Photo Credit: News & Observer
To be a Power 5 coach, regardless of sport, there is an understanding of added pressure and scrutiny. Not sure there is a more “for or against” coach right now at State, than Elliott Avent. I’ll preface by saying, I’ve always been a fan of his, but at some point you wonder if we’re all just settling for the familiar.
Big Wins, Bigger Losses
This week, Avent hit the 900 win milestone, something that has only been done by the rare few. In fact, if you include his time at New Mexico State, he ranks in the top-7 all-time in DI baseball wins for coaches currently at the helm. Here’s the problem, even though he’s had double digit 40+ win seasons over his near 25 year career, State has never won an ACC tournament, let alone finished first in the ACC regular season standings.
Winning it all is a tough task. Mike Martin, former FSU coach, broke just about every record possible during his 40 year tenure. Two dozen 50+ win seasons, 17 ACC championships (Regular and Tournament), handfuls of MLB draftees, but not a single National Championship. But at least he, more often than not, brought home hardware.
Not to say we shouldn’t hope for National Championships and College World Series bids, but we gotta at least get over this conference championship drought first.
Any Forward Momentum?
Baseball is such a long season. Every year has bad streaks and good runs. Look at State’s 2013 College World Series season. There was at one point they went 1-5 in a week, while starting that same month of March with a 24-12 loss TO ELON (good God). Out of the last 17 full seasons, State has made the NCAA’s 15 times, and were in contention last year, as they started 14-3.
But every season, at least in the last five full, feels identical. Finish top-3 in the Atlantic, get into the NCAA Regionals, find a way to be bounced early. The TCU 8-run meltdown in 2015. The dreadful losses to Army and Campbell in following years. The latter two seasons, knocked out immediately in the ACCT.
At what point is getting to postseason play not enough? Should we be happy to be in contention or realize our ceiling is NCAA Regionals? Does the State program just not have the ability, regardless of coach, to be a big-time baseball school?
The Love of Avent
I’ll say this with all my heart; Avent is Mr. Wolfpack. Every coach at State loves their job (I think, haha), but Avent LOVES his job and this institution. While others get fired up about their players, it seems Avent might take off his shirt one day and have every player’s name tattooed on his back under a hugging Mr. and Mrs. Wuf.
One of my favorite moments each year, is the introductory media press conference. His eyes are always bright, smile is always big, he can’t wait to coach these young men.
Maybe in the near future, State looks in another direction for a head coach of State baseball, but no one will love their job more than Avent.
I meant to write something here that was poetic…but in short…State needs to find their groove and salvage what they can from this year. When they’re on, they’re on. When they aren’t, it’s a long, long day/weekend at the ballpark.
Regardless of what happens, not sure the results from this season will keep Avent away from being head ball coach next year. The COVID situation seems to be giving a whole lotta folks passes, and it seems no different at State.
But, if 2022 ends up falling apart for one reason or another, it might be a sad day for the Avent faithful, myself included.