Lindsay Meggs never planned on coaching his kids. As Washington’s baseball coach watched his three children – Joe, Kelly and Jack – grow up, he thought there would always be a level of separation between coach and dad.

But Jack and Joe, well, they had other ideas.

Throughout their childhood, the boys built a bond with baseball. They fell in love with the game, because they had an all-access pass to the programs their father coached.

“They always thought they were on the team,” said Teresa, their mother. “That’s what the boys always dreamed of, playing for their dad.”

Whether they were shagging fly balls in the outfield at Chico State or watching their father rebuild the program at Indiana State, both boys envisioned a future with their father.

“We spent so much time around the field with my dad and his teams growing up, I think it almost would have been weird not to play for him,” said Joe, who played for his father at Indiana State and Washington.

As Lindsay’s boys got older, he realized if he didn’t coach them, he would never see them play college baseball. Once Joe decided to join the program at Indiana State, Lindsay learned to balance the roles of coach and father.

“I’ve always tried to make sure they understood I wasn’t going to treat them any different than anybody else,” said Lindsay, whose team is ranked in the top 10 nationally. “But I also didn’t want to punish them by going too far in the other direction.”

As he learned to balance both roles, Lindsay wrestled with one question: Can parents really be objective enough to treat their children the same as they treat everyone else?

“I don’t know that you can,” he said.

He made a deal with himself. He started to treat everybody on the roster “as if they were my son.”

That decision sparked an evolution in his coaching style.

“It’s forced me to treat kids with a little more patience, a little bit more respect and a little bit more understanding,” Lindsay said. “It’s made me a better coach from the perspective of understanding what kids go through, because your son is going through it as well.”

For Lindsay and his boys there is a delicate balance between family and the coach-player dynamic but, as far as Joe is concerned, “At the end of the day, any time you’re on the field with your dad, it’s special.”

Now navigating his freshman season with the Huskies, Jack agreed with his brother.

“On the field, he’s my coach,” Jack said. “But I can look him in the eye and we have that connection where, if something is wrong with me, or if something’s wrong with him, I know, because he’s my dad.”

 

 

Of the Meggs’ three children, Joe is the oldest and Kelly, who played basketball at UC Irvine, is in the middle. As the youngest sibling, Jack grew up determined to compete with the older kids.

“There was, almost to a fault, no fear,” Lindsay said.

“It’s forced me to treat [players] with a little more patience, a little bit more respect and a little bit more understanding. It’s made me a better coach from the perspective of understanding what kids go through, because your son is going through it as well.”

The family moved to Terre Haute, Indiana, when Jack was a talented sixth grader. Lindsay had inherited a last-place program at Indiana State. As he looked at his roster, he laughed to himself.

“You know what, I could probably plug him (Jack) in right now,” Lindsay said. “He’s been around older kids his whole life. We’ve got some holes. He might be able to solve some of our problems.”

But it would be a few years, and four state football titles with Bellevue High School, before Jack would join his father’s program.

As a child, his mother gave him the nickname “Sideshow Jack,” because of his one-man baseball performances during games Lindsay coached.

“He would throw a tennis ball and then make diving catches on the cement,” Teresa said.

When he wasn’t pestering his siblings, he was in the backyard with a bat and ball.

“At the end of the day, any time you’re on the field with your dad, it’s special.”

“I would go outside, throw up a whiffle ball and see how far I could hit it,” the left-handed outfielder said. “I loved doing that. I didn’t really want to throw the football around by myself, but I could always hit by myself.”

There are times when Lindsay and Teresa can’t believe that child has grown into the athlete who is finding his way in his first year as a Division I baseball player.

“All of a sudden, you blink your eyes and he’s on our roster,” Lindsay said. “It’s been pretty amazing.”

With a top 10 team, competing in a brand new ballpark, it has been a special season for Washington’s baseball program. It has provided father and son a chance to share success as coach and player.

“It’s just so neat to see them finally able to have that relationship,” Teresa said.

Lindsay never planned on coaching his kids. But what started with Joe continues for Jack.

“The relationship gets even better, because he’s tough on you but, at the end of the day, your dad gets to see you play every single game,” Jack said. “He never has to miss one of your college baseball games. It’s been all I could ask for.”