Losing is never fun or easy and it often brings out the worst in people, but an NCAA baseball coach is getting attention for all the right reasons even though his team fell short of reaching the College World Series.
On Sunday, the Sam Houston State Bearkats were eliminated from the NCAA Super Regionals after a painful 19-0 loss to Florida State. Instead of using his post game press conference to speak about how his team fell short on the field, Sam Houston coach Matt Deggs offered a poignant reflection on the importance of teamwork, that ability to overcome obstacles, and the power of love.
Matt Deggs closed tonight's press conference with some strong words about this year's team and what this opportunity has meant to him pic.twitter.com/Gp2EDbE3Pe
— BearkatSportsNetwork (@BearkatVid) June 12, 2017
Deggs has been head coach of Sam Houston baseball since 2015, but he previously worked his way up the ranks at several other schools. In the press conference, he references his firing from Texas A&M as a fall from grace that ultimately changed his perspective as a coach and, more importantly, as a man.
“For years I was a transactional coach—‘what can I get,’” he admitted. “When you get fired, it humbles you. I spent 430 days outside the game, andGod has brought me full circle and changed my life. I was dead and He saved me.”
He now considers himself a “transformational coach” with an obligation to shape his players into respectable young men.
“It’s not about wins or losses. It’s about love. It’s about building men and building relationships that will last forever,” Deggs explained. “It’s not ‘Mission Omaha.’ It’s ‘Mission Build and Save Lives,’ and that’s what we’re in the business of doing.”
In regards to his team, Deggs described the 2017 Bearkats as the “most unselfish, selfless group of men” he has ever been around. He revealed his players persevered through serious injuries and sacrificed their own at-bats and moments in the spotlight for the good of their teammates. Ultimately, he believes his team has displayed a kind of camaraderie that is sorely lacking in today’s “microwave society” that is based on entitlement and greed.
“This is what I wish our country would get back to,” the coach concluded. “There is no greater honor than to sacrifice for a brother, and that encapsulates and embodies this team to a tee. That’s why they’re so lovable.”
(h/t Yahoo Sports)