Kevin Cooney


Kevin Cooney has spent 19 seasons as head coach at Florida Atlantic University. He's spent the past four seasons offering his thoughts on baseball - and other things - for Cooney's Owls finished their first season in the Sun Belt Conference at 36-22.





November 30, 2007

Holiday Memories


Thanksgiving has come and gone; like an old friend heading home, Christmas is on its way. These are supposed to be the happiest times of the year. For most of us it generally works out that way. We hop in the car and head for dinner and some football at Grandma's house, and then a few weeks later, the presents are wrapped and under the tree as we all gather with our families to celebrate.


Norman Rockwell painted some beautiful scenes depicting the joy and love shared by families on those special days, with generations gathered around the table waiting for the turkey to be sliced. 


It is a nice image.


But for so many of us, those times coincide with something much different.


My wife lost her mother at Christmas when she was four. That most wondrous of holidays has always been a little muted for her. As with any hurt, the passing of time makes things somewhat easier for people, but those holiday bells will always ring differently for anyone who lost a loved one at a holiday.


My brother and I each have what society calls "blended families".


Sometimes referring to someone as a cousin, grandson, uncle, or whatever takes some explaining, but the relationship is still true in their hearts. Pat's "step-grandson" lost his life in a car accident Thanksgiving weekend. Spenser fell asleep driving to see his girlfriend. 


I remember the tall, skinny 19-year-old this summer at my nephew Mike's wedding. Spenser had just completed his basic training with the Air Force National Guard and was looking forward to his deployment to Afghanistan in the spring. He looked great in his dress blues, all grown up. Now his mother Pam will forever see Thanksgiving differently.


Back home in Boca, one of the good men from the Boca Raton Youth Baseball League was struck by a car while bicycling and is gone. Chuck was a friend to many and a great father to his twin boys Dalton and Mitchell. Two nine-year-olds will have to face each Thanksgiving with the memory of the loss of their father.


At the funeral service, adults tried to help two kids grasp the concept that the father they loved was with God, and someday, after a long, happy life, they'll join him. In the meantime, they and their mom Suzi will try to live the same normal, everyday lives that their friends and neighbors get to experience.


But their holidays are now forever changed.


Chuck and his boys loved baseball. It was the same special bond that so many of us had with our dads and then with our sons. But now Suzi prays for many things, one of which is that the boys will still have baseball in their lives. 


The BRYBL and FAU Baseball have offered to do their part.


I hope you can help.


This "diary" was started back in 2002 to give an inside look at a season in the Florida Atlantic baseball program nearly six months before "blogs" burst on the scene. It was never meant to go beyond that season which became so special. But somewhere along the way I developed a subconscious need to keep writing.


As years passed and the diary continued, some days, like life, the process of writing was easier than others.  The ups and downs of teams, players, and coaches sometimes made it difficult to produce anything that reflected my feelings, or that would remotely interest others.


Thanks to the folks at, the size of the audience changed drastically. Now, instead of the FAU family and my relatives being the only readers, I know there are people out there who must be really hard up for something to read, because so many of you are kind enough to comment to me on what I've written. Whether it's an empathetic laugh at something that also happened to you or your team, a music reference that takes you back, or our shared love of the NCAA and its treatment of college baseball, I now realize that there actually are people out there.


So this is for all of you in that community.


I'm asking you, please try and find a way to help two young boys cope with the loss of their father. Use our fortunate place in the baseball world for the good of twin boys whose dad instilled in them the love of the game we all share. Grab any hat, t-shirt, sweat shirt, media guide, bobble-head, or anything else you can think of that represents your team and drop it to me in the mail. I will be sure everything gets to Suzi and the boys. Don't worry about sizes; if the article is too big it will still be there when they grow into it.


What you'll be doing is providing two little boys with a reminder of their dad and the game they all loved, and each Thanksgiving as their loss hits home, they'll have a room full of baseball memories of how special their dad was.


Please send whatever you feel appropriate to:

Kevin Cooney

1243 NW 14th St 

Boca Raton, FL 33486


Thanks in advance to all of you.