By Hannah Lutz
“I love coach’s intensity, every day we come to the field we know there is only one thing on his mind, and that is winning,” said Kevin Kirksey, senior sports management major and pitcher on the Bulldogs baseball team.
The coach Kirksey is referring to is Union University’s head baseball coach Brent Fronabarger.
He has won 200 games since beginning his head-coaching career in 2006 at Union.
“He is a role-model and is someone that our university has chosen to lead young men. On the field we all strive to be like him,” Kirksey said.
Fronabarger is no stranger to Union University’s baseball program; he played on Union’s baseball team when he was a student.
He was the 1995 Tennessee Collegiate Athletic Conference “Player of the Year” and holds several Union pitching records. Among the records are most victories in a season, most victories in a career, most strikeouts in a career and most innings in a season.
In 1995, he led the team with the lowest earned run average (1.97) and had a record of 11-2. The success of Fronabarger’s winnings comes from the strict program he runs.
Jonathan Taylor, the Bulldogs’ assistant coach, said because of his determination and work ethic Fronabarger has been successful in winning games.
“He does whatever it takes to get his players ready to play and compete day in and out,” Taylor said.
Kirksey said, “Coach knows that it takes being very polished in every aspect of your game to be successful. He brings in players who will go out and try and win championships.”
Fronabarger teaches his players to be accountable for their actions.
Whether it is being on time for class or being early for a practice, making good decisions on and off the field makes his team better.
“Coach pushes us to be the best we can be on a daily basis,” Kirksey said.
After Fronabarger graduated from Union in 1996 with a bachelor of science degree in physical education and health, he went back to Union to continue his education and received his master of education degree in 1998.
Fronabarger started his coaching career in his hometown of Huntingdon, Tenn. He helped coach the Huntingdon Mustangs in football and baseball during the 1996 and 1997 seasons.
In 1997, he was hired by Union as the assistant baseball coach and head of grounds.
In those eight seasons as assistant coach, the team had a record of 293-146 with two conference championships and three Region XI Tournament appearances. The teams finished three seasons with 40 or more wins.
“He has brought this program a long way and is constantly building for the future,” Kirksey said.
Union has made two straight appearances in the NAIA National Championship opening rounds and a TranSouth Tournament title in 2009.
The team won the TranSouth Tournament Title, May 8.
This is the second time the team has won the title in the past three years. Union earned an automatic bid to nationals from TranSouth.
They will play Auburn University-Montgomery in the opening round of the NAIA World Series in Montgomery, Ala., May 12-16.