Breakfast Speaker Darryl Monroe Talked to LHS Student-Athletes On Visit
September 11, 2018
Soon after speaking to a group of nearly 600 guests at the 17th Annual Lawrence Schools Foundation Community Education Breakfast, keynote speaker Darryl Monroe made another presentation to a group of student-athletes at Lawrence High School Friday.
Monroe, a 1990 LHS graduate, played baseball at the University of Kansas, where he excelled on the field and in the classroom. He was a two-time All-America selection, helping the Jayhawks to the 1993 College World Series, while also being named to the academic all-conference team three times and academic all-district team once. After earning a degree in human biology, he was drafted by the Detroit Tigers and pursued a career in baseball. He was able to play four years of minor league baseball before he realized he wouldn’t advance to the majors and needed a plan B.
His new career path kept him in the sport, just not on the field. Monroe was offered a position as a scout with the Montreal Expos and after stints with the Expos and Atlanta Braves, he has spent the last 11 seasons working for the New York Yankees.
Monroe’s former high school teammate and current LHS baseball coach Brad Stoll, invited a number of student-athletes from every sport at LHS to come meet with the man, who was once like them with dreams of playing beyond his high school days.
Monroe shared wisdom he has learned from his career and offered advice and guidance before holding a question and answer session with approximately 50 students from the all sports at the school.
“I told them they could ask questions or go back to class,” Monroe joked.
He talked about what he looks for in athletes in his job as a scout. He emphasized the “makeup” of people, not just their athletic ability.
“Hustle, accountability, being on time, teamwork – these are some important things I evaluate when watching players,” Monroe said. “Don’t just turn it on when you are in front of a coach because you are always judged from other’s accounts of you as well.”
He said he “wants players that have the ability to perform when the lights are on and the pressure is high. You do that by preparing so that when you in a difficult situation, you can perform. That takes practice and preparation.”
The former standout baseball and football player at LHS encouraged the students to be involved in other activities or sports and not specialize in one sport until the time is right.
“Explore. Do other stuff and don’t just do one thing,” Monroe said. “I like players who are good at other stuff. I like to see players play other sports. It appeals to me when players like achievement. Achieve in school, music, etc… Those are the things that are impressive to me.”
He also warned kids about their use of social media and reminded them that all potential recruiters and employers are watching.
“Social media is important,” Monroe said. “Be very careful about what you put out there. One trigger word can derail interest from someone like me.”
His messages hit home to the young Lions in attendance.
“It is awesome, because I like how he still has the same values we do – that our teammates matter to us and our school matters to us,” said Michaela Cordova, a member of the volleyball team. “It is really cool to see how the tradition has been passed down here.”
Isaiah Mayo, a member of the basketball team, appreciated the opportunity to meet with Monroe.
“I am a big basketball guy, not baseball, but he gave great advice on how to take care of your body, as well as the responsibilities throughout the whole process of going through high school and college,” he said. “I liked how he talked about not focusing on one sport until the end of your career. He is an inspiration to a lot of people.”