is in his 19th season as head coach at Florida Atlantic University, where
he has compiled a record of 650-403-4. Overall, he has a record of 790-453-9 - a
.631 winning percentage - in 22 years. FAU has reached the NCAA regionals seven
times under Cooney, including each of the past four seasons. This is the third year
Cooney has offered his
thoughts on baseball - and other things - for CollegeBaseballInsider.com.
Feb. 27, 2006
Regression, Depression, Confession
The last thing you want to see your team do after a good weekend is regress.
After two weeks of inconsistent play to open our season, we played well last
week against Louisville and anxiously awaited this weekend’s games against
Connecticut. I felt if we played well against the Huskies, our club would be on
the right track for our first road trips to TCU and conference foe Mercer.
Instead, our bats went silent as we lost two out of three, scoring two runs on
fifteen hits in 27 sorry innings of baseball. Our one win was Mickey Storey’s
1-0, Saturday afternoon performance. Mickey struck out eight and pitched out of
several tough jams over eight innings. Mike McBryde came on and notched his
second save with a scoreless ninth.
That game was played as the first half of a doubleheader after a torrential rain
in Boca Raton on Friday prevented anything beyond a full team sliding practice
from being held.
In the second game, Chris Salberg pitched well enough to win, but we failed to
muster much offense. We actually out hit the Huskies 5-3, but our defense
regressed and committed three costly errors. In the ninth we had a chance after
loading the bases with two outs, but David Erickson got a groundout for the
We had to move the Sunday game to 10 a.m. because of the impending weather
forecast, and still needed to endure a tarp pull and rain delay. Down 1-0 when
the rain came in the third, we had a runner on second and two outs. I was hoping
the delay would adversely affect the UConn pitcher, but he came right back, and
with one pitch, ended our threat.
That was as close as we would get to being in the game. It was our pitcher who
seemed to be affected by the wait, as the Huskies put up a four-spot in the
fourth off starter Joel Schmall. A solo home run by Justin Martin prevented us
from being shut out in consecutive games. I suppose that is some sort of Pyrrhic
The kids from Connecticut played well and got their season off to a great start.
Former FAU player Evan Brannon’s brother Dale had a two-run triple and played
real well for the Huskies. It was nice to see his Mom and Dad again, though they
looked strange sitting on the visitors’ side.
So how bad a weekend was it?
In the second game, I inserted Mike McBryde as a pinch hitter in the eighth,
only to watch in horror as he fell face forward into first as he tried to beat
out a chopper to short. Mike had been cleared to pitch last week, and was given
the green light for full activity against Connecticut. I had hoped to give him
an extra weekend, but he said he felt great and was ready.
The sick feeling in my stomach as I watched him go to the ground was a mixture
of frustration, anger and guilt. This kid has so much going for him, and we
depend so much upon him, that it’s tough on several levels to see him dealing
with this hamstring problem. The good news is that he went down as a sort of
preventive measure. Mike said he felt “something” and dove so he wouldn’t pull
the muscle. Just what did he feel, and when will it stop? A MRI tomorrow may
provide more insight, but Mike didn’t seem to be hurting as much on Sunday.
The hamstring situation is becoming the storyline of the ’06 season.
Today, we got word that Robbie Widlansky’s hamstring is torn. The full extent of
the tear and its ramifications will be known later this week, but I’m afraid
things don’t look good. Woody was second or third in most offensive categories
last year and was a solid starter. His loss to this point has been tough on us,
and now we’ll have to deal with it longer than anyone cares to face.
Depression is something real and should not be trivialized. I don’t mean to do
that here, but it’s hard to find another word to describe my state of mind after
these three games.
There’s a numbness that comes over every fiber of my being, as the reality of
our play sets in. I went home Sunday and just sat around the house in a
detached, lost state of mind. Two little kids had their father present in body,
but his mind and spirit were elsewhere.
Last Monday, it felt so much better to come to the office. For the first time
since the season started, I didn’t feel like a piece of garbage. That nice
feeling lasted through a good week of practice and preparation for Connecticut -
heck, they hadn’t even put on spikes yet; we should be ok.
Instead of a nice feeling of self worth, I’m back to wondering if my friends
with real jobs go through this. I had lunch with a banker and lawyer today. How
do they feel when they lose a case, or a big account falls through? Is it as
personal for them? I wish I had asked.
I can’t get past the feeling that I was an absolute failure this week, and my
world is closing in on me. There is nothing to hope for, except more of the same
misery. Nothing seems darker to me than the days ahead. Is this normal, or do I
need help? Of course, I expect our players to bounce back faster; the healing
process is better when you are younger.
My Zoloft won’t come until next Friday’s game at TCU. I hope I get the right
They say confession is good for the soul. I have always believed that to be
true, and have tried to instill in my children and players the value in telling
the truth, no matter what they did.
But when you are a 7-year-old girl - what is there to confess?
My daughter received the sacrament of Reconciliation Saturday morning. In the
old days, Catholics called it the sacrament of Penance. We would go to
confession and tell the priests our sins; he would assign a penance, and we
believe, in God’s name, forgive our sins.
It’s a basic tenet of the Catholic religion, and I think it illustrates a
As a father, I want my children to know that I love them enough to forgive
anything, as long as they are truly sorry and committed to trying to change
their ways. It’s comforting to me that God’s Son told us the same thing. We all
have hope that we can be better.
But when you’re 7, you sometimes need to think hard about what sins you need to
confess. For me it was easy, because my penchant for foul language had developed
by age six. I guess Maggie told Father Timothy that she was mean to her brother,
or maybe had lied to her Mom and Dad? Who knows?
Sitting there in church, watching her wait her turn to sit next to a priest and
ask forgiveness, made me hope that she would continue to do this later in life,
and that all her sins will be this minor.
Cardinals, Owls and Captain Albano (2/20/06)
The Salukis and No. 98 (2/13/06)
The Adkins Diet and a Sunday Split (2/7/06)
Here we go again (2/2/06)
Holy Innocents (12/28/05)
When You're Alone (10/11/05)
Another Beginning, a New Beginning, Never Forgetting (9/12/05)
Deja vu all over again (9/1/05)
(photo courtesy of FAU Media Relations Office)