Kevin Cooney is in his 18th season as head coach at Florida Atlantic
University of the Atlantic Sun Conference and 22nd overall. A former pitching
star at Montclair State, Cooney has led FAU to an average of 46 wins per season
the past six years. He as guided the Blue Wave to a 273-106 record and five NCAA
Regionals in the past six years. This is the second year he has offered his thoughts on
baseball - and other things - for CollegeBaseballInsider.com.
Oct. 21, 2004
Fall is in the Air
It’s that time of year, when people are out picking pumpkins and drinking
apple cider, and the air gets that chilly feel again. Skeletons and ghosts are
all over the neighborhood, as the country gets ready for Coach McCormack’s
favorite holiday (dark chocolate is healthy!).
I know it’s fall because I see people in Boston and New York bundled up at
playoff games. My son Luke asked why the pitchers were blowing on their hands.
He’s never had to grip a baseball in 48-degree weather.
The Yankees-Red Sox series is again going down to the wire. It seems like
yesterday I was watching Game 7 in the hospital with my Mom last year. How does
time manage to go by like a Mariano Rivera fastball when you get older?
The fall is a time that the NCAA, in its omnipotence, has mandated that teams
be limited to the amount of time they can practice together with their coaches.
We are stuck with a limitation of two hours per week requested by the player to
work with a coach. Brilliant idea isn’t it? I'll bet they are all in the library
the rest of the week.
This actually makes things harder on coaches and prevents the players from
being exposed to the full coaching staff and the other players. It creates a
fragmentation of the team that I have always felt was counterproductive. It has
always been my philosophy that the more my players can be around the coaches,
the better. The best work done by a college student is when he or she is in a
structured environment. This is another example of the NCAA throwing the baby
out with the bathwater.
Our guys are looking good despite the format.
Our pitchers really seem top have taken to coach Tony Fossas. His 10 years in
the minor leagues and 11 in the Bigs, give him an outstanding level of
credibility. Tony has a great way about him, and the kids seem to be responding.
I’m spending most of my time dealing with our campaign for a new stadium.
Things are progressing, and I feel real encouraged with the help being provided
me by the University.
A couple of weeks ago, I took a little road trip with my two youngest kids,
Maggie (6) and Luke (almost 5). They had been bugging me for the past two years
to see Bruce Springsteen when he comes to Florida. They actually thought they
would get to meet him because they think their Dad is big time.
When I saw the Vote For Change Tour announced, I got three tickets for the
Orlando concert. I really thought I was giving my wife a break by leaving her
home, only to learn she is a big fan of R.E.M., who was also on the bill.
We took off after school on Friday and headed up the turnpike. My plan was
for them to sleep most of the way up so everyone would be wide awake for the
show. That was my plan.
As we headed north, I got the feeling that the state flag of Florida should
be changed to a blue tarp! I never saw so many houses with those bright blue
tarps covering roof damage from the hurricanes that pummeled this part of
Florida. The landscape along the turnpike has changed. It looks like the
countryside was sprayed with a chemical defoliant. We have the same problem
behind our center field fence. Leaves have been stripped from trees that
normally give a real autumnal look.
The first singer at the concert was Tracy Chapman. Our seats were slightly
behind the stage, but the sound was great. Both kids wanted to know “his” name.
The second set was my first exposure to R.E.M. live, and they were great.
Well...Michael Stipe was great. He seemed to be a combination of Steve Martin in
his white suit and histrionics, as he bounced around the stage, arms flailing,
and Jim Carrey in The Mask. But his voice is electric and he brought great
energy and passion to their songs.
Luke fell asleep during R.E.M.’s set, but Stipe made an impression on him.
Maggie stayed awake and helped me get Luke up and moving before Bruce and The E
Street Band came out.
Springsteen started off with an acoustic instrumental version of the National
Anthem. Luke recognized it and put his hand over his heart. The main song he
wanted to hear was “Born In The USA,” which fortunately was next. Luke loved
seeing it and hearing it at a decibel level heretofore unknown.
It was the last song he heard.
Maggie made it through the whole night with only a short one song doze. She
got a kick out of guest John Fogerty singing “Centerfield.” She likes it because
they say “Coach.” They also sang “Fortunate Son,” which seemed appropriate in
this particular election.
I did have to hold Maggie all night, but we danced together until the old man
was too tired, and she sat in my lap for the rest. I really think she had a
The kids didn’t really think of the concert as anything but a musical event,
but it was more than that.
As a child of the Sixties, I must admit that I am happy to see that various
artists on both sides of the political fence are out there trying to support the
policies they would like to see in government. Fans of Springsteen who disagree
with his politics will still love his music. Toby Keith is selling out all his
shows. But I see nothing wrong with artists speaking out.
Art or music is supposed to be about making people feel something. If not the
artist hasn’t reached the audience.
Springsteen’s music has helped me feel things about life for more than 30
was nice sharing it with two more Cooney children.
Hurricane Carmen (9/24/04)
(photo courtesy of FAU Media Relations Office)