Kevin Cooney

Kevin Cooney has spent 20 seasons as head coach at Florida Atlantic University. He has compiled more than 700 victories with the Owls and more than 850 wins in his 24-year career as a head coach. Cooney has spent the past five seasons offering his thoughts on baseball - and other things - for Cooney's Owls finished their first season in the Sun Belt Conference at 36-22 in 2007.




March 14, 2008

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men


People like to think that our lives need a plan. We shouldn't just bounce around from day to day without a general idea of what we hope to accomplish, and a proper plan to help us succeed. My life experience has shown me not only the wisdom of such a philosophy, but the importance of having a "Plan B".


Our plan last weekend was to fly out to Little Rock and start the Sun Belt Conference schedule against a struggling UALR team and perhaps snag a road series sweep. Then the big storm swept through and we wound up frolicking in the snow and only managing to play one game.


Back in sunny Florida, we boarded a bus for a Tuesday game against USF. Our plan for this one was to throw two starters three innings each in order to prepare for this weekend's series against Louisiana-Lafayette.


But once again, I heard the faint sound of laughter from above, as our starter couldn't get though three innings and we faced an early deficit. I was forced to throw Morrison longer than planned in relief, compromising his rest for this weekend. Our hitters battled back but we fell short, losing 7-6.


Prior to Wednesday's game against Monmouth University, Coach Fossas and I spent time formulating two plans.


We have some young pitchers who haven't pitched enough at this point, so we were looking for an early lead and planning the order in which we would use the kids, mixed in with our regular bullpen guys who needed work for the weekend. Our next plan would cover the possibility of a close game.


Since our starter didn't get past the first inning without five runs scoring, we were suddenly faced with "Plan C". That's the one we hadn't yet formulated.


As the night unfolded, FAU and Monmouth would combine to send a total of 13 pitchers to the mound in a battle that would last over four hours. It wasn't all pretty to be sure, though we managed to hit five home runs – slightly more than one per hour.


We came to bat, tied 11-11, in the ninth.


As the PA blared Leap of Faith ("It takes a leap of faith; you gotta show some guts.") I started formulating the last plan of the evening.


Alex Silversmith was the leadoff hitter, followed by Troy Bubley. Bubs was giving shortstop Nick Arata a much-needed night off, and had played a great game. But I grabbed Nick and told him to stretch and be ready to hit for Troy. If Sil reached base I wanted our best bunter up there to sacrifice him into scoring position.


Arata said he wouldn't be needed 'cause Sil was going yard.


Nick had his own plan.


The first pitch Silversmith saw, he blasted over the left field fence for a walk-off home run, making Arata the best planner that night.


Tonight we face the team picked to repeat as Sun Belt Conference champions. ULL is off to a slow start but they have great pitching, and that tends to negate good hitting. We'll need to be better than we have to date.


But don't worry.


We've got a plan.




"Leap of Faith" from Bruce Springsteen's Lucky Town