04/28/2023 8:44 AM -
“I love baseball. I’m here for the opportunity and I am not going to take it for granted.”
Those were the words of 30-year-old new Panthers manager Deandre Gilmore. Even with a passionate love of the game, the Hammond, Ind. native has experienced his fair share of ups and downs in his baseball career.
Gilmore was a four-year varsity starter at Donald E. Gavit High School in Hammond. Gilmore earned a pair of all-conference awards his sophomore and junior year. He ended up attending Calumet College of St. Joseph’s, where he played for two years. However, Gilmore’s college baseball career came to an end when he was forced to step away to take care of his son. This led to the start of a very eventful coaching career.
Gilmore’s love for coaching comes from being able to provide players a chance to be seen.
“I tell my guys you never know who’s watching,” he said. “Whether you are a second-year guy or a fourth-year, there is going to be someone evaluating you.”
These words should not be taken lightly, as Gilmore has a great deal of recruiting experience. After his last year of college baseball, Gilmore was given the position as Babe Ruth commissioner for Lakeshore baseball in Whiting, Ind., where he was also selected to coach the North vs West Indiana All-Star Game in both 2015 and 2016. While this was going on, Gilmore was also doing private lessons for the Northwest Indiana Shockers and began to help 17-18 year old athletes in the northwest Indiana area find a school.
All this put Gilmore on track to attain an assistant coach position at Prairie State College in 2019. Three short years later, he was promoted to associate head coach, which is his current position. Gilmore is currently juggling his college season with the Panthers season underway and some ongoing summer preparation.
Even though this is his first year with the Panthers, Gilmore is no stranger to the Northern League. In 2021, he managed the Minutemen, and the following year led the Chicago American Giants.
One of those potential challenges for a first-year coach in the Northern League can be meeting some of the players and forming relationships before the season. Especially when these players are in the middle of their spring seasons. Luckily for Gilmore, this should not be much of an issue.
“Some of the players are in the region,” Gilmore said. “Us coaches already know these players, whether it is from playing with them or against them.”
Gilmore has been all over the place and has experienced a lot of success. Although a lot of people were unfamiliar with the way he coaches and goes about business. When asked about what his philosophy is and what he brings to the table, Gilmore frequently used the word ‘grind.’
“All of my teams play hard,” he said. “We are always going to play hard no matter what. That’s kind of my philosophy in baseball and in general.”
This philosophy has done wonders for Gilmore as it has helped him get this far, even after his playing career was cut short. Even with all his individual success, Gilmore proved how he is a player-first coach and truly cares about the future of the player. Even with many hoping for a bounceback year from the Panthers, Gilmore stressed how important it is to guide these players in developing when he said, “We can’t get too lost in the win-loss record. I want to help these kids develop.”