Mears, 36, joins the softball program heading into one of its most anticipated seasons in recent history. Cumberland will return three highly touted members in Katryna Arbelo, Megan Culley, and Breanna Suppi, who all received Conference player of the week honors during the 2018 season. Arbelo received the award twice with Suppi garnering 2nd team All-Region honors. "Having skilled returning players will help me out tremendously," Mears said. "They will have valuable experience and having strong knowledge of what to expect in 2019 will be extremely helpful to me." In addition to that trio, the Dukes also return solid performers in Siani Gomez and Tyra Capers.
Magic Mears is a unique name, but that is not the only reason the Cumberland community recognizes the name. Mears is a 2001 graduate of Vineland High School and was a star on the baseball diamond for the Fighting Clan. In one of the most competitive eras in South Jersey high school baseball, Mears was a level above the competition as he was the area leader in home runs with 8, knocked in 26 RBIs, and hit an impressive .318. He also did the job on the mound with a 6-1 record and a 1.50 ERA, one of the lowest in the area. Mears was named the 2001 Press of Atlantic City Baseball Player of the Year for his impressive year. When Mears reflected on his time at Vineland High School, he praised his coaches and mentors for their unconditional support. "I had a great experience and it was a special time in my life. I give a lot of credit to my coaches for their encouragement and guidance."
He would go on to receive a scholarship to attend NJCAA Division 1 Louisburg College in North Carolina, but he would finish his career as an All-Region performer at Camden County College. Mears's talent would not go unnnoticed as he would sign to play professionally and have a strong career in the CanAm League with the Sussex Skyhawks and the Atlantic City Surf. His final stop in professional baseball would be with the Chico Outlaws of the California-based Golden Baseball League. "It was the best time of my life," Mears said on his professional baseball career. "I would not have changed one thing about it." After retiring from baseball, Magic's competitive nature could not keep him from athletics as he ventured into unchartered territory. He would begin training to compete in Mixed Martial Arts in 2012 and participated in amateur bouts that same year. Mears would move to the professional ranks and would tally his first professional victory in 2015 and would retire in 2018 as he began to coach on the travel softball circuit for the South Jersey Mayhem.
Magic's career and experiences will serve the Softball program well as it begins to rise in hopes to be a perennial contender. His excitement on getting started could not be contained."I truly believe my experience will help me in this new position," Mears said. "Personally reaching the next level will assist me in helping the student-athletes on their path because I've been through what they are about to embark on. It's an exciting time, but it's also an anxious time. I'll be sure to encourage them when needed and guide them through the tough situations."
On the hire of Magic Mears, CCC Director of Student Life & Athletics, Keith Gorman, shares his thoughts: "Our softball program is on a upward trend and we are excited to have Magic on board to continue that trend. After reaching the 2015 Women's College World Series, our program has been hungry to make a return trip ever since and we believe Magic can lead us there. Not only was he an accomplished athlete and a successful coach on the travel circuit, but most importantly, he is a good citizen and a role model for our student-athletes. His energy and work ethic will be tremendous assets for our Softball program and the Athletic Department."
In addition to coaching for the South Jersey Mayhem, Magic is heavily involved with the Vineland Pigtail League, serving as Vice President of the league. He is also the owner of B.A.M Softball Summer Camps in Vineland, which serves the ages between elementary school all the way up to high school. Magic also holds strength and conditioning training sessions for all athletes and participates in the Vineland 5K Running Series that takes place in South Vineland Park.
Magic currently works for the Salem County Special Services office and lives in Vineland. He has two daughters.
Cumberland Dukes Softball is set to begin their season on March 11,2019 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Their full schedule will be released later this fall.