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.
March 28, 2006
Everyone Wants to be the Man at the Top
A nice little song
about the dreams and aspirations of people in all walks of life, this
Springsteen work aptly describes the current standings of the Atlantic Sun
Four teams - North Florida, East Tennessee, Mercer and Gardner-Webb - are all
tied for first place. Conspicuous by their absence are the two pre-season
favorites - Stetson and Florida Atlantic. In truth, if the season ended today,
Pete Dunn and I would be arm wrestling to determine a tiebreaker for the last
slot in the conference tournament, and that opportunity exists only because UNF
and Kennesaw aren’t eligible due to their reclassification from D-II.
FAU is currently treading water at 13-14, 3-6 in conference play. There are some
obvious reasons that have contributed to our lack of success, none of which
makes anyone here feel any better. We are what we are, and right now, that’s a
team struggling to find some consistency and stay above water long enough to get
This past weekend was another that showed signs of promise and reasons for
Friday night featured a pitchers’ duel as Mickey Storey and Jeremy Papelbon
hooked up in a strikeout contest that was decided by a passed ball and a wild
pitch in the ninth. Papelbon had a no-hitter into the eighth, and his brother,
Josh relieved in the ninth to stifle a rally and steal a 1-0 win from his
Saturday, we got an 11-strikeout performance from Chris Salberg and perfect
relief pitching from Chris Eberhart and Mike Crotta to go along with some timely
hitting to win the middle game 6-3. A nice Italian dinner and a good movie had
everyone ready for a good day on Sunday.
However, UNF had other ideas.
I really liked the matchup of Brandon Cooney against their hitters, but my
scouting ability was proven lacking, as the Ospreys came out smoking and
exploded for six runs in the first inning. The rest of the day didn’t get much
better for us, as we got smacked around and lost 13-3.
It was a quiet bus ride back to Boca.
Before showering, I shared my thoughts with our guys. Obviously our goals for
this season have to be readjusted. Our job now is to get better each week in all
phases of the game. Our mental preparation and execution needs to be at its
best, while some young players acquire some tough, on-the-job training, and we
await the return of a couple of injured starters.
What I’m asking these guys is not easy, but what choice do we have? It’s time to
learn from each struggle, and push each other to a little higher level of play.
That’s the only way to start back to the top.
A Great Day for the Irish (3/22/06)
Renewing a Friendly Rivalry (3/17/06)
A Few Good Men (3/14/06)
Songs about Texas (3/7/06)
Regression, Depression, Confession (2/27/06)
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)