YORK, PA –Heading into 2011-12, the York College Athletic Department reveals a number of changes involving three members of the YCP baseball family.
Former Spartan head coach Paul Saikia, who is now the Assistant Dean for Athletics and Recreation, announced recently that long-time assistant coach Mike Scappa has been named the new head baseball coach. Saikia also announced that former Spartan All-American shortstop and current director of campus recreation Matt Day has been elevated to Assistant Director of Athletics and Recreation.
"Mike and Matty were special players--they had physical gifts, but it was mostly because of the people they are. We are really fortunate that their playing days did not mark the end of their careers at York College," states Saikia.
Scappa has served as Saikia's assistant coach since the conclusion of his playing career in 1998. He has been a part of the program for 17 years including the last 13 years on the bench. Scappa's dedication to the Spartan program is something that was not lost on Saikia as he was in search of his replacement as the Spartan head coach.
"Our field is named after former coach Jack Jaquet. There are only two people who have spent as much time in a Spartan baseball uniform as he did, and one of them is Mike Scappa."
Scappa was a two-year captain for the Spartans as York College made two NCAA Tournament trips during his time wearing the Green and White. Scappa posted a career average of .305 while he was also a two-time All-Capital Athletic Conference selection.
"I am excited to have the opportunity to lead and develop the next generation of Spartan baseball teams. York College has been part of my life for the last 17 years and it is my responsibility to maintain the high standards that Coach Saikia has established for our program," states Scappa.
Day is one of the most decorated players in Spartan history. He is a two-time ABCA All-American, was the 2002 Capital Athletic Conference Player-of-the-Year, was a four-time All-CAC pick while he also earned CoSIDA Academic All-America accolades.
"Sean Sullivan, our Assistant Dean at the time, was unfamiliar with Matt when he first came back to coach for me," says Saikia. "I remember telling Sean that he was going to want to hire Matt full-time at some point. Sure enough, a year later I lost my assistant coach. Matty is doing an incredible job with Campus Recreation, but I'm really glad to get him involved in Athletics again."
Day has served the York College community as the director of recreation and intramurals the last five years. He is very excited about getting the opportunity to move into the athletic administration of the College.
"I'm extremely excited about this new position as I move into a role that combines Athletics & Recreation," states Day. "York College, and specifically York College athletics, has been very good to me and I look forward to giving back by assisting in taking our programs to the next level. I'm excited about being able to work directly with our administration, coaches and student-athletes in an effort to continually improve and enhance our athletic programs."
Saikia knows the lessons learned at Jaquet Field will serve all three Spartans in their new positions.
"I've always hoped that the lessons we learn on the field will help us in other aspects of life. Baseball is a sport of high accountability. It's a team game, but the flow is a chain of individual actions, and they are easy to identify--responsibility rarely gets lost in the shuffle in baseball. It's the only sport I know of where the coach walks out onto the field and takes the ball away from a guy when he is not doing well. If you are involved for much time at all, you will suffer plenty of failure and humility for your moments of exhilaration and being the hero. To be successful requires aspects of character that I have always appreciated, and that I believe help form good leaders," says Saikia.
Day believes his experience as a Spartan baseball player has prepared him well for his professional life.
"My experience as a member of the Spartan baseball team was extremely instrumental in preparing me for my career," says Day. "Coach Saikia expected nothing but our best, not just in the field but in the classroom, as this is what he gave to the program. Watching his desire and hard work in making the program better made our teams want to work as hard as we could to be our best. This lesson is something I've carried with me beyond my Spartan playing days - expecting nothing less then the best I can give at whatever task I've been assigned. Our #1 is "No Excuses" which again goes well beyond the baseball field. The obstacles that you face shouldn't be seen as an excuse, but something that gives you more drive and determination to succeed. If at the end of the day, I can look back and know that I've given everything I had - my best - than I can walk away feeling good about the day."
Scappa echoes Day's thoughts.
"Coach Saikia has been an influential mentor, who entrusted me with plenty of responsibility from day one. I continue to apply the core principals that our Spartan teams emphasis in both my personal life and professional career on a daily basis."
The three Spartans formally start their new responsibilities on July 1, 2011.