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




Jan. 31, 2005

'You've got to learn to live with what you can't rise above'


The song “Tunnel of Love” from the Springsteen album of the same name is chock full of poignant metaphors and great lines like the one above. Much of the song deals with a new marriage but focuses also on the rest of one’s life. Things don’t always work out the way we plan. Everyone imagines their life following a particular track, only to see it veer off unexpectedly.


Mine first did that in the spring of 1974.


The sore shoulder that plagued me throughout the previous season was part of the baggage I brought to spring training that year. Two visits to the Twins’ doctor in Orlando and two cortisone shots later, I was still aching. There wasn’t much need for a sore-armed right-hander, so suddenly my career was over.


I was out of baseball, trying to figure out the rest of my life: a life that had been built upon the dream of baseball.


In my prayers, I had always promised to use my status of a major league baseball player to help kids. For some reason, God had other plans for me. But at that time, I turned from him, and I turned from baseball. It took a full year before I let either back into my life.


I had “to learn to live with” the turn my life’s plan had taken. Sometimes the life we end up living is far better than the life we imagined for ourselves.


We’ve got two players who face that same challenge today.


David Hayes is a junior who came to us after a great high school career. He had been drafted as a pitcher, but David is also an exceptional student, so he chose college baseball as the route to the rest of his life.


After a strong showing in the fall, David was slotted to be our fourth starter as a freshman. But a sore elbow at the end of the fall led to Tommy John surgery and a medical redshirt. Near the end of last season, David made two appearances and looked sharp. He pitched this summer and had regained all his velocity.


This fall, David was one of our best. At least until he felt some pain in his shoulder.


The diagnosis is a torn labrum. The reality is a torn dream.


Anthony Albano transferred here last year and had a pretty good junior season in the outfield. He’s one of those guys whose size and tools draw the immediate attention of scouts. He also drew the attention of a bunch of women tennis players during breakfast on a road trip, but that’s another story.


A good senior season, and Anthony was a good bet to be drafted and start his pro career, his life’s dream.


Another sore shoulder this fall, and another torn labrum.


So, like David Hayes, Anthony Albano sees his life take a different turn. He faces the decision to play with it and hope he hits well enough for some organization to sign him and bring him to spring training after his surgery, or redshirt, have the operation and try to play next year. Anthony is scheduled to graduate this summer, so he would have to play as a graduate student.


It isn’t easy sitting here and watching players get this kind of news. You can see the pain in their faces as they realize that the season or the life they expected is suddenly changed.


They aren’t ready to hear from me that worse news is being delivered to other people every day.


This isn’t the time for that sort of insight. All they know is how they feel.


And I know how they feel.




Previous Entries

25 Years of FAU Baseball (1/16/05)

So this is Christmas (12/24/04)

The Graduate (12/8/04)

Thanksgiving in Palm Beach County (11/25/04)

An Empty Seat (11/10/04)

Fall is in the Air (10/21/04)

Hurricane Carmen (9/24/04)


(photo courtesy of FAU Media Relations Office)