View Full Version : How Did UNC Get To Be So Good in Baseball ?

NYC Duke Fan
06-20-2007, 06:15 AM
As far as I can remember the ACC baseball powerhouses were Miami, Georgia Tech, Florida State and Clemson. When did UNC become such a national baseball powerhouse ?

06-20-2007, 07:58 AM
Someone else here may help me with this but the Carolina's are a rich baseball area. My home area of Wilmington has seen some fine players including the latest, Trot Nixon. UNC has always had a decent (upper tier of the ACC as I recall) baseball team. East Carolina, UNC-W, USC, Clemson, College of Charleston, and even Wofford (in SC) maintain a high level of success on the diamond. There are good players in the area and there are some true struggles in recruiting....

06-20-2007, 08:32 AM
Mike Roberts (father of Orioles star Brian Roberts) was fired and replaced with Mike Fox, a 1978 Carolina alum who had won a Division 3 national championships at North Carolina Wesleyan.

Basically Fox has done a much better job of recruiting blue chip players from North Carolina, a state rich in baseball talent.

If you can stand it, here is a recent News and Observer article about Fox and his efforts. I'll spare you the other N&O article about Fox's connections to the basketball program and Dean Smith from Fox's days as a JV basketball player.


As a UNC fan I couldn't be more delighted. Roberts was a problem for a long time and for all the grief Dick Baddour gets, he was the one who made the change and it has paid off. UNC is also about to launch an eight figure renovation of Boshamer Stadium which should make it one of the best facilities in the country.

06-20-2007, 10:44 AM
Looks like the Heels' higher profile is expanding their natural recruiting base nationwide. I read an article recently saying this is an unusually good year for high school pitchers. Three of the top seven or so had signed with UNC, at least two of them from out of state, one of them from Seton Hall Prep in N.J., USA Today's top-ranked HS team. Of course, now Fox has to sweat whether they will sign pro contracts, and he may have to start dealing with a problem in allocating scholarships that schools such as Arizona State have faced for years.

It's an appealing program he's put together in Chapel Hill. The new stadium looks fantastic. And it certainly doesn't hurt having 'Ol Roy very visibly in attendance at Omaha and in the regionals. If I were a high school baseball player right now to whom all options were open, I'd have to look real carefully at the Heels.

06-20-2007, 10:59 AM
Carolina does have some baseball tradition, going back to Bunn Hearn and Walter Rabb. Mike Roberts was a solid baseball man but his personality--to put it charitably--took some getting used to. He scorched some folks.

Fox is just a darn good coach. Hired good assistants, solid recruiter, his players love playing for him. Plus UNC is putting some bucks into the program, witness the upcoming Boshamer makeover.

Anybody watch the UNC-Rice game the other day? Late in the game, with the outcome decided, Fox starts pinch-hitting his end-of-the-bench players. Somedays these guys can tell their children and grandchildren that they played in a CWS game. At the risk of incurring the wrath of the GTHC folks, I thought that was a classy thing to do.

Speaking of the CWS. The fact that one of the last four teams standing didn't even have a baseball program a few years ago says something about the possibilities of building a program in a short period of time. I know, the academics are different, they can recruit locally in an area chocked full of prospects, etc. etc. But put some resources into the Duke program and give McNally a chance. It can be done.

06-20-2007, 11:26 AM
Plus, if Rice can field a quality baseball team, Duke ought to be able to do so.

06-20-2007, 12:41 PM
Plus, if Rice can field a quality baseball team, Duke ought to be able to do so.

Rice made the decision to allow coach to recruit junior college players--the vast number of players on Rice's roster when they started to play big time baseball were JC players, and they still take a lot of JC transfers. If the university hadn't allowed that policy shift, the turnaround would have never taken place.

I'm not sure that Duke is ready to take such an action.

06-20-2007, 01:54 PM
Rice does have six juco players on the roster this year, five of them from San Jacinto where Wayne Graham had been a legendary juco coach. That is the turf he was familiar with. Rice passed Graham over several times before finally hiring him, so taking the jucos may reflect an accommodation to him rather than some dramatic shift in admissions policy.

More apt comparisons might be Stanford, Tulane and Notre Dame, all a little down this year but top-25 caliber programs year in and year out. None relies to any great extent on juco transfers.

A note on Mike Roberts: He had always had a reputation as the most obnoxious player in the ACC, from the time he was a freshman catcher at Carolina in '69, so I was a bit surprised to find him to be a very nice chap when I had a long chat with him at a high school baseball tournament. The guy was in love with his job, so I was disappointed when he lost it, though obviously it was the right move.

Roberts told me something very interesting that I hadn't known -- that Tom Butters was a wealthy man before he ever became Duke AD. Apparently, Duke had a percentage commission deal with Butters when he worked as a fundraiser, and he reaped a substantial harvest because he was so successful. I've heard Butters given some credit for revolutionizing college fundraising. He was, I always thought, the world's greatest salesman.

06-20-2007, 06:09 PM
It's not just Rice. Vanderbilt was the number one seed going into the tourney. Tulane has a good program. The ACC is a good baseball conference but so is the SEC,

06-22-2007, 12:17 PM
As far as I can remember the ACC baseball powerhouses were Miami, Georgia Tech, Florida State and Clemson. When did UNC become such a national baseball powerhouse ?

Their souls were sold to Satan ions ago.

06-26-2007, 01:43 PM
Not good enough to win the CWS. Those Beavers are a tough nut to crack.