Texas Tech baseball head coach Tim Tadlock spoke about the unexpected conclusion to the Red Raiders' season due to COVID-19 concerns on the Kirby Hocutt Show on Wednesday.
“Since this has all happened, I think our staff has learned how close this group was,” Tadlock said on the radio show. “The leadership within this group with some seniors, some juniors and even some freshmen and sophomores, they definitely had their minds set on doing some big things.”
The Red Raiders were ranked as one of the top teams in the country after posting a 16-3 overall record as they were looking forward to starting conference play against West Virginia over the weekend. But, the Red Raiders and Mountaineers did not play each other this year as the Big 12 Conference canceled the remainder of the spring sports season on Friday.
“The initial meeting, telling (the season was canceled) was not easy,” Tadlock said on the radio show. “At that point, we did not know what they were going to do as far as eligibility and things of that nature, probably a little bit of shock to everybody.”
Reflecting on the short season with his 2020 team, Tadlock said this year’s pitching staff was one of the better ones he has seen in his career. He also said the team could pitch as many innings as anyone wanted to play, noting that when a baseball team has a good pitching staff, anything is possible.
“We definitely had something special,” Tadlock said on the radio show.
As the team was informed it would end after 19 games, the NCAA announced spring sport athletes’ eligibility would be compensated due to the unprecedented circumstances. Along with the NCAA’s announcement, the Big 12 released a statement saying all organized team activities were suspended until March 29 and would be re-evaluated at that time.
“We’re gonna always do what’s best for each guy every day no matter if they are here (Lubbock) or they’re not here,” Tadlock said on the radio show. “Right now, I think we’re facing a lot bigger issue than whether we practice baseball.”
With the rapid spread of COVID-19, Tadlock continued to say that the most important thing to him right now is relaying the message about the virus to his team, keeping them informed.
While Tadlock recognized the seriousness of the COVID-19 concerns, he said when the conference announces that teams can resume organized activities, he will be working with the team as they look forward to the 2021 season.
“The minute we can have the experience and start that journey, as far as practicing baseball and helping guys have the experience of the day-to-day things that we do, we absolutely want to do that,” Tadlock said on the radio show.
As the spread of COVID-19 has impacted collegiate sports, the virus has also affected sports at the high school level as well as. Texas UIL announced that all contests, rehearsals, practices and workouts are suspended until March 29.
“You start thinking about high school seniors and the things we all learned at that point in our lives and to take those times away is pretty tough,” Tadlock said on the radio show. “It’s really tough for kids and it’s really a lot bigger issue than just college sports for sure.”
With no Tech baseball for the rest of the season and practices being suspended, Tadlock said he and his staff will continue to do what is best for his student-athletes despite the circumstances.
“We’re obviously all learning something very important,” Tadlock said on the radio show. “Slow down, take a step back, enjoy your family and love the ones around you.”