VIDEO: Kevin Deaton Two Sport Prep All-American
By SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME // April 24, 2014
SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME
ABOVE VIDEO: Kevin Deaton was a star athlete at Merritt Island High School, the only two-time, two-sport – football and baseball – All-American in the history of the school’s athletics. As a hitter, he holds the career home run record and, as a pitcher, the career wins record at Merritt Island.
KEVIN DEATON – 2014 INDUCTEE
• Most HRs, Wins In MI History
• All-State Football, Baseball Player
• Drafted By New York Mets
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Kevin Deaton, who has known both success and homelessness, is a firm believer in the power of self.
“All things are possible to those that believe in themselves,” said Deaton, who founded KLD Youth Foundation, a Brevard nonprofit that educates and empowers at-risk young people.
A Florida native, Deaton was born in Vero Beach but raised in Merritt Island, where he was a star athlete at Merritt Island High School, the only two-time, two-sport – football and baseball – All-American in the history of the school’s athletics.
As a hitter, he holds the career home run record and, as a pitcher, the career wins record at Merritt Island.
Deaton started playing baseball almost as soon as he could walk.
“I think I was two years old when I first started playing baseball,” said Deaton.
Deaton’s interest in football thrived with the Pop Warner League.
“When I was eight, I was already playing with the 13-year-olds, because I was never a small dude,” he said.
Sports provided him with the stability he needed through some rough patches in his life.
“I had a tough childhood, but the people who helped me saw the value of athletics for me,” said Deaton.
At the time Deaton graduated from high school in the spring of 2000, he had the enviable choice of opting for a full scholarship to play football for the University of Florida or a contract to play baseball with the New York Mets.
Baseball won over football and Deaton spent the next six years playing in the Mets organization, followed by a year with the Oakland Athletics.
COACH, MENTOR TO YOUTH
At six feet, five inches, Deaton was a formidable presence on the mound.
Despite his imposing size, he was more of a control pitcher than a power pitcher, mixing pitches and switching speeds to keep opponents guessing what he would be up to next.
Arm troubles popped up, however, as did back problems consisting of a strained lumbar and two herniated disks, and Deaton eventually left baseball and came home to raise a family.
Actually, he left professional baseball, but he is still very much in the game as head baseball coach at Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy in Melbourne. With five children, he almost has a baseball team of his own at his Satellite Beach home.
The brood, which ranges in age from 11 to three, are sports fans in their own way, except for baby, who at three is too young – yet – to decide on a sport. Softball, gymnastics and horseback riding keep his three older girls busy, and Deaton’s five-year-old son is already a bat boy at Holy Trinity.
In 2002, Deaton was just 20 years old when, his wife and his foster mother formed the nonprofit KLD Youth Foundation in Merritt Island with the vision to equip, enhance and empower youngsters, one life at a time.
When Deaton was just eight years old, he was already drifting from one home to the next, unsupervised and unnoticed.
It wasn’t until he met his foster family at 15 that he realized just how much he craved stability in his life and how close he had been to falling between the cracks. Deaton vowed to help others just as he had been helped.
“There’s a large group of kids like me, who need a hand up not a handout,” he said.
THE 2014 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME Banquet and Induction Ceremony will take place at the Cocoa Beach Country Club on Friday, May 9 with a cocktail reception at 6 p.m. – and dinner and ceremony at 7 p.m.
FOR INFORMATION & TICKETS to the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame Induction dinner call 321-615-8111 or e-mail MaverickMultimedia@gmail.com