Interview: Who’s on First? The Answer is Nate Mulberg

Who’s on first? An age old comedic question. For Team Israel there is an answer; Nate Mulberg. Throughout Team Israel’s Olympic pursuit I have been hearing about Mulberg (the shorter man in the picture). He is one of the men behind the scenes, helping the ballplayers be at their best and have a chance at competing on the world stage. Meet Nate Mulberg.
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1) Tell TGR readers about yourself.
My name Is Nate Mulberg and I am a 27-year-old who grew up in Cherry Hill, New Jersey in the suburbs of Philadelphia. I currently live in Richmond, Virginia where I work as an Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator at the University of Richmond. As a kid, baseball and basketball were my favorite sports but I was also a competitive cross country runner at Cherry Hill High School East until I decided to focus on baseball halfway through high school. In South Jersey, a lot of great players have come out of the area. I was fortunate to play at the same high school and for the same high school coach as the legendary pitcher Orel Hershisher. I also played against Mike Trout several times and will never forget the state playoffs in 2008 when we intentionally walked him three times, including once with the bases loaded. He was just as amazing in high school as he is now.
Excelling in school was always a priority in my family. I am the son of two Columbia University graduates and my sister Rebecca will also graduate from Columbia in December. I graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY. I also completed a Master of Education from Millersville University in 2016.
2) You had a solid college career. Was pro-ball on your radar or was it always coaching?
After high school, I went to the University of Rochester, a Division III school in Rochester, NY, where I studied English and Business. I was a 4-year-starter at shortstop and am ranked amongst the leaders in a few statistical categories in the single-season and career record books. My dream growing up was to play Division I baseball and get drafted. Neither of those dreams materialized but because I loved baseball so much, I wanted to keep playing after high school. I loved my experience at the University of Rochester and playing for Coach Reina. He is one of my greatest mentors to this day.
I dealt with a few significant injuries in college, and I was ready to be done playing after my college career concluded, but with baseball being such an important part of my life, I wanted to stay in the game. I was fortunate to have played for and with several coaches in college who are now doing extremely well in the baseball industry, and those guys helped guide me into the coaching industry. Guys who I crossed paths with at the University of Rochester who are now working in baseball front offices or as coaches include Coach Reina, Brian Stark (Harvard), Ed Kahovec (Holy Cross), Blayne Fuke (Vassar), Josh Schulman (Yale), Tyler DeClerck (NY Yankees), Ethan Sander (NY Yankees) and Steve Pollakov (Houston Astros).
3) You dabbled in sports broadcasting. Was that something you thought about doing long term?
When I was teenager, my mom gave me the Philadelphia Inquirer Sports Section to read every morning and I developed a passion for sports writing/broadcasting. I was the Sports Editor of my high school newspaper Eastside, and when I went to college, I got really involved with the student radio station. I was the play-by-play broadcaster for all of Rochester’s varsity sports contests and loved it. Throughout college I also interned for sports companies like the Buffalo Bills, Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia and the Rochester Red Wings (Triple-A team for the Minnesota Twins).
For a while, I thought I was going to pursue a career in sports broadcasting/ communication, but towards the end of college, I realized I wanted to have a greater impact on peoples’ lives on a daily basis. I considered becoming a college professor or maybe a high school teacher, but the more I thought about it, I decided coaching baseball was what I wanted to do because I felt like it gave me more of an opportunity to help others learn and grow in life. In school, teachers only get to spend a 45-minute block with students, but as a college baseball coach, we get to spend several hours a day with our players. 
 
4) Seems like you have had a journey to Richmond. What is your end goals in the sports world?
My end goal in the sports world is to be a Division I Head Coach at the highest level of NCAA Baseball. Growing up, my dream was always to play Division I baseball. When I got into coaching, I knew I wanted to eventually achieve that dream as a coach since I didn’t get to play Division I. After college, I spent two-years in Lancaster, PA as the top assistant coach at Franklin & Marshall College, a Division III school. Our head coach at F&M, Ryan Horning, helped me learn the intricacies of the coaching profession. I owe him a lot for entrusting me with a ton of responsibility as a 22-year-old in my first job.
From F&M, I moved on to Bucknell University, a Division I school in Lewisburg, PA before getting to Richmond in 2017.
When I was a teenager, one of my best friends, Richard Stefanacci, lost his battle with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a form of bone cancer, as a 14-year-old. Going through Richard’s battle with him, I learned at a young age about life and the importance of helping others in need. One of my biggest life missions is raising money and awareness for pediatric cancer patients through Go4theGoal Foundation, a non-profit made in Richard’s memory.
With that being said, my ultimate objective in the sports world is to positively impact as many people as I possibly can. I feel like the more I progress in the baseball industry and the larger platform I have, the more of an opportunity I’ll have to help others.
5) What is your role at Richmond? What do you consider your expertise?
Currently, my job at Richmond is Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator. The bulk of my time is spent traveling around the country to find the most talented, academically qualified players to recruit to Richmond, a Division I school in the Atlantic 10 Conference. This year alone, I have spent time watching high school players all over the United States in over 20 states. During my three years at Richmond, I have had various other responsibilities as well, including hitting coach and camp director, but I consider my expertise to be working with our infielders and connecting with players/recruits.
 
6)  You have joined Team Israel’s coaching staff. What is your role and how has the experience been?
I am an Assistant Coach for Team Israel and my main responsibilities include coaching first base, throwing batting practice, and helping the coaching/administrative staff in any way they need.
For me, it is difficult to be into words how the experience has been. When head coach Eric Holtz called me to invite me to be part of his coaching staff, I was very emotional because Israel and Judaism is and always has been an extremely significant part of my life. The experience has been better than I imagined it would be and the main reason why is because of all the people who make up Israel baseball. The staff and players are a special group of people.
Prior to the European Championships, I only knew two people: Eric and pitcher Jon de Marte, who I coached at Richmond in 2017. Just a couple days into the European Championships, I felt like I had formed such tight-knit, special connections with each person that typically take years to form. To me, that speaks to the power Israel has in bringing people together. I have been so impressed by the quality of players and more importantly people who are associated with Team Israel.
 
7) What was your Jewish life like growing up? How are you connected today?
I had what I would call an extremely rich Jewish upbringing that has made me who I am today. 
Growing up, my family was part of a conservative synagogue where we would attend high-holiday and Shabbat services. I went to Hebrew School three-days-a-week and spent many summers at Jewish summer camps. My family was also active members of the Cherry Hill Jewish Community Center where I played in all of their sports leagues.
I also played baseball in the JCC Maccabi Games three times and was on the 2009 Maccabiah USA Baseball Team. Atlanta Braves pitcher Max Fried was on that team. When I was in high school, I had a special dinner with my dad, my friend Richard who had cancer, and the legendary Jewish Baseball Player Ron Blomberg prior to his book talk at the JCC. Getting to meet Ron in high school was something I’ll never forget.
Today, I am connected in several ways. I went to Israel on Birthright last December and am an active member of the Jewish Community in Richmond, Virginia, participating in various Jewish events that the Jewish Federation of Richmond organizes regularly. 
 
8) Where can fans find you on social media?
My twitter account is @nmulb and my instagram account is @nmulberg.
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