Thursday, 20 January 2011 18:07

Interview with Cumberland Coach Woody Hunt

Woody Hunt is getting ready for is 30th season as Head Coach of the NAIA Defending Champion Cumberland Bulldogs.

Bob Broughton, courtesyrunner.com: First, congratulations on being named NAIA Coach of the Year. The Bulldogs were also named Amateur Team of the Year by the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Is Cumberland starting to get a higher profile in Middle Tennessee?

Woody Hunt: Well, this year has done a lot for that. We’ve been successful in the past, but this year has really been over the top. We’ve had a lot of publicity and a lot of awards and this year has really given us more of a profile in the Middle Tennessee area, which is difficult with two professional sports teams as well as all of the colleges and universities in the area.

BB: Most of the people who will read this have never been to Lebanon. What do you tell potential recruits about Lebanon and the Cumberland campus? And about Cumberland's academic offerings?

WH: I tell prospective student-athletes that we are a Liberal Arts university and you have some choices with regards to your major. We sell the Nashville area as much as we do Lebanon because we are so close. Nashville is a great city and Middle Tennessee is a great area. You get the laid-back atmosphere of a small town with Lebanon but also the big city with Nashville. With regards to our campus, it’s a small college campus with a lot of attention. I tell them that it’s not for everybody. If you like a small university with personal attention and a good baseball program, then this is the place for you.

I also sell our facilities, which are very good. That goes a long way in our recruiting process. The internet has done a lot for that because prospective student-athletes can go online and look at the pictures of our facilities – the field and grandstand and press box as well as the locker room and indoor hitting facility that we have. That’s been a huge asset for us in recruiting.

Two Southern California colleges with strong baseball programs will be in NCAA Division II for the 2012 season, and three more will be applying for membership in Division II on June 1.

Cal Baptist has been upgrading their athletic program for the past few years, and they remodeled their ballpark in 2007. They recently won their first Golden State Athletic Conference since 2006, and made their first trip to the Baseball National Championship since 1997. Cal Baptist supports 16 varsity sports. They have been accepted for membership in the Pacific West Conference, and will be competing in PacWest in 2012.

Cal State San Marcos is headed for the more prestigious California Collegiate Athletic Conference. This is an obvious move; most of the members of this conference have names that start with “Cal State.” CSUSM recently added men's and women's basketball to bring the number of varsity sports to 13. While CSUSM was moving in the direction of Division II anyway, their lack of a conference affiliation (membership in the GSAC is restricted to Christian colleges) was a drawback for their NAIA membership.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010 15:35

2011 Coaches' preseason poll

The 2011 NAIA Coaches' pre-season top 25:

RANK

LAST YEAR

SCHOOL

2010 RECORD

TOTAL POINTS

1

2

Cumberland (TN)

58-9

556

2

4

Lee University (TN)

52-13

526

3

3

Cal Baptist

49-15

511

4

1

Lewis-Clark State (ID)

48-5

498

5

5

Lubbock Christian (TX)

46-16

492

6

8

Embry-Riddle (FL)

47-19

465

7

6

Oklahoma City

50-16

464

8

17

Point Loma Nazarene (CA)

41-20-1

431

9

13

Southern Polytechnic (GA)

49-13

400

10

7

British Columbia

41-13

377

11

10

Madonna (MI)

48-11

365

12

14

Belhaven (MS)

44-17

353

13

9

LSU Shreveport

48-13

340

14

24

Tennessee Wesleyan

46-18

325

15

11

Fresno Pacific (CA)

36-17

288

16

18

Union U. (TN)

42-17

267

17

21

Campbellsville (KY)

42-22

246

18

20

South Carolina-Beaufort

38-13

228

19

19

York (NB)

45-9

221

20

16

Faulkner (AL)

39-21

212

21

15

C. of Idaho

38-16

158

22

RV

William Jewell (MO)

41-15

141

23

NR

Taylor (IN)

38-17

131

24

22

Brewton-Parker (GA)

40-18

130

25

25

Rio Grande (OH)

48-13

116

First place votes: Cumberland 16, Cal Baptist 2, Lee 1, Lewis-Clark State 1

This poll represents an annual mistake by the NAIA; they take this poll much too early. With many of the top NAIA teams heavily dependent on transfers, is isn't reasonable to expect accurate predictions when the coaches don't know who they are going to have in school for the spring semester. However, this poll is out there, and is open for comments.

Sunday, 07 November 2010 20:02

2011 Preseason All-America Team

The 2011 NAIA Baseball Preseason All-America team, as selected by the NAIA All-America Selection Committee:

Name

School

Sharif Othman

California Baptist

Brian Sharp

California Baptist

Taylor Siemens

California Baptist

Aaron Wilkerson

Cumberland (TN)

Kevin Park

Dickinson State (ND)

Phillip Reamy

Embry-Riddle (FL)

Justin Medeiros

Indiana Tech

Andrew Broulliette

LSU-Shreveport

Kevin Smith

LSU-Shreveport

Jason Trivett

Milligan (TN)

George Ban

Missouri Valley

Anthony Lopez

Oklahoma Baptist

Chad Carman

Oklahoma City

Danny Gesick

Shawnee State (OH)

Phillip Butler

Shawnee State (OH)

Corey Schultz

St. Francis (IL)

Kevin Hennessey

Wayland Baptist (TX)

Cal Baptist has three players on the list.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010 18:41

Two NAIA alumni in World Series

Two players for the San Francisco Giants had stellar careers at NAIA schools.

Giants starting LHP Jonathan Sánchez was drafted out of Ohio Dominican (now in Division II) in 2004. His major league career started with the Giants in 2006. He started 33 games in 2010, has a record of 13-9, 3.07 ERA, 205 strikeouts. He has had three post-season starts so far, with a loss and two no-decisions.

He played four seasons, 2001-2004, at Ohio Dominican. He pitched four no-hitters for the Panthers, and holds several school records, including most strikeouts in a game (16), career strikeouts (311), and career shutouts (10). He made three trips with the Panthers to the NAIA Baseball National Championship. He took a loss in the 2002 tournament. In 2003, he got a win against Olivet Nazarene, went 8 1/3 innings, allowed two earned runs, struck out nine.

Freddy Sánchez is the starting 2B for the Giants. He was drafted in 2000 out of Oklahoma City by the Red Sox, played for the Red Sox in 2002 and 2003, the Pirates 2004 through part of 2009, and the Giants 2009-present. He batted .292 in 2010, including 22 doubles, and is batting .268 so far in the post-season. He won the NL batting championship in 2006, with a .344 average.

Sanchez was an NAIA All-American at shortstop for the Stars in 2000; he hit .434 that year. He was the first player coached by Denny Crabaugh to make it to the Major Leagues. OCU Assistant Coach Keith Lytle taught him how to hit to the opposite field.

Sunday, 03 October 2010 17:28

Book review: Strike IX, by Paul Lonardo

Strike IX, by Paul Lonardo, InfinityPublishing.com, 2009

This book tells the story of the Providence Friars' final season of baseball in 1999; the program was discontinued primarily because of Title IX.

If you have some sort of connection to Providence College, your reaction to this book will probably be, “this would have been a really great book if the words 'historic season' appeared just one more time.” (The author, Paul Lonardo, went to U. Of Rhode Island.)

During this final season, the Friars had a regular-season record of 43-13, and had a 15-game winning streak. They won the Big East tournament, and made it to the final of the NCAA regional tournament. Five players from this team were drafted. One of them, RF Keith Reed, made it to the major leagues with the Orioles. Three others, SS Jaime Athas, C Dan Conway, and 1B Mike O'Keefe, made it as high as AAA.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010 09:55

Duane Monlux is new Bellevue coach

Duane Monlux, Head Coach at Dickinson State for the past nine season, is the new Head Coach at Bellevue.

Monlux had a record of 232-167-2 at Dickinson State, and the Blue Hawks won three regular season and three tournament championships in the Dakota Athletic Conference. They finished 30-19 in 2010.

Monlux earned a BS at Dickinson State, and played football, baseball, and basketball there. He was a two-time All-American in football; in 1995, he led the nation in kickoff return average (33.7 yards per return). He ranks second in Dickinson State football history for touchdowns scored in a career (43) and points scored in a career (262). After graduation, he played indoor football for four seasons. He was also an assistant football coach at Dickinson State.

Monday, 13 September 2010 12:26

Followup on the 2010 MLB draft

Here is how the NAIA players taken in the 2010 MLB draft did this summer.

Joseph Staley - C, Lubbock Christian, 8th round, Giants - Played 33 games for the AZL Giants, batted .250, five home runs, 25 RBI. He will be spending the Fall in the Instructional League in Scottsdale, AZ.

Kawicka Emsley-Pai - C, Lewis-Clark State, 10th round, Diamondbacks - Played 42 games with the Yakima Bears of the short-season Class A Northwest League, batted .167.

Tyler Knigge - RHP, Lewis-Clark State, 12th round, Phillies - Pitched 30 1/3 innings for the GCL Phillies (ten appearances, four starts), had a record of 0-3, 5.04 ERA, 27 strikeouts. One of his teammates with the Phillies was Pat Murray (1B, Lewis-Clark State, 34th round, Phillies). Murray played 52 games, batted .313, with two home runs, 26 RBI.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010 14:10

New bat restrictions for the 2011 season

The NAIA is following the NCAA's lead in requiring that only bats conforming to the "Coefficient of Restitution” standard will be legal for use, starting with the 2011 season.

Coefficient of Restitution bats are less lively than existing aluminum bats, and are intended to produce the same batted-ball speed as a wooden bat.

Now, what does this mean?

First, any aluminum bats you now have in your closet are illegal. You may as well ship them off to a baseball-playing Third World country such as Cuba, Nicaragua, or Guatemala.

Cumberland University, in Lebanon, TN, won the 54th NAIA National Championship.

Results from day five of the NAIA Baseball National Championship in Lewiston, ID:

Cumberland 13, Point Loma Nazarene 7
Lee 10, Embry-Riddle 7
Cumberland 4, Lee 3

Cumberland 13, Point Loma Nazarene 7 (Point Loma Nazarene eliminated)

The Bulldogs hit four home runs, including a grand slam by 3B Matt Greener, to move to the championship game of this tournament.

The Bulldogs will play Lee for the championship.

Greener and RF Kris Miller entered this game with 26 home runs apiece, tied with Richard Bohlken of Lubbock Christian for the NAIA lead. Greener and Miller are now tied for the lead with 27 home runs.

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