Postseason Chat with Mike Fox

In the final weekly interview for the 2009 season, Inside Carolina caught up with head coach Mike Fox on Monday ...

Your Tar Heels finished the 2009 season with a 48-18 record and played in a fourth straight College World Series. Can you reflect on the accomplishments of this team and the senior class?
"I think our team accomplished a great deal. Looking back on it, not too many programs or a group of young men can state that they have participated in the College World Series four years in a row. It was a tremendous accomplishment by our team to get back to Omaha. They were a terrific group - great leaders for our program - they set the tone for us this year from day one. It was very, very obvious with Mike McKee, Adam Warren and Garrett Gore I had three very special seniors. They should be recognized as the class that went to Omaha for four years and won more games, I think, than any collegiate program in history - maybe the ACC, I am not sure of the title, but it speaks directly to them."

Can you discuss the pitching performances by Alex White and Adam Warren in Omaha?
"They were very good for us. It was what we expected - what we got of them for most of the year. They pitched exceptionally well out there and gave our team a chance to win, which is all you can ask of your starting pitcher."

In light of the body of work by Brian Moran during the season, can you discuss his performance in Omaha?
"People are going to say that saw that one pitch … it is a shame that our fans would bash these kids for a home run on two pitches. Brian Moran is a special, special story in our program; a walk-on that earned a spot on our team three years ago in the fall. He and his family paid his own way here for a number of semesters and he continued to work and made himself into probably one of the best pitchers in the country and one of the best in our league and a high draft pick. We would not have been in Omaha without Brian Moran. It's baseball, it can be very cruel to you at times - we talk about that all the time. Brian will recover, he will be fine. There is no one even close to our program that assigns blame to anyone. It happens in baseball, it is part of the game. I would bring Brian Moran in the same situation every time because he is the guy for us that has gotten outs there for us not just last year but inning by inning all year long. All people have to do is look to see what happened to our team when Brian was out with arm issues for a couple of weeks and you can see how vital he was for our team."

What plans do you and the coaching staff have for the summer ?
"Recruiting. Recruiting is an everyday, 365 day-a-year job. We got back Friday and started recruiting Friday night with phone calls and one of my coaches was on the road on Saturday and both of them were on the road on Sunday. So, it is back at it. You don't have time to breathe after the season because here comes the next one. Our recruiting calendars are slammed all the way from when we get back from the Area Code Games in the middle of August. We have a number of camps going on here as well - there is a lot going on in the summer."

How has recruiting changed in college baseball since you started coaching?
"Well, it would probably take a whole book to do that [laughs]. It has changed in a number of ways. Certainly the rules - the numbers we are under, and competing with Major League Baseball, to the young players committing so early. It is not even close to what it was when I arrived here. It is a challenge. It is a never ending process, you have to work under the rules we are under and certainly UNC plays a part in that with our admission standards. Recruiting is the most important part of our program. It is just a challenge, that is a best way to put it. It is a good challenge, but we have to deal with a lot but again it is the most important part of what we do. It is the most time consuming; it is what we spend the majority of our time doing actually."

What work remains with the Boshamer renovation project for this offseason - what can fans expect to see next season?
"We have a lot of work to do on the inside, especially getting our Hall of Honor up and going. We have a number of things to do along the concourse - banners and pictures. We have a list here about three pages long. Some of it maintenance-type and some of it is just cosmetic, some pieces of furniture we need to add just trying to dress it up a little bit. The stadium is a still a work in progress and probably will be for a couple of years. It will take us probably that long to get it exactly the way we want it - we actually are working on that this morning."

Talk with UNC baseball fans on Inside Carolina's Diamond Heels Message Board
Looking at the 2009 MLB Draft earlier this month, a number of talented North Carolina signees went undrafted. What is your outlook for the incoming class?
"We did have some that did go undrafted, which is good for us since they will enroll this fall. Of the ones that did we will just have to monitor that as the summer goes along. A lot of these pro teams, especially with the high picks, there is not a lot of movement early. The movement as far as communication is done late, closer to the August 17 deadline. We will just have to wait and see. We have been in communication with a number of those young men and they are continuing to come to orientation. We may not know for sure until August 17 just like in past years."

There will be a lot of activity in the Bosh this summer, with showcases, tournaments. How does the staff and program benefit from now being able to have these back on campus?
"We started our Little League camp this morning, we are already into that. It is going to be nice to have some events here this summer. We have our own UNC Team Camp and then some other camps and some other events as well which that not only allows us to see more young men and show them our facility, but that also allows for us to have two coaches to be on the road during that time -- which is still the rule. When we have events going on here we may have a coach or two at another event somewhere else. We are looking forward to these events here this summer and showcasing our facility and our campus."


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