Mense looking toward next career

Hunter Mense is nearing the next phase of his life. (Photo by Matthew Hicks.)
08/15/2012 7:09 PM -

By Ashley Dunkak

Despite the urging of his parents during a difficult junior season of baseball, Hunter Mense did not want to see a sports psychologist. It was just one of those things.

Finally, he agreed. The two-hour conversation they had changed everything.

The sports psychologist with whom Mense talked was Richard McGuire. A professor at the University of Missouri who spent more than 25 years as the track coach there, McGuire is now in charge of the school’s sports psychology program. After visiting with McGuire, Mense played well for the remainder of that season. Perhaps more importantly, after the visit he decided he wanted to get a degree in sports psychology. Appreciative of the time McGuire spent helping him, Mense wants to have a similar impact going forward.

“The number one reason people start playing is because it’s fun, and the number one reason they stop is because it’s not fun anymore,” Mense said, “so you never want to lose sight of that, but sometimes we do. I hate when I see guys struggling through things, and it’s almost like it’s not even fun anymore, and it almost hurts me sometimes to see them like that, so I know as a sports psychologist it’d be beneficial to work with guys and get them back on the right track.”

Though he is still a player at the moment, Mense’s future lies in being a coach. Before the end of the season, he will return to the University of Missouri as a graduate assistant to the baseball team while he works on getting his master’s degree in sports psychology.

Mense’s professional playing career began when the Florida Marlins drafted him from the University of Missouri in 2006. He played in their organization from 2006 to 2010, starting with the low-A team in Jamestown (N.Y.) and working up to the triple-A team in New Orleans. He finished out the 2010 season as a pitcher for the T-Bones. Although he didn’t like pitching, he enjoyed his time with the team.

That positive experience is one reason he decided to come back to Kansas City in 2012. The other reason is his respect for the T-Bones coaching staff.

“I just figure while I’m playing I want to be able to pick their brains as much as possible, try to get as much out of them as possible,” Mense said.

The fact that one of those coaches he is learning from now is eight-time Gold Glove winner from the team that Mense loved as a kid is certainly a bonus. As a Liberty, Mo., native, Mense always cheered for the Kansas City Royals. Even now, in his family’s house there is a picture of Frank White and Mense, taken when the 27-year-old Mense was just a toddler.

After being up close and personal with White on a daily basis, the first baseman’s grown-up impression of the Royals great is no different than the one he had as a kid.

“He’s such a great guy,” Mense said. “He’s so willing to work with you, with whatever you need, and so willing to talk to you. He’s a great presence, and anytime you have a guy with that kind of accolades, it’s important.”

Mense changed his focus from playing to coaching after his first stint with the T-Bones in 2010. He returned to the University of Missouri to finish up his undergraduate degree in communications, and he started thinking about all of the people who helped him along in his baseball career.

“Not only my parents, but other people, so many guys that help you out and try to get you where you want to get to,” Mense said. “I want to give back and help other kids and players trying to reach their goals like I was able to do.”

Search Archive »

Browse by Year »


Browse by Month »

January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007