Danny Schmitz has had to make many tough calls throughout his near 30 years as the baseball head coach at Bowling Green State University. None could come close to the one he had to be a part of on a Zoom call Friday.
On Friday, Bowling Green State University announced that it has eliminated their men’s baseball program, effective immediately. This is being part of a plan for a “$2 million reduction” to the BGSU Intercollegiate Athletics budget. All three coaches in the baseball program were laid off.
“This was a very difficult, but necessary, decision,” Director of Athletics Bob Moosbrugger said in a statement. In an FAQ document, the decision was described as “painful.”
Moosbrugger took part in a Zoom meeting today with the entire baseball roster and staff. He was the one who broke the news.
“I love the man to death. You could tell something was hurting him from the minute we saw him,” junior Jeremy Spezia said.
Moosbrugger played baseball at Bowling Green under Schmitz from 1991-94; Schmitz took over as head coach in ‘91. Moosburgger is also on the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee.
“Everyone was so emotional during the meeting so there weren’t many words that were said,” freshman Trent Farquhar said. “Everyone was in a state of disbelief.”
Farquhar said that there was more “disappointment than anger” among him and his teammates.
“This caught me off-guard. I never thought this would ever happen,” former BGSU player Jake Wilson said. “I’m really feeling bad for my boys at Bowling Green.”
Wilson spent the past four seasons on the BGSU baseball team. He announced his transfer to Liberty University in April because BGSU didn’t have the program he wanted for graduate school. He said he had no idea the program would eventually be eliminated.
BGSU will continue to honor the athletic scholarships for student-athletes who will remain at the school, but some are already planning to transfer. Farquhar said he is already looking to transfer and play elsewhere with his four remaining years of eligibility.
This doesn’t just affect players who were presently at Bowling Green, a number of high school players who were already committed to play baseball for the Falcons now have to reopen their recruitment.
Zack Horky and Jake Armsey were two baseball commits who are now reopening their recruitment. They were also shocked by the news.
For Armsey, he was going through a regular workout routine at his local field when he heard the news.
“My friend texted me and said, ‘did you hear about BG?’ Of course, I said no,” Armsey said. “I went on Twitter and saw.”
Armsey received a call from all three coaches shortly afterward; Horky received the news straight from his call.
“They said how much they liked my family and that they were super sorry,” Horky said about his phone call. “That’s why I chose BGSU, because it felt like a family.”
“They said that this came out of absolutely nowhere, that they were just informed about this today,” Armsey said about his call. “They also said they will do whatever they can for me to find a place to play in college.”
Both recruits made it clear that they had really strong relationships with the coaching staff. Armsey said he didn’t meet them until six months after first talking with them and he immediately felt like he had known them forever.
The recruiting is back open for both players. Armsey has already spoken to Penn State, Eastern Michigan, and JUCO Rend Lake College. The two don’t know where they will end up or if their previous scholarship offers from other schools still stand, but they will have to get that process started very soon.
For head coach Danny Schmitz, this is an end of a 29-year coaching stint. After leading his Eastern Michigan baseball team to the College World Series twice as a player, he was a 1977 draft pick by the New York Yankees. He was later hired by Bowling Green in 1991 where he’s been ever since. He won the MAC Tournament three times and won the MAC Coach of the Year three times as well.
“It breaks my heart to see the program shut down because that man loved that program unconditionally,” Wilson said on Schmitz. “That goes the same way with the other coaches, they’re great people and it sucks to see this happen to them.”
“[Coach] is devastated. He poured his heart and soul into this program for the last 30 years,” Farquhar said. “I’m grateful to have had the privilege to play for him.”
Bowling Green hasn’t finished with a record over .500 since the 2010 season. In 2013, they won the MAC Tournament to advance to the NCAA Tournament. It was the third time Schmitz led the team to the NCAA Tournament.
The Falcons have seen 14 of their alumni play in the majors and over 80 of their players sign professional contracts over their 100+ years of existence. The program produced players such as Orel Hershiser, Roger McDowell, and current Miami Marlin Jon Berti.
No other Bowling Green athletic programs are in danger of being eliminated, TWSN was told.