By: Caroline Cole
Head Baseball Coach Rodney Bennett has had a long list of accomplishments during his 16 years at FCC. As a coach, he has eclipsed 600 wins, won multiple championships and Coach of the Year awards, and has led FCC to the NJCAA Division II World Series three times.
More rewarding than wins or championships is the opportunity to watch his players grow as athletes and people during their time at FCC and have the chance to excel at the next academic and athletic level.
"It makes me extremely proud that student athletes chose the FCC baseball program to develop and then reach the pinnacle of their abilities by attaining NCAA Division I opportunities," Coach Bennett, who also works as an FCC generalist advisor, said. "I believe the supporting system of our coaches, administration, and facilities all help shape our baseball players by developing them as athletes, students, and good citizens. We give them a structured system that allows them to grow and become better players and people."
More than 175 of Coach Bennett's players have gone on to play in the NCAA or the NAIA, including 26 all-Americans, four MLB draftees, two MLB free agents, and a national player of the year.
Five of Coach Bennett's players from last year are planning to play Division I baseball this season:
James Beasley, pitcher - George Mason University
Sean Clark, pitcher - Virginia Tech University
Brady Harju, first basemen - James Madison University
Keagan McGinnis, pitcher - George Washington University
Nick Pantos, pitcher - Old Dominion University
Two of those players shared their thoughts on FCC academics and baseball.
"At FCC, I was able to get my associate degree in business administration and continue to take credits toward a bachelor's degree, which was a great opportunity for me. FCC also gave me an opportunity to pitch and perform to the level I know I am capable of. It gave me the confidence to keep performing at the DI level."
"I really enjoyed the environment at FCC. With respect to the classroom, smaller class sizes and professors who cared about the students really made for a personal experience with real interaction with the professors. On the baseball field, Coaches Bennett, Insley, and Gerjets ran practices in an organized way, but allowed for enough freedom for the players to grow and work on their game individually. With an atmosphere focused on improving, I felt comfortable and continued my progress on the field."
Good luck to these former Cougars as they tackle DI academics and athletics.
Five FCC Baseball Players Starting at DI Schools This Fall
By: Caroline Cole