BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Virginia Tech’s season on the baseball diamond was one for the record books. And the players give much of the credit to what head coach John Szefc has done since taking over the program five years ago. But this year’s Hokies have also had a profound effect on Szefc himself.
Just minutes after the Hokies were eliminated by Oklahoma in the final game of Super Regionals, Szefc couldn’t find the words to describe what his team had meant to him.
“”They really kind of… given me a good, well maybe just changed me a little bit as a coach as far as how I go about things,” Szefc said.
What Virginia Tech had done on the field was something no other team in school history had done before. Earning a No. 4 national seed, winning a regional championship and playing Super Regionals at home.
“They might not even understand it right now but what they’ve accomplished here is very very respectful and it’ll be the standard for future teams will try to work to live up to for many years to come,” Szefc said.
But what the Hokies have done for Szefc, who is no stranger to postseason success, can’t be found in any record books.
“As a coach, you get older and the players get younger. And sometimes in the past, maybe I made the mistake of being too business like so to speak and this team brought me back to being a lot more personal with our players,” Szefc said. “I think they’ve probably changed me as a person. I don’t know a whole lot of 50-plus-year-olds who can say that.”
And the players feel the same way.
“Coach Szefc, what he’s done for all of us sitting here and all the guys in the locker room,” junior utility Nick Biddison said. “I think we can all sit here and say that we made this place better. And took this place somewhere it hasn’t been in a very long time.”
The future of the program is a bit uncertain as some players will graduate while others hope to get drafted into professional baseball. But Szefc isn’t too worried about what’s to come.
“We’ll figure it out, it’ll get done one way or another. We figured it out with this group and this group was awesome,” Szefc said.
And so ends an unprecedented season, with goals to repeat and go farther in the years to come.