Hometown: Madisonville, Ky.
Bachelor’s degree from Kentucky Wesleyan College in Radio and TV, 1979
Master’s degree from Murray State University in Radio and TV, 1981
Oldest of five
Married, with three stepsons and six step-grand babies. “My greatest joy is being called ‘Daddy Em.’”
Hobbies include coaching baseball, reading, listening to music, movies, CrossFit workouts and bicycling.
Why did you choose Wesleyan?
“I started my college career at a Nashville institution, but someone in my hometown mentioned Kentucky Wesleyan to me, and I knew I had to investigate. As 15-year-old, I played in a tournament at Wesleyan, and during a break, teammates and I walked around the campus. It was my first visit to a college campus, and I remembered how warm and friendly everyone was. I was thrilled to be admitted with a baseball scholarship. The people made an impression on a teenager who felt he didn’t fit anywhere. It was the people who invested their lives in me when I was a student and people who make the college what it is today.”
What does Wesleyan mean to you today?
“Kentucky Wesleyan allowed me to find myself. I didn’t feel accepted in high school and didn’t know who I was. I didn’t do well at all my first semester, but my professors didn’t write me off. They ‘held my hand,’ and I learned the value of attention to details and self-discipline.
“I particularly remember Walter Beumel, Tom Rogers, Bob Darrell, Dan Bradshaw, Ray Purdom, John Combs and Jerry Trinkle. They encouraged me along the way, and I had no doubt that they cared about me and my success. I flunked Dr. Rogers’ religion class, and I had to retake it. That was not altogether a bad thing – he exposed me to ideas I had never considered. I loved listening to him. He was an excellent professor.
“I have great memories of Joel Utley, ‘The Voice of the Panthers,’ and another native of Madisonville. I went to a Panthers basketball game at the University of Indianapolis when I was a student, and he interviewed me on his radio show. He was and is a professional.”
Tell us about your career.
“I was a State Trooper from 1982 – 1986 and served in Harlan County, Hopkins County and on the Kentucky State Police Academy Staff. I retired in 2011 from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATF&E) after 25 years. I was assigned to the Indianapolis Field Office, where I was responsible for enforcing federal firearms, arson, explosives and armed narcotic laws. I received numerous awards for high profile cases, including the City of Fort Wayne, Ind., Medal of Valor for my role in numerous narcotic arrests and convictions, and the United States Attorney Southern District of Indiana Award for my role in convicting an arsonist who had committed church arson through the U.S.
“I am now the director of the Marion Academy in Indianapolis, an alternative school that gives kids who have been expelled or suspended from their homes the opportunity to continue their education. The Marion Academy is one of the first in the country.”
What you like to do in your spare time?
“I’ve been involved in coaching baseball since I left college. When I was Kentucky State Trooper and assigned to the State Police Academy, I coached with the South Lexington Dixie Baseball Club. In Indianapolis I spend my time coaching baseball and mentoring kids. In 1992, I helped start the Indiana Bulls baseball program.”
What is the best part of your work day?
“As director of the Marion Academy, the best part of my day is the time I get to spend with the students society has given up on. I’m able to serve the underserved.”
Who is someone you admire and would like to meet?
“Coach Augie Garrido (University of Texas baseball), Rev. Charles Stanley (pastor of First Baptist Church, Atlanta) and Rev. Billy Graham.”
Who mentored you, and what did you learn?
“When I think of mentors, I have to tell you about my mother, Thelma ‘Nadine’ Carney, who told me at an early age to do my best on the field and you’ll be recognized for your efforts. She taught us that there’s only right and wrong. We were never allowed to use skin color as an excuse. I get my compassion and public service attitude for others from my mom.
“I also think of my dad, Logan Carney Jr. He got up every morning and answered the bell and worked hard to provide for our family.
“My grandfather, Logan Carney, always said, ‘It’s all in your effort. Give all you’ve got and always be proud of your efforts.’ He was the best grandparent anyone could have.
“Coach John Armstrong, when I was 13, provided me with the best baseball instruction a kid could ask for. He taught us all how to be a team and how to prepare to win, on and off the field.
“Coach Keith Madison (former University of Kentucky baseball coach) and Coach Jeff Mercer (hitting instructor) taught me attention to detail, compassion and work ethic.”
Why is Wesleyan still a part of your life?
Wesleyan was my starting point. Wesleyan set the cornerstone of my life. Everywhere I’ve been, where I am today and wherever I may go, Wesleyan goes with me. The College embraced me, and Kentucky Wesleyan will forever be in my heart.
Why do you give to Wesleyan?
“I can never repay Kentucky Wesleyan for all the College has given me. However, I can help Kentucky Wesleyan to give to others the same gifts I received.”
What pro baseball team do you follow?
“I’ve coached so many ball players, that there is no way I could just follow one team. I’ve coached Scott Rolen (1997 MLB Rookie of the year), MLB World Series Champions (Rolen, St. Louis; Todd Dunwoody, Florida Marlins; Lance Lynn, St Louis), ten Mr. Indiana Players of the Year, 47 professional players (18 currently in the MLB), and hundreds of former or current college baseball players. I will definitely follow my friend, Dusty Baker, who is the new manager of the Washington Nationals. I had the opportunity to do a book and video series entitled, “You Can Teach Hitting,” with Dusty and my good friends, Marv Bittinger and Jeff Mercer. I’ve also scouted for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, Tampa Bay Rays and the Toronto Blue Jays.”
Who is a baseball player (living or dead) you would like to have dinner with and why?
“I can’t just give you one name! First of all, I would invite Jackie Robinson (1919 – 1972), and I would ask him how he had the courage to do what he did day-to-day. I would also include Cory Wade, a 2005 Wesleyan graduate (former player for the Yankees and Dodgers) and all the players I’ve coached from an early age – I would ask them to tell me their stories and share their journeys, so I could help prepare those who follow in their footsteps. It would be a big dinner!”