When asked about his favourite sandwich, Casey Auerbach was quick to reply.
“An ice cream sandwich,” he said. “It’s a little out there. It’s a little bit different.”
Auerbach’s new position at McGill is also a little bit different. Once the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator for McGill baseball, Auerbach is now the program’s fourth-ever head coach. He assumed the role late this season after then-head coach and current General Manager Jason Starr stepped away on Sept. 12 to spend more time with his family.
“Jason and I have always run the program together, and that’s not going to change,” Auerbach said. “Our roles have just kind of changed a little bit.”
Auerbach’s love of baseball is evident in the way he talks about it; his lifelong passion for the game has led him to this monumental point in his career.
“My dad introduced me to the game when I was a kid,” Auerbach said. “My love for it kind of grew from there. I played a lot of hockey when I was younger, too, and I kind of had to make a decision [about] which sport I was going to pursue. Everyone thinks [that since] you’re in Canada, [you will probably pick hockey], but my first love was always baseball.”
The time he spent exposed to the game in his childhood had a strong influence on his interest in pursuing a career in the sport.
“I grew up around the game [and] would obviously play during the spring, summer, and fall time as a kid growing up,” Auerbach said. “[I] just loved being at the ballpark and loved being around the game.”
His career has taken him around the world. As a ballplayer himself, he played five seasons in a Redmen uniform and also spent summers playing in Switzerland.
“What’s cool is [that] baseball unites people across the globe,” Auerbach said. “I had the opportunity to play and coach overseas in Switzerland for a couple of summers, […] which was an unbelievable opportunity.”
In his time on the field with the Redmen, Auerbach played in the infield and pitched from 2008 to 2012.
“It was great,” Auerbach said. “In terms of, first and foremost, academic fit, extracurricular fit, and then [being] able to play some competitive baseball along the way, [it] was a really good fit for me personally.”
At the conclusion of his playing days, Auerbach knew what his next move would be: Coaching.
“I was always interested in some of the off-field things that take place in preparation for game day,” Auerbach said. “It’s always something that was of interest to me, and [I] wanted to get more involved. It was a natural transition to remain on the [Redmen] staff [after graduating] and keep contributing in that way, as well.”
Since his transition to the coaching staff, he has remained involved in the campus community. Like many McGill coaches, Auerbach balances a growing commitment to his team with a day job. He manages the McGill Welcome Centre, handling undergraduate recruitment and enrollment services. One of his main duties is to oversee the campus tour guide program. Not only does he recruit athletes to the baseball team, he also recruits all kinds of students to the school he loves from nine to five.
Perhaps it’s just as illustrative of his devotion to McGill that it takes only a beat for the Westmount native to name his favourite colour.
“It’s tough to coach the McGill Redmen and not like red,” Auerbach said.