Walking past plaques of former Terra Nova baseball players who went on to play professionally, Terra Nova’s new baseball coach, Kawann Summerville, says, “I want to return Terra Nova to the days of exciting baseball, discover some outstanding athletes and be competitive.
“Over the years Terra Nova has won multiple league championships,” he said. “We owe that to our community.”
Affixed to the right field fence of the Terra Nova baseball field are names of former players who had a career playing Major League Baseball: Bob McClure, Steve Shirley, Mike Diaz and Greg Reynolds.
“Those names mean something. Every school should be showcasing those athletes that have a special talent. Those are names that have been part of history for our community,” added Summerville, who inherited the coaching job from last year’s coach, Victor Messer, who decided not to return after a 15-0 season.
“My goal is to play in the top division of the Peninsula Athlete League. I love competition,” Summerville said. “My goal is to get back to the Bay Division.” Summerville takes over a team that last year won the Lake Division, the weakest of the PAL three divisions. This year the team will play in the Ocean Division.
Summerville has coached girls basketball at the school since 2008, and two years ago took on the role as girls volleyball coach. This is his first time to coach high school baseball. However, the sport is not new to him. Growing up in Daly City, his youth was spent playing baseball.
“Of all the sports, baseball is my No. 1 sport,” said Summerville, who with his twin brother, Kareem, came to Terra Nova in 2008 to coach girls basketball. Prior to his coming to Pacifica, he coached baseball at Capuchino and Sequoia high schools, and youth club teams in the Burlingame area. “Most people in Pacifica thought I just coach girls, but that’s not the case. Kareem and I also coached AAU programs; he coached the girls and I did the boys. When Kareem got the girls basketball job at Terra Nova he asked me to come join him.”
For 10 years (2008-2016), Kawann coached girls junior varsity basketball and Kareem coached the varsity. Five years ago, Kareem departed to coach elsewhere, leaving Kawann to coach both the varsity and JV girls. Today, Kareem is coaching at San Mateo High School.
“Baseball is in my blood,” said Summerville, who graduated from Oceana High School, where he also played baseball. “I know what I am doing. I know the game. I’ve played a lot of baseball and I know what it takes to be a baseball coach. When it comes to baseball, it’s all about family.”
Kawann is one of four brothers. His youngest brother, Kaazim, was an outstanding player at Burlingame High School, and later at St. Mary’s College. He played pro ball in the New York Yankees organization. Kawann’s dad played baseball in the California Angels minor league system.
“Our family moved to Daly City from New Jersey. We played baseball every day with friends, from sunrise to sunset, at Gellert Park. It was exciting to play baseball; just go out there and have fun. Your parents knew where you were,” said Kawann. “Around lunchtime we’d go to Sizzler restaurant where you could eat all you want, and then we’d go back to the park and play until it got dark. I remember those days.
“I want to bring that fun philosophy to this year’s team,” he continued. “I want the players to play hard and see how much fun it is to play as a team, much like a family. I want our athletes to have an opportunity to get scholarships as a way to continue their education.”
Family was actually the driving force behind Summerville taking the Terra Nova coaching job. His 15-year-old son lived in Manteca. He also plays baseball and, according to his dad, is a good player. Over the years, Kawann Summerville, who is a campus superviser, would drive to Manteca after a basketball game to coach his son, or just to see him play.
That changed this year as his son now lives with him.
“I got my son transferred to Terra Nova this year to be closer to him. His being here gives me the opportunity to take on a bigger role in his life. It allows me to work full time, not having to go back and forth to Manteca to be with him,” said Summerville, who recently moved into the Jefferson Union High School District staff housing in Daly City. “So, when the administration asked me about coaching the baseball team, it didn’t take me too long to say yes. I had no second thoughts. I know I will have a good support staff.”
Assisting him with the varsity will be Ron Ash, who has been coaching youth baseball in the community for many years, while Terra Nova graduate Jared Milch, who recently graduated from Stony Brook University and played a couple of years of independent baseball in the Frontier League, will coach junior varsity.
Terra Nova opens its baseball season on Feb. 25.
“With the talent I’ve seen so far, I believe this team is going to be strong,” said Summerville. “Being an on-campus coach will allow me to get to know each of the athletes. I see them every day, often in between classes.”
“I want to thank Ms. Megan Carey (Terra Nova principal) for the opportunity to still be here coaching. I want to tell the students I look forward to coaching them and seeing them every day. And, to the parents, just sit back and enjoy!”
Going forward, Summerville has committed to coaching girls basketball, both varsity and JV, girls volleyball, and boys baseball next year.
“While we are all familiar with him as a basketball coach, he has experience with baseball and jumped at the opportunity when it became available,” Principal Carey said. “He is now a bona fide triple threat at Terra Nova.”
Horace Hinshaw is Tribune sports editor emeritus.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.