March 28, 2014
The Gopher baseball team opens its 2014 home schedule with weekend against Michigan State. For Kevin Kray, a redshirt senior pitching out of Minnesota's bullpen, the games this weekend are pieces in a puzzle-like - and very full - schedule, one that regularly demands 18-hour-plus days of class, studying, practice, training and work.
The following is an excerpt from a feature piece titled "Renaissance Man" which lays out the many interests and obligations that make up Kray's daily routine and how he manages his time.
Be sure to check out the entire piece, as well as other great articles about outstanding Gopher student-athletes and teams, in the April 2014 issue of Ski-U-Mah, which be available in print at Gopher Athletics venues and online at GopherSports.com next week.
A typical day for Kevin Kray begins at 5:00 a.m.
By 6:30, he has driven across the metro area from his parents' home in Maple Grove, where he's living to save money, to Eastview High School, where he's student teaching. After school, he heads to the U for his own classes, from 4:30-7:30, then rushes to baseball practice, which lasts until 9:00 p.m. He sticks around to lift for half an hour--since his teammates do, he feels obligated to as well--then drives back to Maple Grove for dinner, often his parents' leftovers. Around 10:30 p.m., he begins his homework. Finally, around 1:00 a.m., he collapses into bed.
Until the alarm rings at 5:00 a.m., and he repeats the routine.
That's a day in the life of a varsity pitcher carrying 28 credits to complete his master's degree in education this spring. Remarkably, Kray, playing his final year of eligibility, has a 3.8 GPA and has not allowed a hit in four and a third innings of relief work through the Gophers's first nine games. He exhibits a maturity beyond his 23 years, able to manage his time and maintain a perspective belying his youth.
On a windy February afternoon when he has a rare day off from student teaching, Kevin fills his off time talking to a reporter in the Bierman Field Athletic Building. He's a week or two overdue for a haircut, his blond hair creeping out from under a Bass Pro Shop cap and over his maroon Gophers sweatshirt. He wears his beard scruffy. His eyes under the brim of his cap are clear blue. He reflects upon how unusual it is for him to be where he is.
For starters, he wanted to be a hockey player.
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