More than wins and losses: City baseball coach pitches lessons on and off the field

City College assistant coach Deskaheh Bomberry walks back to the dugout during the game against Canada College at Union Stadium on Jan. 28th. ©2017 Dianne Rose

Dex Jones
Guest Writer


Some can do. Some can teach. Deskaheh Bomberry, a City College assistant baseball coach and professor, can do both.

As a Los Rios District alumnus, Bomberry, 46, returned home in 1998 after completing his Master’s degree in health and physical education at Eastern Kentucky University. Like many fresh college graduates, Bomberry was smacked with the harsh reality of finding work in the real world.

With the pressing need to find employment, Coach Bomber, as he is affectionately referred to by students, accepted an offer to teach part time at City College as a fitness instructor. At the time, it was just a means to pay the bills. He had no idea it would lead to his true calling.

“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do,” says Bomber.

A peek inside his office tells his journey of the last two decades—the adorable artwork from his daughter, the vibrant photos of his family, the walls covered in baseball memorabilia reflecting a man well-rounded in his life and career.

In his nearly 20 years with City College, he has climbed his way up the academic ladder, teaching something new at every opportunity. His hard work and perseverance earned him a full-time spot as adviser to the athletic department’s Life Fitness program, which was revamped for the fall 2017 semester. He has more responsibilities than ever with less time. In the morning, he advises in the athletics weight room at Hughes Stadium. But during the afternoon, he puts on the hat of assistant baseball coach.

Following the longstanding tradition of City College baseball since 1923, Bomber is responsible for recruiting players and coaching the pitching staff. When Bomber began coaching 20 years ago, his main concern was wins and losses. But after a fellow coach and friend hit him with some truth, his coaching style changed forever.

“He told me I was a terrible coach,” Bomber says.

After trying to shake off the initial anger and shock from his friend’s criticism, Bomber stepped back and took a good, hard look at how he was teaching. It was a pivotal moment in his career. He began to realize that he wasn’t just spinning out performance-driven champions but teaching life skills to good people.

“Real coaching is instructing,” Bomber says about his experiences. “You’re coaching people and teaching them responsibility.”

An important part of Bomber’s coaching is creating a foundational support system for his students and fellow coaches alike. His drive and impeccable work ethic show through the confidence he has in his students. As a result, he has been one of the coaches to help push at least six players to the major leagues. It was a point of pride, Bomber says, to receive a call from a former student that he helped reach the majors.

“He demanded so much of us,” says Michael Marjama, a former City College baseball player who is now a catcher for the Seattle Mariners. “He is constantly evolving. Not just for the game, but he taught us skills that I still use to deal with real life.”

There is a method to the madness of coaching. An integral part of Bomber’s program is his lesson for the day. For the first 10–15 minutes of every practice, Bomber gathers the team for what he calls mental skills practice.

“He always brings a really intelligent perspective,” says head baseball coach Derek Sullivan. “I have complete trust in him. He is incredibly well-versed in his knowledge and definitely knows how to utilize his network.”

Bomber has become a huge factor in what truly separates City College baseball from other programs. He is as big a part of the City College baseball program as he can be. He is the go-to guy for the team when a player is seeking advice, whether in life or on the field.

“Some of the players call him Yoda,” says Sullivan. “He’s sort of the Jedi master of the program.”

Bomber’s growth over the last two decades really shines through with the adoration of his peers and students. Not only is he a professor, he is a friend and confidante.

“I just really wanted to continue the tradition we hold here at City,” says Bomber. “I hold my players responsible. I try to teach them how to be great people. There is no success without responsibility.”

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