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26-year-old says his work ethic got him job as general manager of Kenosha Kingfish

Posted on: April 21, 2014, by

jake mcghee


KENOSHA (Wis.) — A baseball team’s general manager runs the show, but imagine being in charge of a team that’s starting from the ground up! Jake McGhee is doing just that — and he hasn’t yet turned 30!

Jake McGhee is the general manager of the Kenosha Kingfish. The Hartland native is one of the youngest general managers in the Northwoods League — a collegiate summer baseball league.

At just 26 years old, McGhee barely has time to breathe as he works to get the Kingfish ready for their inaugural Opening Day on May 31st.

“My job’s all about fun. It’s a really good feeling every day to get out of my car and walk into a baseball stadium and go to work,” McGhee said.

His job may be a blast, but it’s also a grind.

“There’s a lot of pressure obviously. We’re starting a baseball team from the ground up. I’m putting everything I have into making this team a success. We work long hours. It can be a lot sometimes, but you know that you’re a part of something that’s going to take off and be really cool,” McGhee said.

You may be wondering how a 26-year-old holds such a high position. McGhee graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2010. A few months later, he caught his first break.

“The Mallards posted a job. Our ownership group has a team in Madison — the Madison Mallards — to be the seasonal operations manager. I applied for the job and was offered it. I was the guy that was painting the bathrooms, cleaning out the dugouts, putting in my time,” McGhee said.

That time paid off — but it wasn’t just doing the jobs that got McGhee noticed. It was his work ethic.

“I did that with a positive attitude and it turned into a really cool management job during the season. I got to oversee probably about 70 part-time game-day staff. That was really fun for me. Put in my time for a couple years and they offered me a job,” McGhee said.

You know the saying “It’s not about what you know, but who you know,” and that couldn’t be more true for McGhee. The owners of the Mallards also own the Kingfish. They were so impressed with McGhee’s work that they offered him the vacant general manager job.

“I definitely try to come to work with a positive attitude, treat my staff and treat people I work with the right way. I think things usually work out for you in that regard,” McGhee said.

Having their support made this big transition easy.

“It’s a challenging role for someone who’s 26. It’s a lot to take on. There’s a lot of big decisions, but I’m not alone. I’ve got a lot of support and I have a pretty good staff of people working for me — people that I feel would go to war for me because they know how much I care about it. I do that for them. They do that for me. It’s a pretty tight-knit community,” McGhee said.

McGhee knew the right people and put in his time, but he’s also a very intelligent man. He has two degrees from the University of Wisconsin — one in Spanish and one in finance.

The Kingfish aren’t the only collegiate summer baseball team in the Milwaukee area. The Lakeshore Chinooks have been playing in Mequon since 2012.