CSU club baseball won two games against Missouri Saturday afternoon, but itâ€™s what they lost that had the Ramsâ€™ attention after the games.
The double-header marked the last time head coach Mike Abernathy will coach the Rams, as he and his family started driving to Massachusetts on Sunday.
Abernathy, a cellular molecular biologist, said he made the decision to move because of a better job opportunity made available to him on the east coast.
â€œFrom a career perspective, itâ€™s a good move,â€ Abernathy said. â€œFrom a baseball perspective, itâ€™s a very difficult move. Iâ€™ve given my heart and soul to this program and these kids.â€
In a small gathering after the game, current and former CSU baseball players and coaches, as well as parents of many of those players, showed their appreciation of Abernathy as a coach.
The group took turns showering the coach with compliments, and then presented him with a going-away cake and a plaque commemorating his six-and-a half years as coach and four national championships.
Former Ram Matt Dotterweich, who pitched for the team from 2009-10, showed up in support of Abernathy Saturday even though he said he didnâ€™t get to pitch much during his career.
â€œI didnâ€™t get to see much time,â€ Dotterweich said. â€œI wasnâ€™t one of the star players, but Iâ€™m still here, and I think thatâ€™s what touches me the most is that even for the guys who donâ€™t play all the time, (Abernathy) wasnâ€™t a baseball coach, he was a mentor. He helped every single person on that team, whether you played or didnâ€™t.â€
Matt Reed was promoted from assistant coach to head coach for the remainder of the season, and was effusive in his praise for the coach from whom he learned so much.
â€œThe first time I met him it was like meeting a long-lost brother,â€ Reed said. â€œWe clicked right away, and as far as coaches go, I can easily say heâ€™s had the most impact on me as a coach.â€
Reed, who has been with the team for less than a season, will now try to continue the winning tradition Abernathy has installed at CSU.
â€œI coached in Florida for eight years before (coming) here at a University and (it was) not a winning program,â€ Reed said. â€œComing out here and seeing how a winning program goes about their day-to-day business, which is all a tribute to him, Iâ€™m definitely more prepared now than Iâ€™ve ever been to take over this program.â€
Abernathy will now focus on his career and children in his new location and will give up coaching, at least for now. The former coach said the decision to move was difficult, but that the strength of the coaching staff he has in place at CSU made his decision easier for him to leave.
â€œItâ€™s tough,â€ he said.â€But I know Iâ€™m leaving them in good hands with coach Reed and coach (Nick) Childs, coach (Thomas) Ahrens, so I know theyâ€™ll be fine and the legacy will continue, and I just wish them all the best.â€
Club sports Beat Reporter Andrew Schaller can be reached at email@example.com.
Â· 1992-1996: Played collegiate baseball at Modesto Junior College and University of the Pacific
Â· Won four NCBA championships with the Rams (2006, 2008-10)
Â· Currently is a cellular molecular biologist who is involved with delivering therapeutic drugs to patients