In the six years at the helm of the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Baseball program, head coach Scott Malone has focused on improving his team both on and off the field. The latest such example of improvement off the field is when the Islanders took part in the annual Salvation Army Angel Tree Program, the first time the team has been involved with the charity.
"We've entered year six of Malone era, and I felt like we've always been really good with getting engaged in the community," said Malone. "Coming around to the holiday season, we were looking for something new, something we haven't done before. My wife actually came up with idea of us doing the Salvation Army Angel Tree."
The program is set up so that local volunteers can go to La Palmera Mall, pick an ornament with a name off of a tree and then get a shopping list for that particular child that needs help.
"We went through the mall, they have this big row of trees set in there and all the different kids with their holiday wishes," said Malone. "It was basically their letters to Santa about whatever they want. Salvation Army does a great job of not only having toys, but they really hit the basics too; shirt sizes, pants sizes, shoes, the basic necessities. It's really a neat project."
Although the baseball team is wrapped in the preparation for and taking of finals, they were still able to find time for a good cause in the Corpus Christi community by helping out with the Angel Tree program.
"I spent some time when I introduced it to our players, talking about the idea of unselfishness," said Malone. "This time of the year really is driven by trying to do something for someone else, trying to do something for those less fortunate.
"Obviously it's a busy time of year, our guys have wrapped up their workouts, and they are locked into finals week studying, trying to have a great finish to the semester."
From helping out by reading at local elementary schools, to cleaning up areas in the community and volunteering for community events, Malone makes sure the team puts as much back into the community as the locals put into the program.
"This Angel Tree project has given us a chance again to connect with the community, provide some necessities for some kids that are underprivileged," said Malone. "That is the primary focus, but it also gives our kids a little bit of a diversion from the everyday grind of studying, working out and getting ready to wrap up this semester."