MEMPHIS, Tenn. — University of Memphis baseball is gearing up for their season opener set just a week away but this season is a bit more special for the team than any other in the last 16.
Memphis baseball is one week away from the season opener against Valparaiso, meanwhile, head coach Daron Schoenrock is one season away from retirement.
“I’ll be 61 years old in November, this, college baseball is somewhat of a young man's job,” said Schoenrock.
Schoenrock said the dugout has been his home for 41 years, coaching 37 seasons at the collegiate level.
But Schoenrock said walking away is hard.
“The awesome thing is that you build a lot of great relationships and by me stepping away from the game now, those relationships don’t go away,” said Schoenrock.
Sophomore infielder Austin Baskin and Schoenrock's relationship started his freshman year in high school and goes beyond the diamond.
“He was more of a life coach to me. He’s helped me through several situations I didn’t think I could get through on my own,” said Baskin.
Alabama transfer and Cordova native Conner Shamblin's relationship with Schoenrock has also been years in the making.
Schoenrock also recruited him out of high school before he chose to give the SEC a try, until...
“We both reconnected like it was new again like it was old times again. It was awesome to come back especially play for my hometown,” said Shamblin.
All of the players used media day to express, in addition to coming off of a losing season only winning 7 of 25 conference games, the incentive to send coach Schoenrock out of a high note is even higher now that they know it’s their last year with him.
“All the guys in the locker room have come together to talk about it we’re going to kind of play for him he’s up here from eight to eight. He’s dragging the field, he’s helping our trainer there isn’t another coach in the country that would do that for us and so I enjoyed my time here and I wouldn’t want to do that anywhere else,” said Taylor Howell.
The Tigers start that mission Friday, February 18 against Valpo at FedEx Park.