First-year Bonny Eagle High baseball head coach John McGlinn talks to his players during a throwing drill at a practice last week in Standish. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

John McGlinn, 42, is a first-year high school baseball coach. But he is far from a baseball novice.

The new varsity head coach at Bonny Eagle, has had a deep, personal connection to baseball since his earliest childhood memories.

When McGlinn was 2 years old, his mother, Jan, married Brian Butterfield, then a minor league baseball player from Maine.

Forty years later, Butterfield – the son of former University of Maine baseball coach Jack Butterfield – is coaching third base for the Los Angeles Angels, his sixth major league organization in a 38-year career that included a stint with the Red Sox from 2013-17. In that time, Butterfield has earned his reputation as a consummate baseball coach and expert infield instructor.

And McGlinn, immersed in baseball since an early age, is trying to transfer to his high school players some of what he learned.

“I think back over my 40 years of just growing up in his house and being fortunate to be part of a lot of conversations, or sitting in same room as him and Buck Showalter, or John Farrell, or Terry Francona. I’ve been lucky to be in a lot of neat places,” McGlinn said. “So maybe by accident I’ve absorbed a few things.”

While it is McGlinn’s first time as a high school varsity coach, he has coaching experience. He was an assistant coach at St. Joseph’s College from the fall of 2012 through the 2018 season. For the past 15 years he has worked on an informal part-time basis at The Edge Academy and coached youth teams.

But he had not actively pursued being a head coach. Even his job at Bonny Eagle came about partly by chance.

Brian Butterfield, a Maine native who lives in Standish in the offseason, has gained a reputation as a top infield instructor during his long professional coaching career. Butterfield coached five seasons with the Boston Red Sox, including the 2013 team that won the World Series. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara

McGlinn lives in Standish with his wife Keira and their three children. Their home is on the same plot of land as the Butterfields’ house. McGlinn said he and former Bonny Eagle varsity coach Rick Hession often talked about ways McGlinn could help the community baseball program, whether at the youth or school level.

McGlinn said he texted Hession in December and was surprised to learn Hession had recently stepped down as head coach.

“It kind of shocked me but I reached out to (Bonny Eagle athletic director) Eric Curtis,” McGlinn said.

McGlinn was hired shortly after an early January interview.

Butterfield said he and his wife have long felt McGlinn possessed the skills to be a coach.

“Just watching him mature through the years, it became obvious to me and my wife that he was a great candidate to be a coach of a number of sports just because of his approach,” Butterfield said by phone from California. “He’s detailed. He’s extremely tough-minded and he gets that from his mother.

“I think he cares about people. He’s going to care about those kids,” Butterfield added. “He’s going to care about what goes on in their lives whether it’s on the field or off the field.”

Los Angeles Angels third base coach Brian Butterfield, right, talks with Arismendy Alcantara during a spring training game in February in Tempe, Ariz. AP Photo/Gregory Bull

As Butterfield started his coaching career in 1984 in the New York Yankees’ farm system, McGlinn and his mother tagged along during the season.

“I spent summers in Oneonta (New York), Greensboro (North Carolina), Fort Lauderdale. I grew up being a bat boy, clubhouse kid. It was a wonderful experience,” McGlinn said. “This was back in the days of Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, (Jorge) Posada, Jay Buhner, guys like that being in the Yankees’ minor league system. That was really neat.”

When Butterfield took a job with the expansion Arizona Diamondbacks prior to McGlinn’s junior year of high school, it was decided McGlinn would head north from the family’s home in Tampa to summer with relatives in Presque Isle. That’s how he ended up playing American Legion ball in the 1990s for the Old Town/Orono teams coached by Dave Paul and being spotted by Maine baseball legend John Winkin, then an assistant coach at Husson.

Primarily a catcher, McGlinn was an all-conference pick in his junior and senior seasons at Husson, leading the team in doubles and RBI (tied) as a junior, and hits as a senior in 2002.

After finishing his senior season at Husson, McGlinn drove to Columbus, Ohio, to spend the summer with Butterfield, who that season was the manager of the New York Yankees’ Triple-A team the Columbus Clippers.

“They set me up with my own apartment, but my dad said, ‘Don’t get unpacked. Mr. Steinbrenner isn’t happy,'” McGlinn said, in reference to the late Yankees owner. The Clippers were off to a rocky start. Sure enough, Butterfield was soon fired, only to be promptly hired three weeks later to be the Toronto Blue Jays’ third base coach. Butterfield would stay with Toronto until 2013 when he joined John Farrell’s staff with the Boston Red Sox, where he would win a World Series ring.

Most of the Bonny Eagle varsity players have only a rough sketch of McGlinn’s baseball background. But they said he quickly has demonstrated he knows the game, expects effort, and is relatable.

Bonny Eagle baseball players listen as their new coach, John McGlinn, talks about signaling after a practice last week in Standish. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

“I didn’t know anything about him coming in, but first practice, right away clicked with him. He’s actually a cool person. An actual person you can talk to,” said John Dugan, a senior corner infielder.

Cam MacDonald, a senior second baseman, said, “He just wants us to get better. Be the best baseball players, young men, we can. He wants the best for us. He makes sure we’re always on time, always polite, no goofing off.”

Senior center fielder Garison Emerson said McGlinn focuses instruction around correct technique and commitment.

“He knows what we can do and he knows our abilities, so he knows when we’re dogging it, or not giving 100 percent, so he’s always on us to give 100 percent,” Emerson said. “He’s always pushing us to be our best and he knows we can take his criticism.”

Shortstop Jacob Humphries, an SMAA first-team pick in 2019 who has signed to play at UMass-Lowell, said McGlinn is trying to increase the team’s baseball knowledge.

“I feel like some of the stuff he’s trying to teach us is advanced, beyond high school ball, which that will be just a benefit for all our players and our program coming up through,” Humphrey said. “We’ll have great opportunities in the future and each kid is going to have different tools for different situations.”

What the players said about McGlinn’s approach would not surprise Butterfield.

“He will teach them discipline, about being on time, about mental and physical toughness, about how to compete; about all the things that are important – it’s about daily walk in life,” Butterfield said. “He’s got a really good grasp of it and I think Bonny Eagle is going to be awfully glad about this hire.”

Of course all the glowing words of praise came before McGlinn coached his first varsity game, a 4-0 home loss to Falmouth on Friday.

“I haven’t done anything yet,” McGlinn said.


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