCC and I wouldn’t have traded it for the world.”
Going to a junior college carries many benefits for students whether it is receiving a high-level education, earning a degree with little to no debt, or competing at a high level in athletics. One thing that Jagoda learned while receiving his education at JCC and playing baseball is how it helped him create better habits that have prepared him for life after college.
“Playing at the JUCO level, you really have to raise the level of expectations for yourself. Athletes have to drive themselves to be the best version they can be,” said Jagoda. “JUCO baseball is the best teacher of self-awareness, self-discipline, and development.”
After his playing days concluded, Jagoda made a return to JCC in 2010 for a brief stint as recruiting coordinator and pitching coach. From there, Jagoda also had brief stints with Canisius College, Wingate University and USA Baseball before landing the head coaching job at Patrick Henry Community College.
While at Patrick Henry, his coaching career soared, compiling a record of 79-38, capturing the 2016 Region X regular-season championship and earning Region X Coach of the Year. With that kind of resume, Jagoda was scooped up by the Minnesota Twins.
Showcasing his skills coaching skills at the major league level, Jagoda was approached by Team USA and took over as the Director of Team USA 18U Program in 2019. With helping young baseball players and seeing their success on the field, Jagoda transitioned back into the major league ranks, this time as a player development coach for the Tampa Bay Rays.
While sharing his journey with the JCC baseball players, Jagoda emphasized the impacted that JCC and junior college baseball helped build the foundation for his success at all of his stops.
“JUCO baseball prepared me to have a successful coaching career. It has prepared me by helping me become a well-rounded individual. As a player and coach at the junior college level, you have to wear many hats and that has played a big role in where I am today.”