Meet SeaWolves strength coach Donny Trapp. What is the Gannon grad’s role with the team?

Detroit Free Press

After the 2022 baseball season, Donny Trapp made the difficult decision to walk away from professional baseball.

With three young daughters, it was time to stop taking care of athletes and focus on his family.

Professional baseball, however, wasn’t done with Trapp.

One month after making his decision, a job opened up in the Detroit Tigers organization. It was too good to pass up for Trapp. He could resume his career as a strength and conditioning coach and move to Erie, less than two hours away from home.

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“I was with the St. Louis Cardinals (organization) for five years, and I have three daughters. The oldest one is starting kindergarten in the fall, so I hung up pro ball,” said Trapp, a native of Mars, north of Pittsburgh. “I’m a family guy first and even though I love baseball and being around these guys, I had to step away. One month later, however, this job opportunity came around and I jumped on it.”

Trapp, along with his wife Abby and daughters Lennon, Marley and Ellie (Elliott), moved to the area in March so he could resume his career as a strength and conditioning coach with the SeaWolves.

“It’s great to be in Erie and be with my family,” Trapp said. “We just bought a house near Chautauqua Lake and just to be near home is amazing. When I went to Gannon I got to learn (about) Erie and my wife grew up in the area, and I enjoyed going to Presque Isle all the time. We jumped around the past few years, but Erie feels like home and we’re excited to be here.”

Growing up in baseball

Trapp was a standout on the Mars baseball team and was named to the all-section team as a senior. Gannon became the perfect spot for him as he entered the physician assistant program and had a chance to play on the baseball team.

“I played baseball for a few years and I ended up switching my major to sport and exercise science. My wife is still a PA (physician assistant) and that’s how I met her,” Trapp said.

Trapp graduated from Gannon in 2013 and spent plenty of time at UPMC Park during his four years in Erie.

“I for sure remember Buck Nights because they were huge,” Trapp said with a smile. “You can’t beat the atmosphere in this ballpark. It’s great. I grew up loving baseball and any chance I had, I’d come watch a game here. We also had chances to come as a team when I played baseball for Gannon, which was great.”

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Trapp then earned a Master of Science degree in exercise science and health promotion from California University of Pennsylvania and started bouncing around to different jobs. He spent almost two years teaching and coaching baseball in Arizona and six months as the assistant strength and conditioning coach at Shippensburg in 2017.

Trapp started his career in professional baseball in December of 2017 as the strength and conditioning coach for the State College Spikes while completing a strength and conditioning coaching assistantship through Eastern Michigan University.

He spent three years with the Spikes, who were the short-season A affiliate of the Cardinals at the time. After one year with the Rookie-level Cardinals in Florida, he was the strength and conditioning coach with the Double-A Springfield Cardinals in 2022.

What are the duties of a strength and conditioning coach?

“Basically, look at me as a workload management coach,” Trapp said. “It’s all about maintaining a certain workload and ramping up the work during the season. Most of spring training is about ramping up the players’ training and after midseason, start tapering them down toward the end.

“The big goal is to keep everyone fresh for a big playoff run like Erie had last year.”

Trapp is one of the first to arrive each day at the clubhouse. He has to prepare drills for the day and be around for any athletes needing weight training. He is out on the field with the team before batting practice going through different drills to get the players warmed up and in shape.

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For Trapp, the experience is different with the Tigers.

“It’s amazing to see the young guys interact with the older guys during spring training,” Trapp said. “Detroit has one big weight room in Florida so the big-league guys and the minor-league guys and staffs all interact the whole time. It’s a great thing for the younger guys to see the older guys work and their work ethic, and it’s great for the older guys to be pushed by the younger guys as well. There was more separation with the Cardinals.”

With his family just a quick trip down I-79, Trapp is enjoying a dream job of working with the SeaWolves every day.

“I’m excited to be with the Tigers,” Trapp said. “I’ll ride this out for as long as they want me.”

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Contact Tom Reisenweber at treisenweber@timesnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ETNreisenweber.

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