C.J. Rhodes is in his first summer as head coach of the New Market Rebels in the Valley Baseball League. He is as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va. Rhodes helped the Yellow Jackets win the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Championship and advance to the NCAA Division III Championship.


Rhodes spent two years on the staff of the late Paul Keyes at VCU, primarily working with the hitters and catchers as well as assisting with daily administrative duties. He was also director for the Rams Baseball Camps. While with the Rams, Rhodes served as an assistant coach for the Wisconsin Woodchucks of the Northwoods League.


A native of Williamsburg, Va., Rhodes played four years at Virginia Wesleyan College, earning All-Conference and All-Region honors as a catcher.


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August 5, 2013


Building Relationships


The All-Star weekend is a special event, as intended to celebrate the best players of the Valley Baseball League up until this point in the season. Players have been in the valley for over a month and along with the successes, there always seem to be disappointments. Player struggles include on-field issues, housing issues and more commonly family issues. As the manager, I am fully aware of these concerns and have to adhere to each of them individually to make sure that each player’s experience in New Market is an enjoyable one. Unfortunately, there are times in which situations arise that I am not able to solve, and having to replace players’ deals with having good relationships with colleagues in the game of college baseball and being able to rely on them when in need.


When I was interviewing for the job in New Market, one of the concerns for members of the board involved how I was going put together an initial roster as well as how I was going to keep that roster full as the summer goes on. Putting together a roster for the start of the summer was the easy part. The challenge has been working to handle situations that occur throughout the summer in regards to players leaving and having to replace them as quick as possible. I have experienced it all when it comes to family issues and health concerns, as well as questions regarding playing time. Each situation that arises is different and you have to handle them accordingly, per the player involved. In repeated scenarios, I have to reiterate to each player that our organization made a commitment to them and that they made a commitment to our organization as well. But as every conversation begins with commitment, it ends with an apologetic tone as players dismiss themselves from the team and depart from the valley. 


Building meaningful relationships in my short career as a college baseball coach has been something that drives me on a daily basis. I have been fortunate to surround myself with coaches in this game that have had success not only on the field, but off the field as well. I am privileged every day to be able to reach out to these individuals and have them mentor me and educate me on things that I could do better, or just be an outlet for me to express my ideals or concerns regarding situations that I take part in. Not only did I rely on prior relationships, but I also opened myself up to coaches in this game that I had no prior experience with. This was an exciting avenue for me when I took this job, because I knew that it would allow me to cross paths with other coaches in collegiate baseball that I would not know. I am expanding my coaching circle so that in years to come, I can reach out to those individuals again if need be. 


These relationships helped me a great deal this summer, especially pertaining to replacing players that we lost. Whether it was a close friend, or another colleague that I communicated with for the first time this summer, there was no hesitation to help me when I was in need. Most of them knew exactly what I was going through as they have been in the game longer than I have, and they made sure that they did everything that they could possibly do to help me out. 





(photo courtesy of R-MC Media Relations)