Coached by baseball, Mexico native Munns shares lessons in book

By Jeremy Jacob Sports Editor
Posted 9/11/22

Mexico native and Columbia College head baseball coach Darren Munns has impacted the lives of countless young men.

Munns has coached college baseball for 30 years, teaching virtues such as …

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Coached by baseball, Mexico native Munns shares lessons in book


Mexico native and Columbia College head baseball coach Darren Munns has impacted the lives of countless young men.

Munns has coached college baseball for 30 years, teaching virtues such as leadership and perseverance. He felt the lessons were so valuable that they should be shared with everyone so he wrote a new book called “Cheers to Baseball” that can be purchased on Amazon right now.

Throughout the years, Munns said he has seen many “wide-eyed” freshmen introduced into the programs he has led. Many times, those freshmen became contributors to winning teams – as he has done recently with the recently revived Columbia College program – but have also become contributors to society after baseball.

“Baseball is a vehicle to hopefully get a degree and teach them life lessons,” Munns said. “When they get out, they had a great experience, and they created lifelong relationships. Baseball is my passion, and it’s the players’ passion so it’s a natural connection, but you use it as a vehicle to accomplish those other things. It’s fun to watch a guy that is a 17-18-year-old freshman four of five years later grow into a young man.”

Passion is why Munns became a baseball coach and has stayed in the game for so long, he said. On his website that can be used to learn about and purchase the book,, Munns talks about the four ways to become a head college baseball coach: nepotism, being a former professional player or highly successful college player, timing and paying your dues. The last one applies to Munns, he said, as he realized he didn’t have the talent to continue his playing career after college so he turned to coaching.

Even though he wasn’t on the diamond anymore, Munns was too passionate to walk away from the game so he tried to get his foot in the door somewhere coaching. That door was at Drexel University in Philadelphia after Munns succeeded at what he refers to as a “blind date” with then-Drexel coach Don Maines, becoming an assistant coach and the recruiting coordinator. Munns credits Maines as his mentor and the reason he became knowledgeable on how to run a college baseball program.

In two years following a 4-34 season, Drexel made it to a conference championship game and was only the first program that Munns had a hand in turning around. He rebuilt Harris-Stowe State and improved the program by 23 wins to a 34-win team, collected 333 wins in 12 years at William Woods in Fulton and built Columbia College’s program from the ground up in 2017 after not having baseball since 1982.

With all that history and all the time he suddenly had on his hands during the pandemic, Munns acted on the advice of other people and wrote a book.
“I had a lot of experience and stories to share,” Munns said. “I leaned on some friends who are journalists that gave me a little bit of guidance initially, and then from there, just dedicated myself to finishing the project and trying to make it the best project I could.”

The subtitle of the book, “My Crazy 30-Year Journey in College Baseball: Perseverance, Leadership and Unbelievable Stories” is self-explanatory of the type of things readers could get out of the book, Munns said, but the value is deeper than that.

Several baseball coaches have reached out to Munns to say how much they love the book, but people outside of the baseball realm can be affected by his message.

“The main message is hopefully some people can learn from my experiences some leadership strategies and it can be beneficial for, not just people in baseball, but aspiring leaders in any endeavor,” Munns said. “I’ve had really good feedback from people that are not involved in sports or are just casual sports fans and they found it entertaining and beneficial. That was the goal: to have a more wide-reaching audience to impact more people.”

Below the subhead on the title is one of Munns’ favorite photos: him with his daughter after a game at Columbia College. The bond between father and child could be strong in instilling valuable life lessons as he learned from his late father, Dale Eisele.

In a section of the book, Munns talks about how his father loved to live life to the fullest up until his death. Munns remembers his father – a salesman – playing the “best round of golf he’s ever played” and how he “caught one of the best messes of fish he had ever caught” in his final two days.

Considering Munns’ past, it is important to worry about the future in regards to passing down knowledge but not as important when it comes to seizing the day.

“He was a guy that laughed and everybody that he came across was a joyous conversation,” Munns said. “He really enjoyed life. He was extremely hard-working, but at the same time, had a smile on his face and had fun.
“Don’t sweat the small stuff. We should appreciate what we have because I think, too often, we sweat the small stuff and worry about that instead of enjoying the ride.”

Munns started fall practice with the 2023 Cougars on Sept. 1 – a time Munns looks forward to every year as it’s the first step of a new season, which can bring many emotions. For the ones just starting, there could be some nerves so Munns believes having a welcoming culture and one that emphasizes the fun for the game helps tremendously.

“(My dad) loved life to the fullest and had a positive impact on people,” Munns said. “I think, in our profession, some coaches at the college and professional level treat it too much like a job, and the players don’t enjoy what they’re doing. I always think you’re going to have a more successful player if they’re having fun and they’re enjoying coming to practice or coming to a game. They play looser. They usually have more success. I just think fun gets lost in the equation a lot in athletics in all levels.”

Munns said he learns something new each day from players and colleagues, which is what he means when he says “Baseball has coached me.” In the future, as long as the passion still “ticks inside” of him, Munns said he doesn’t envision doing anything else in the future and he’s happy about that. After 30 years, he looks forward to what he can learn and what others can learn from him.

“Baseball has taught me as much as I’ve coached others and taught them baseball,” Munns said. “The experiences you have are often your greatest teacher, and that’s certainly been the case in my career.”


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