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.
Feb. 21, 2005
So You Wanted to Coach
Those were my words to pitching coach Tony Fossas last night [Friday] in our
locker room. We had just fallen short in another eight-inning comeback, as TCU
held on to beat us 11-10.
After a 20-year professional career as a pitcher, Tony is now faced with
living and dying with the performance of his players.
For those who have never coached, trust me, it is a tough adjustment.
I think that most coaches were competitive players to an extreme degree.
There is hardly any other reason for choosing a career in coaching. You have to
thrive on that rush you get from trying your best to beat someone else, knowing
full well, the ache you’ll feel when you fail.
When I got into coaching, it was real difficult to lose. I had been fortunate
to have always played on winning teams throughout my entire career. As a
pitcher, the wins and losses were always very personal.
When my first few years as a head coach resulted in losing records, I was a
basket case. As I moaned and groaned about it to my wife, she replied, “Maybe
you’re not as good as you think you are.”
Despite her vote of confidence, I hung in there for another 27 years.
But I know it was tough for Tony last night.
He is as good as he thinks he is.
Brian Lipman had another big night with our first home run of the season and
a big RBI double in the eighth to pull us within one.
TCU gave the guys above and below Lip fits all night. I just hope tonight is
a different story.
Mike, Mickey, and Mikey
Mike Crotta had his best night in a FAU uniform tonight. Heck, it may have
been his best night in any uniform. Big Mike struck out 10 and gave up only five
hits in six innings against a team that was crushing balls last night. One big
difference was Mike’s ability to keep the ball down all night. I really wanted
to send him out for the seventh, but we had a 2-1 lead and Mickey and Mikey in
Mickey Storey pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth. He again had
outstanding stuff. My plan was to let him finish the game, but Coach Roig and
Coach Fossas were smart enough to know we could use Mickey and McBryde tomorrow
if Mike threw the ninth.
Hey, that’s why we pay the assistants!
Mike McBryde came in for the close and was dominant.
Tony Fossas felt a lot better in the locker room tonight.
Let’s keep that feeling tomorrow.
TCU 7 FAU 3…Nobody likes to lose two out of three, especially at home,
especially to a ranked team that has been on everyone’s radar as a top team for
this season. But TCU jumped out early with three runs that we couldn’t answer
until the fifth. By then, they were up 4-0. We cut it to two but they kept
coming at us.
Some good things to see were the home runs by McKenna and Hafer.
Mike hit a pinch hit bomb into the wind in left. It was his first college
at-bat and I told him just to try and backside the lefty. Like most freshmen, he
didn’t listen, but no wind could have stopped that ball.
Jordan launched a moon shot that landed in the tennis courts in right field.
We’ve been waiting for that type of power from the big guy. He’s been a
consistent hitter so far, but up to now hadn’t really crushed anything.
This was a real talented bunch of Texans, most of whom we’ll see again next
year when we return the trip. They have a slew of freshmen and sophomores, but,
hey, we’re young too.
Speaking about being young, or in my case, old, my son Luke had his first
T-ball game yesterday. Other than a couple of grandfathers, I was the oldest guy
Baseball is a different game when your stomach isn’t tied in knots, when you
know you’ll still sleep that night and when every game ends in a tie. In a way,
I envy those kids and their parents. I never seem to be able to look at games
with that innocent detachment.
Balls were being dribbled in the infield, and every kid was chasing each
ball. The concept of playing one’s position is lost on these boys and girls.
That is except for Luke Cooney, who was in shy mode. He never budged from his
spot, just on the outskirts of the scrum. He finally had one ball hit directly
to him. He scooped it up and looked for someone covering a base, but they were
all running towards him. One time the batter chased down his own hit!
Luke’s shyness extended to offense.
The son of a college coach who had been swinging at our practices all last
year, didn’t want to bat.
I should remind him he’s adopted. He’s been spared the Cooney hitting genes.
But, hey he looked great in his Cardinals uniform.
Mickey was the Story (2/15/05)
The Rocket's Red Glare (2/11/05)
It's a Dog's Life (2/3/05)
'You've Got to Learn to Live with What You Can't Rise Above' (1/31/05)
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)