--article by Patrick Mason, sports writer for the Rocky Mount Telegram, that was printed in Friday's edition
ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. - Center Fielder Cedrick Kornegay recently finished his senior season with the NC Wesleyan baseball team, though his time with the program isn't over just yet. Kornegay will return to the Bishops next season in a coaching role where he will help head coach Greg Clifton and his staff as part of a graduate assistant program. Kornegay is returning to NCWC, enrolling in a masters criminal justice program.
"I'm looking forward to being able to help the guys, especially the younger guys," said Kornegay. "I really just want to give them some guidance that I wish I was given when I was in their shoes. Especially the freshmen who are figuring everything out for the first time."
When the option to return to the program to help the coaching staff was brought up, both parties jumped at the chance. After all, Clifton and Kornegay worked well together as soon as they met.
Clifton had just finished his first season as the Bishops head coach and spent much of the early portion of his hiring learning the roster. He came over from local Faith Christian School where he was the head coach for the previous seven seasons, winning two NCISAA state championships. Kornegay remembers one of his first interactions with Clifton, and it kicked off their solid relationship:
"The first day I walked into his office I had on a cowboy hat," said Kornegay. "I wear one all the time because i work on a farm and work with cows. And when I walked in I kept the hat on and he immediately said that he loved it. We laughed a bit and ever since then became pretty close."
Kornegay made life easy for the first-year coach, both with his charitable personality in terms of sharing tips and offering advice to teammates, and with his own on-field performances.
The center fielder was named to the 2019 ABCA/Rawlings NCAA Div. III All-Region seccond team this past season while also being named to the USA South all-Conference team as a first-team selection. Kornegay had team highs in batting average (.372) and hits with 58 while also adding four triples, three home runs and 37 RBIs this past year. He was a perfect 6 for 6 in stolen base attempts and his 89 put outs were the highest of any outfielder.
"He's just a great guy," Clifton said. "And to have him back will be great. Sometimes that message gets through to guys a little different when it's coming from someone other than a coach."
Kornegay's two older brothers played baseball at NC Wesleyan, and the oldest, Marcus, now works at Competitive Edge in Rocky Mount as a hitting and catching instructor. Kornegay said that whenever his swing felt a little off, he would go to his brother for a tweak.
"I would go to him every time something didn't feel right," Kornegay said. "And he helped get it right and he continued to push me to be better."
That's what the NCWC outfield captain hopes to bring to next year's crop of players. He hopes to help out where needed and maybe he'll catch the coaching bug along the way.
"When I was playing I didn't really think about it too much," Kornegay said of the possibility of being a coach later in life. "Like right now the most coaching I can see myself doing is a high school team because realistically I want to be in law enforcement. But maybe while i'm still in school here, it'll grow on me. I'm still excited and love to help out."