HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – On Monday, the Gulf South Conference released a statement officially canceling all spring competition, officially ending the season for UAH Baseball and other Charger athletics.
Hunter Royer is the winningest coach in UAH Baseball history, and his team was riding a 10-game winning streak before the 2019-2020 campaign was cut short. We sat down with him hours before the conference made its decision to talk about what this group meant to him.
Rocco DiSangro: When the season was suspended indefinitely, not canceled, how did you bring yourself to tell your players that, and how heartbreaking was that news?
Hunter Royer: Well it was really tough. We were following stuff throughout the morning and we saw what the SEC did and probably knew at that point that something was going to happen really soon. Just called for a team meeting that night 6 o clock and you know really kind of thought to myself you know it’s really not going to hit these guys yet. As I got started talking and looking at faces around the room it hit pretty quick.
RD: The NCAA had come out and said they’re going to give these NCAA Division II Spring Athletes another year of eligibility. For these guys some of them may have jobs lined up like we said.
HR: We’d like to have all of them back obviously we were off to a really good start, but more than that this group just really had team chemistry. I know a couple of them have already gotten jobs since this all went down.
RD: What made this group so special and what was the bond like in the locker room between these guys?
HR: I kind of had the feeling in the fall this team had a chance to be special. Now whether special means championship or not I don’t know that doesn’t always play out but these guys genuinely care about each other, they cared about their teammate doing well and putting their teammate before them and that’s not easy to come by.
RD: What would your message be to your players because they are still your players these guys this is still a group whether you’re together or not.
HR: Right now they got a lot of free time and hopefully time at home, stay home don’t get around big crowds and take care of theirselves and their families. That’s the most important thing right now.
If you know a student-athlete or coach whose season was cut short due to the COVID-19 outbreak, you can email Rocco DiSangro or Olivia Whitmire firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.