The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Photo credit: Nick Shockey / nshockey.express@gmail.com
A letter from the editor
February 6, 2024

Panthers coach rises in ranks

City+College+head+baseball+coach+Derek+Sullivan+meets+with+an+opposing+coach+before+a+game+at+Union+Stadium+March+1.+Dianne+Rose+%7C+Staff+Photographer+%7C+dianne.rose.express%40gmail.com
City College head baseball coach Derek Sullivan meets with an opposing coach before a game at Union Stadium March 1. Dianne Rose | Staff Photographer | [email protected]

Derek Sullivan has spent the better part of his adult life in a burgundy and gold uniform. Sullivan, 32, has been a Panther since 1999 when he joined the City College baseball team as a utility infielder. Sullivan has climbed the Panthers ranks, reaching the top this season as the team’s head coach.

Sullivan, who returned to City College as a coach in 2004 and also teaches kinesiology, said he is exactly where he wants to be.

“This is the only job I have ever really known that I want,” said Sullivan. “The only place I felt that I know I wanted to be a head coach was here.”

A native of the Sacramento area, Sullivan said he remembers playing wiffle ball as a child with his dad.

“My parents taught me that if you can find something that you can do that you love, don’t ever give it up,” said Sullivan. “They work hard and value family and value pursuing something you love.”

Sullivan found something he loved in baseball, progressing from wiffle ball to Little League, receiving recognition and awards for his skill.

“I was a pretty good Little League player. I had a passion [and] started playing year-round,” he said.

In high school, Sullivan played on the varsity team as a freshman and played baseball in Seattle for a couple of summers with the Seattle Devil Rays of the American Amateur Baseball Congress league.

As Sullivan’s game improved and his skills grew stronger, he said he thought that “playing baseball in college could be a reality.”

And when he became an infielder for the Panthers after high school, it was.
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“My first college hit was a homerun. I always remember that,” said Sullivan.

After graduating from City College in 2002, Sullivan finished his bachelor’s degree at St. John’s University in New York, majoring in sports management.

“When I left [City College] coach [Andy] McKay told me, ‘You might make a pretty good coach one day. If you want to come back after you finish with school, give me a call,’ so I did.” said Sullivan.

Sullivan joined the college as an assistant coach in 2004. While working at City College, Sullivan completed a master’s degree in human resources at Sacramento State.

Sullivan took over last season for former head coach Andy McKay, who went to work for the Colorado Rockies. Before this season began, Sullivan was officially given the job.

City College athletic director Mitch Campbell said he is excited to have Sullivan as head baseball coach.

“We thought Derek was a young man who not only has a great ability as a baseball coach but goes far beyond that,” said Campbell. “He’s the type of person that is always striving to learn, always striving to improve himself and, by association, the people he works with and his student athletes.”

Sullivan said he wants to foster an environment of support and development for student athletes both on and off the field.

“It’s all the time that makes things work as opposed to the drills, or that we have a nice stadium, and [it] has everything to do with the time and involvement,” said Sullivan. “We try to make it quality, and I have a great coaching staff that does a lot. I certainly don’t do everything myself. There is a lot of responsibility that is shared.”

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