by BaseballSoftballUK, www.baseballsoftballuk.com
MLB Envoy Coach Sam Dempster has been coming to the UK as a Major League Baseball Envoy since the summer of 2004, and after each summer spent teaching the British baseball community the “Dempster” way of doing things, Sam has returned to Canada to resume as Head Baseball Coach at Durham College in Ontario.
But on April 24, Coach Dempster will receive a signal honor: induction to the Whitby Sports Hall of Fame at the college.
“Sam is truly deserving of this honor,” said Ken Babcock, Durham College Athletic Director. “His involvement with baseball on many different levels for the past 30 years is extraordinary. From youth minor ball, to his key role in the birth of high school baseball in the Durham Region, to his stellar career as head coach of the Durham College varsity baseball program to his work as a Major League Baseball scout and also worldwide ambassador for Major League Baseball’s International Envoy program, Sam has impacted thousands worldwide. I can’t say enough about Sam Dempster as a person. He is simply one of the special ones.”
BSUK Regional Coach and GB Cadet Head Coach Will Lintern said, “The ‘Dempster Way’ can best be summarized by the quote he often puts at the end of his emails: ‘If you want to leave footprints in the sand, wear work boots’. Sam Dempster has been an absolute work horse, travelling the length and breadth of the UK to coach kids and adults of all abilities. Many clubs have benefited from the experience and knowledge that Sam has imparted on the baseball field, but no group of players has learned more about the game of baseball than those who have played on the Great Britain Cadet National Team.”
Since Will Lintern became Cadet Head Coach in 2008, Sam Dempster has been one of the team’s assistant coaches at two European Qualifier Tournaments where GB placed second and fifth and has instructed at numerous Cadet camps and practices.
In Canada, Sam Dempster has been the only coach that the Durham College men’s baseball program has ever known. For the last 18 seasons as Head Coach of the Lords, Dempster has been instrumental in guiding the program to its current level of excellence.
The team has only had one losing season in those 18 years, and since 1995, the team has qualified for the Ontario Championship finals in all but one year, while Dempster has gone on to compile an impressive overall record of 257-177 and a conference record of 169-108.
The Lords have won the CIBA Ontario Conference championship five times, including four straight wins from 2005 to 2008. Durham’s first conference championship came in 1999.
In January of 2007, Sam Dempster was awarded the Julio Puente Envoy International Coach Award by Major League Baseball at the American Baseball Coaches Association Conference in Orlando, Florida. The prestigious award is presented by MLB for unselfish, dedicated and passionate work in growing the game of baseball.
In addition to his lead role at Durham and his summer work in the UK, Coach Dempster is also an associate Canadian scout for Major League Baseball’s Milwaukee Brewers and was previously a scout for the New York Yankees. He has also co-organized the Ontario Best Ever Clinic for many years and has assisted the Team Ontario program both north and south of the border.
Back to Britain
This summer, Sam Dempster will return to his role as an assistant role with the GB Cadet National Baseball Team, helping to deliver an enhanced regional practice schedule. The plan is for Sam to run one regional practice in the North and one in the South each week for both the Junior and Cadet teams ahead of their respective European Qualifying tournaments.
Will Lintern said: “Having Sam on the coaching staff is not only a great asset, because I know he will push both the players and the other coaches to excellence, but it also a tremendous privilege and honor to work with a coach of his caliber.”