Despite News Amonite's Commitment Strong

First baseman Karl Amonite talks about the firing of Coach Steve Renfroe and his plans for next season.

Auburn, Ala.–-When Coach Steve Renfroe was relieved of his duties Monday by Auburn University Interim President Dr. Ed Richardson, it put to end a long history with the Tiger baseball program for Renfroe.

On the other end of the spectrum, but also upset about the situation is first baseman Karl Amonite.

An All-SEC selection in 2003 after hitting .330 with 12 home runs and 56 runs batted in, Amonite was looking forward to a strong senior season in 2004 after coming to the Plains from Connors State Junior College. It wasn't to be though as an injury to his arm forced him to redshirt the entire season. Despite playing for just one season under Renfroe, Amonite said he's going to miss his coach and the influence he had on his game and life.

"It's pretty shocking from my end," Amonite said. "I just received the news that Coach Renfroe was fired. I played last year for Coach Renfroe as a junior college transfer and he taught me a lot as far as hitting and being a baseball player. It's pretty shocking to me."

Amonite connects with a pitch as a junior for the Tigers.

In 2003 the Tigers cruised through the season and earned the number four national seed and a host regional site in the NCAA Baseball playoffs, but a loss to Ohio State put an end to the season. This time around the Tigers battled through injuries and played well early, but struggled down the stretch in the league and finished just 12-18 in SEC play. Amonite said that despite the injuries the team was good enough to win. It just didn't happen.

"Me and Tyler Johnstone were injured this year," Amonite said. "I think the team without us was still a great team. Just because me and Tyler Johnstone weren't a part of the team, we were still a part of it just not playing, I don't think that was detrimental to our performance at all."

Auburn now searches for its third coach in just over three months after Coach Cliff Ellis was fired as the men's basketball coach and Coach Joe Ciampi retired as the women's coach. Amonite said that all you can do as a player in this situation is to see what happens and who the new coach is going to be.

"It's a wait-and-see mode," Amonite said. "This is all new to me. It's really, really shocking. You hear rumors floating around, but you never know. Everything that I have to say about Coach Renfroe is positive. This is just shocking, now we'll see what happens."

No matter who the new coach turns out to be, one thing he can count on is having Amonite back next season. Just beginning to throw once again and scheduled to take swings next week, the big senior left-handed hitting first baseman said that he's not waivering at all on his plans to be back in orange-and-blue next season alongside a talented group of teammates.

"I have a commitment to Auburn," Amonite said. "Part of the reason why I did come here was because of Coach Renfroe, but on that national letter of intent I committed to Auburn and I'm committed to Auburn. I'm 100 percent committed to Auburn the whole way.

"Knowing the way they feel is the same way I feel, that makes it easier," Amonite said of his teammates. "I would be coming back regardless though. That just puts my mind at ease knowing they feel the same way I do about Coach Renfroe and the situation. They signed a commitment to Auburn and that commitment to Auburn makes me feel a lot better."


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