Indiana University’s four baseball recruits from Columbus say they were shocked by head coach Chris Lemonis’ decision to leave for Mississippi State, but all four said they are still committed to playing for the Hoosiers.
Lemonis announced on Monday that he was heading south after five years in Bloomington. Indiana made the NCAA Tournament three of those five seasons, including each of the past two.
“I love what is going on in Bloomington right now, and I want to be a part of it for my college years,” said Casper Clark, who will be a junior at Columbus North. “I didn’t lose any love or interest with Indiana. It’s definitely a shock. Now, it’s just a waiting game with the next coach, but if he’s the right guy, I would be more than happy to be a Hoosier.”
Clark’s teammate, Parker Maddox, who will be a senior at North, and Julian Greenwell, who will be a senior at Columbus East, are headed IU next fall. Cole Gilley, who will be a junior at East, also has verbally committed.
[sc:text-divider text-divider-title=”Story continues below gallery” ]Click here to purchase photos from this gallery
Greenwell said Lemonis called him Monday night.
“It’s nerve-racking, but coach Lemonis said he would put in a good recommendation for us, that everything was going to be OK and wished us the best of luck in our future,” Greenwell said. “I have faith in him that he’ll look out for us. I’m still planning on going to IU. It’s a great fit. Obviously, if something happens, I believe we all have enough talent that we can find a good home somewhere.”
Maddox also said he talked to Lemonis on Monday night. He took the news perhaps a little tougher than the others.
“When I saw he left, I thought it was interesting,” Maddox said. “I thought it was weird, but then he called me and I talked to him a little bit and understood why he left. I was kind of heartbroken. I was bummed out that he wasn’t going to be there anymore because I wanted to play for him, but I’m not going to reopen my recruiting. I’m going to stay there.”
Part of that is because pitching coach Kyle Bunn plans to stay at IU, at least until a successor is named and determines whether to retain him and assistant Kyle Cheesborough. All four Columbus recruits are pitchers.
Meanwhile, Bunn has been named interim head coach.
“I was kind of stressed for a little bit, but once I saw that, that was kind of a relief,” Gilley said. “I really like him. But if something happens where everybody leaves, I might reopen my recruiting. But we’re just going to wait it out and see what happens.”
Clark and Gilley also said they spoke with Lemonis following the coach’s decision.
“He was very apologetic and said he was sorry this came so quick,” Gilley said. “He said everything is still going to be there for us. He said ‘You picked that school because it’s a great school and has a great baseball program.’”
[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”At a glance” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]
Indiana University’s baseball recruits from Columbus:
Casper Clark;Columbus North;Will be a junior;Pitcher/first base
Cole Gilley;Columbus East;Will be a junior;Pitcher/third base
Julian Greenwell;Columbus East;Will be a senior;Pitcher/outfield
Parker Maddox;Columbus North;Will be a senior;Pitcher/outfield