A Spartan Home Run

Castleton University alumnus James Buckley ‘16 has found a home with the Houston Astros.  

After spring training, Buckley was assigned to the Class-A Advanced affiliate of the Houston Astros. Based out of Fayetteville, North Carolina, his daily responsibilities include tracking and monitoring athlete workload, using weight room technology to track athlete resiliency, coaching weight room sessions, and leading on-field stretching. He is also responsible for outfield defense, base running, and coaches first base during games.  

“I started playing baseball when I was four years old. It was, and still is, a sport that I love,” Buckley said. “The opportunity to play in college was another thing that attracted me to Castleton.” 

Buckley transferred to Castleton the spring semester of his freshman year and declared an Exercise Science major with the goal of pursuing a career in strength and conditioning after graduation. He completed internships in strength and conditioning at Castleton, University of New Hampshire, and AB Athletic Development.  

“I knew a career in strength and conditioning was a way to always be involved in sports, especially baseball. I told myself that working specifically in baseball would be a dream, but I knew there might be opportunities elsewhere before I could get into the baseball realm. I find myself very fortunate to work within baseball at such a young age, and in no way did I anticipate it would happen that quickly,” he said.  

He credits Exercise Science Program Coordinator Dr. Justin Carlstrom with giving him the tools and resources to succeed.  

“The way Dr. Carlstrom mapped out and taught the program was what really stuck with me. He presented the material in a way that reassured me it was something I was passionate about,” he said. “He is someone who made my time at Castleton all worth it. I remember he was one of the first people I told I passed my CSCS exam.” 

In this new role, there is no typical day for Buckley. On days the team is home, he can be found at lift groups for a few hours in the afternoon, followed by stretch and warm-up for position players, and practice until the evening for a 7 p.m. game. For away games the day is more spread out, with lift groups in the morning.  

Working for a top-notch organization with a strong understanding of player development has provided Buckley the opportunity to learn something new every day.  

“My experience at Castleton was truly remarkable. I made lifelong friends, learned under phenomenal professors, and was given the best opportunity to succeed after graduation,” he said. “Castleton gave me the foundation to succeed in my field. I was able to understand what kind of coach I am, as well as a philosophy in strength and conditioning that I believe in.”