Paul Mather, the head coach of McClintock's baseball team, cherishes the value of family.
So much so that he made his son, Joe, his head assistant.
The root of the Mather’s family value has more meaning than the program's on-field performance and playoff appearance this season.
“My home life wasn’t the best growing up,” Paul said. “There was love there, but my dad wasn’t around. When I got married and had a family, I decided it was going to be different.”
When Joe was 12, his father moved the family from Cortolane, Idaho to Phoenix to give his son a better opportunity.
“I could see that my son could play,” Paul said. “I thought the notoriety and opportunity to work more down here was better for him.”
After the family’s departure from Cortolane, Joe’s passion and ability progressed.
During his sophomore year in high school, a player from his rival school was selected in the major league draft. At that point, he knew he wanted to achieve the same.
“From sophomore year to senior year it was my goal to get drafted,” Joe said.
He was drafted and signed with the Cardinals in 2001. Joe climbed through the ranks and, during his 9-year career, made his Major League debut May 30, 2008.
He had short stints with three teams during the following four seasons. After his retirement in 2012, Joe started his coaching career.
When Joe decided to coach high school baseball, he knew who to contact.
“He (Paul) is by far the best coach I’ve ever had,” Joe said. “I want to be around that and around him as much as possible.”
The duo has had a major impact on the program the last two seasons.
Last year, they led the Chargers to their first winning season and playoff appearance since 2007.
Mario Muñoz, a junior pitcher, said he likes playing for the Mathers because of their communication and coordination.
“The messages they have for us are the same,” Muñoz said. “They both know what they’re doing and are always on the same page. I think If you’re organized and the practices are organized then your team will show it on the field.”
Muñoz said the Mathers push the team to be a family.
Paul said his son's finger prints all over the program.
“He’s creative, innovated, knowledgeable. He’s played the game at the highest level, and he brings all of that to the team,” Paul said.
Paul said there are no difficulties with Joe coaching under him.
It all boils down to respect and the Mathers setting the tone.
“How we interact in front of these boys sets a great example,” Paul said. “I didn’t play college ball. He played at the highest level, but we trust each other and that’s an important part of being a family.
“Kids can come here and feel comfortable. They can feel purpose. They can feel value here. The biggest thing is what kind of men we can turn these boys into.”
Paul said the values he instills in his players are the same he taught Joe.
“We all have God given gifts,” he said. “God gave him some gifts, and he used them to the best of his ability. I’m proud of his hard work, determination, resiliency and desire. I’m proud of those things, not that he was a big league player.”
(Update. Joe Mather left McClintock during the second half of the season. He is a minor league coach with the Double-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Jackson Generals. Mather is expected to return to McClintock during the start of next season.)