After rumors of possibly going to "the school up north" Kent State University baseball coach Scott Stricklin will be staying put.
The Beacon Journal says the coach put the rumors about him coaching at Michigan to rest by issuing a letter to fans saying he and his staff are "all in" and are going to continue to build the Kent program.
In his letter, Stricklin thanked the fans for rallying behind the team during Kent State's run in the College World Series baseball tournament.
He went on to say that what he and his staff have put together over the past eight years is too good to leave and that from the top down, everybody at KSU is "all in" when it comes to the leadership and direction of the baseball program.
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Kent State's baseball team getting a warm homecoming last night at Dix Stadium...and now the University says it'll go another step with a "Season of Champions" celebration the evening of June 28th at the Student Center Ballroom. It'll include video highlights and meet-and-greet with team members.
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(Kent State University) Kent State University’s Golden Flashes baseball team will be honored at a “Season of Champions” celebration event on Thursday, June 28, at the Kent Student Center Ballroom. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., with a presentation beginning at 7 p.m.
The celebration event is free and open to all. Attendees will receive a free T-shirt, including other giveaways, and will have the opportunity for a meet-and-greet and signing with members of the baseball team before and after the event. Refreshments will be served at the event, which also will feature video highlights from the championship season.
The 2012 Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year Scott Stricklin, who led the team, will address attendees at the celebration event.
The Kent State baseball team made its 12th NCAA tournament appearance this year and advanced to the Super Regional for the first time this season. The team also played in the College World Series for the first time in program history, which dates back to 1915. The Golden Flashes edged out top seed Florida in its second game at the College World Series.
Everyone is encouraged to wear blue and gold and join the Kent State community as it celebrates the Golden Flashes on a successful championship season.
After posting the best season in school history, the Kent State Golden Flashes baseball team returned back home to a group of fans, alumni,and supporters after their loss in the College World Series Thursday.
KSU football player Freddy Cortez said this was a national showcase for the team.
"It's good for the program and good for the school," Cortez said.
"This will attract many different players to come and play for Kent State, People know that they have a quality program and will come and be a part of a winning tradition."
Fans came to Dix Stadium to welcome the team home after their flight from Omaha Thursday night.
The Flashes' dream season came to an end Thursday afternoon against the South Carolina Gamecocks in a 4-1 loss in the College Baseball World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.
Matt Payton says the team still has a lot to be proud of.
"We started out with not a lot of people supporting us outside the Kent community when we first got in the postseason, but it goes to show that the hard work that the team put in has paid off," Payton said.
"Our fan base has grown and a lot of it is because of our team and how tough they are."
Jim Stanton of Kent says the team's success put the Flashes on the national map.
"It was amazing that this collection of kids from Ohio and western Pennsylvania went down and competed with some of the best players in the country and came up just a little bit short, but they represented the area very well."
For the players, it was a bittersweet homecoming, but it was satisfying to see their fans cheering their improbable run.
KSU starter Tyler Skulina talked about the experience, saying that they will be back next season even better.
Kent State Pitcher Tyler Skulina by Aaron Coleman
Fans from Kent with no affiliation to the school also came out to cheer for their hometown boys.
"It's truly awesome," one woman said. "These kids really showed a lot of heart and determination, and we'll be back next year."
The team won a school-record 47 games as they made their first appearance in the College World Series.
For the KSU baseball team, their run this season to take part on college baseball's greatest stage was quite an accomplishment.
Head baseball coach Scott Stricklin says their appearance in the CWS was proof his ballclub could play with anyone in the country.
"Once we got there we showed everyone that we belonged," Stricklin said.
"We got a lot of heart and a lot of talent, just a bunch of kids from Ohio and Western Pennsylvania who gave it their all, but came up short."
Kent State Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin by Aaron Coleman
The loss was tough for the Flashes, but by coming home and seeing the fans, it gave the young men a good conclusion to a remarkable season.
The trip to Omaha was highlighted earlier in the week as the Flashes beat top-ranked Florida Monday to set up the match with the Gamecocks, which was played Thursday after rain washed out things Wednesday.
Stricklin says their successful season doesn't change the team's blue-collar approach to the game.
"We're going to build on this and make our team stronger and better, and our expectations are now going up a notch, but that doesn't change how we play the game."
He says that despite the loss to South Carolina, he's proud of his team for the way they represented themselves on the national stage and throughout the season.
"To go to Omaha, it's what every coach talks about, every coach dreams about and it's just been amazing."
For the players, the trip to Omaha was one they'll never forget.
Pitcher Tyler Skulina (Walsh Jesuit) said that this experience was a thrilling moment in his young career.
"It just gives us more motivation to get back there next year," Skulina said. "It was just unbelievable playing at that level with such great players.
Skulina pitched in the final game against South Carolina and said that while he threw well, he made a couple costly mistakes and that was the deciding factor Thursday afternoon.
"It was a good learning experience and next year we'll be stronger."
Kent's trip to Omaha marked the first time since 1976 that a school from the Mid-American Conference made a berth in the College World Series.
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