Shortened Season Provides Trial Run for New USUE Baseball Coach

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USU Eastern Press Release

With the 2020 spring baseball season cut short due to COVID-19, the Utah State University Eastern baseball team was on the way to what could have been an excellent year. In fact, head coach Kirk Haney believes that what happened during the shortened season was excellent in itself and hopes to build on the foundation set in his first year at the helm as Skipper of the Eagles baseball team.

We had a chance to catch up with Coach Haney, following appropriate social distancing protocols of course, to ask him a few questions about the shortened season and the upcoming 2020 fall and 2021 spring seasons.

What were some of your goals as a team this year? What were some of your goals as a coach this year?

Our team goals this season were to contend for the top seed in conference as well as showing that we can compete at the highest level. As a coach in my first season, I had the goal to come in strong from the beginning. I had personal goals to finish the season over .500 (winning percentage).

What were some of the high points of the season?

Some major highlights of this season was the way this team overcame obstacles; we had many major injuries, new coaching staff and a season ending due to COVID-19. Our hitting was a strength with our team; we averaged over eight runs per game in our 20-game season. The team was really catching stride and showing that we were going to be right in the mix of our conference.

What did you learn as a coach this year… both good and bad?

I learned that, as a coach, the results on the field are important, but not nearly as important as the compliments off the field. Winning is fun, but some of the favorite moments I had this season coaching were the ones that took place off the field, hearing strangers who we had just met talk about the how respectful our team was or just even sitting back and seeing our players help someone in need even when they didn’t think they were being watched.

Some road trips just don’t go as planned. We had a great trip this year that most of our players will remember forever from sicknesses to sketchy hotels to maxing out the occupancy of minibuses. The bad is only the bad if you make it bad. That trip became something that brought everyone together.

What is the outlook on the fall of 2020?

We are still very actively working with our players to see what their plans are for next season. With the season ending so abruptly, many players have had some big decisions to make with the NJCAA allowing sophomores to come back. We will have a very strong group of players coming back with many three-year sophomores as of now and are looking to fill in some of the gaps we had this season and come back strong. We have said this season was a trial run for us to see where we stand.

Give us your thoughts on the 2020 spring season.

This was a great season. The team played well in every aspect and was constantly getting better. We finished the season with an 11-9 record, reaching our goal of staying above .500. We scored 167 runs in 20 games with multiple double-digit games recorded. Our players were very bought into our program and had the will to win. This group was special and built a strong name for themselves and this program for future years to come.

Will there be any summer camps this year?

Summer camps will be announced when restrictions are taken off.

Stay tuned for information about summer camps, the 2020 fall season and any other USU E baseball news online and via Twitter @USUEbaseball. Don’t worry folks, baseball will be back soon. Until then, dream of the smell of freshly mowed grass, perfectly painted foul lines and the crack of the bat at Colosimo Carlson Field.

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