As I watch the Newport Greypup Baseball team play at Kell Park, I cannot help but focus my attention on the three coaches. This year’s coaching staff consists of Hayden Shulz, Devante Neal and McCabe Cordell. I focus on them because I realize that over a decade has passed since these boy’s began live pitch baseball as children. I recall the years of watching them play baseball, either as an avid fan, a mother of the bat boy, the wife of their coach, or a 30 year friend of their parents. Through all of those aspects, I have watched and witnessed these three grow into extraordinary volunteers for the youth of Newport. They care about the kids and have plans that include living in Newport and contributing to the future.
Hayden Shulz is the son of Donny and Mindy Shulz. As a 2015 graduate of Newport High School, he played Center for the Greyhound Football Team and 3nd Base, 1st Base and Pitcher for the Greyhound Baseball Team. Hayden is 20 years old and has clocked more volunteer hours than many older community members. He currently works for Newport Parks and Recreation, as well as Cash Saver as the Night Manager. He still finds time to volunteer in the fall as a PeeWee Football Coach and Greypup Baseball Coach.
Devante Neal is the son of Bobby and Sherry Murphy. He graduated from NHS in 2011. As a student athlete, he excelled in football as a Wide Receiver and Defensive Back, as well as baseball as a catcher and center fielder, and basketball. Devonte is a Manager for Sonic and is currently finishing his degree in Education.
McCabe Cordell is the son of Steve and Nancy Cordell. McCabe graduated NHS in 2015. McCabe was an important part of the 2014 Conference Football Championship Team as Free Safety. He also played Shortstop, 3rd Base and Pitcher for the Greyhound Baseball Team. He currently works for Cash Saver and begin High Voltage Lineman School in the fall.
I could not help but approach the three with questions about why they volunteer. Hayden talked of his love of Newport traditions and being a forever greyhound. “There is no better feeling than waking up a greyhound,” states Shulz.
Neal adds that being raised in Newport made him who he is, through the support of family, fans, and community. “Newport is a great place to call home.”
When asked about community role models, all three cited local sports figures. Hayden and McCabe agree, “Coach Benny Reynolds has really impacted my life physically, mentally, and emotionally. I can sit down and talk to that man no matter the circumstance.” Hayden lifts up his father Donnie by saying, “Most of all my dad is my biggest role model. He works hard to constantly provide for our family. He is the hardest working man I know, and there is nothing he wouldn’t do for anyone.” Devonte quickly adds, “David Black will always be my role model. The way he coached the game made it exciting. He made every kid feel part of something special. From beginning t-ball, travel USSSA, and into American Legion, he has been a huge part of my life.” As an observer, I cannot deny that many of Neal’s coaching enthusiasm, mannerisms and tendencies are similar to those of David Black.
Where do these men plan to be I a decade? Newport. Hayden loves working for Newport Parks and Recreations and hopes to contribute further to the young athletes of this community. Devante will finish his Education degree and plans to make a career of leading future greyhounds on the right path by coaching and teaching them how sports can impact their lives. McCabe plans to remain in Newport as a High Voltage Lineman and continue to volunteer. Newport is thankful for these young men and wish them a bright future.