Seahawk Spectacular: Matt Myers stabilizes pitching staff


Noah Powers/The Seahawk

Pitcher No. 14 Landen Roupp

Noah Powers, Assistant Sports Editor

Editor’s note: UNCW baseball opens the 2019 season on Friday against Saint Joseph’s. The Seahawks are fresh off their second Colonial Athletic Association championship in three years and seek their sixth conference title in program history. In anticipation of this season, The Seahawk is diving into different storylines to follow over the next few months.

2018 was a roller coaster year for UNC Wilmington baseball. The Seahawks won their fifth Colonial Athletic Association championship, lost several players in the 2018 MLB draft and dealt the controversial firing of five-year pitching coach Matt Williams.

Despite the tribulations that accompanied the triumphs, UNCW hired former Western Kentucky coach Matt Myers to replace Williams and stabilize the coaching staff.

“My job is to go in there and continue what these pitching staffs have done and continue to take them to another level,” Myers told StarNews following his hire back in July. “We’ve got pretty good stuff back. How good can we be?”

Two months after taking the job, tragedy struck the area in the form of Hurricane Florence. The Category 4 (Category 1 by landfall) storm destroyed homes, flooded roads and was responsible for the deaths of over 50 people. Wilmington was water-locked for weeks and left many UNCW students and athletes displaced.

After missing a month of potential practice time, the Seahawks returned to Wilmington, as Myers continued the transition into the Seahawk family. Despite missing quality time with his new staff, Myers has had no trouble fitting into his new role.

“I think coach Myers has done a really good job building relationships with the pitchers,” said coach Mark Scalf who begins his 27th year at the helm for the Seahawks. “They’ve worked to get a feel for what he wants and what he expects.”

For Myers, who embarks on his 21st season coaching, the transition at UNCW wasn’t so much about change but focused more on working with the pieces that were already in place.

“I try to be a chameleon,” said Myers during UNCW baseball media day. “Everyone kind of has their ways but when you have respect for somebody like I do, coming in, I knew Matt [Williams] did a great job. It wasn’t trying to change everything but adding value to what they’ve done.”

While the Seahawks lost standout pitchers like Alex Royalty (92.2 innings pitched, 4.76 ERA) and Austin Warren (1.75 ERA) last season, several Seahawks including sophomore Landen Roupp have prepared to step up and fill the spots that last season left. A big part of adjusting to his new role was forming a relationship with Myers.

“It’s great. He’s very one-on-one,” said Roupp. “He’s always there if you need to talk to him.”

While UNCW heads into this season as defending CAA champion, the team looks to fill the void that was left last June after losing to South Carolina in the Greenville Regional Final.

“I think the big driving force for them is just getting to that regional championship and winning it,” said Myers. “I think coming off that, that’s been their focus is to be elite.”