The Florida A&M baseball team will play its season-opener next week against Troy University in Troy, Ala.
The Rattlers ended last season with a 7-45 record, and head coach Willie Brown was notified that he would be fired in January due to alleged misconduct.
David Duncan, a senior pitcher from Starke, said the team did not have enough talented recruits last season.
“You have to have players in the right place to succeed,” he said. “And that was lacking.”
Duncan feels that a fresh start and more support from the student body could turn the baseball program in the right direction.
“If people want to see a change in FAMU sports, school support would be appreciated,” Duncan said. “No one likes to play in front of empty seats.”
Former assistant coach Kevin Clethen will act as interim head coach for the Rattlers this season. The search for a new head coach will coincide with the beginning of the season.
Clethen said he feels the team went through a period of learning last season, but he has noticed more of an aggressiveness and focus from his players as they prepare for their first game.
“The guys are learning how to read plays and think on the fly a lot more now,” Clethen said. “We lost games because we hadn’t developed the ability to seize opportunities in the spur of the moment.”
Jared Walker, a junior center fielder from Tallahassee, looks forward to unifying the team.
“When we connect and develop chemistry, it becomes a fun game,” Walker said. “It’ll be important for us to make sure we’re having fun throughout the season while still focusing on production.”
The Rattlers will play the first meeting of their 56-game season Feb. 15.
Editor’s note: The printed version of this story incorrectly listed Vincent Ross as the writer. Vincent Ross was the contributing editor for this story.