Newly-named Radford baseball coach Karl Kuhn has followed the saga of former first-round MLB draft pick Danny Hultzen with more than passing interest.
Kuhn was the pitching coach at Virginia when Hultzen was the ACC pitcher of the year in 2010. Also a first baseman, Hultzen received the John Olerud Award in 2011 as the nation’s top two-way player.
Hultzen subsequently was drafted by Seattle with the second pick of the first round in the 2011 MLB Draft. However, labrum and rotator-cuff injuries persisted and he underwent career-endangering Tommy John surgery.
After his original deal with Seattle expired, Hultzen returned to UVa in 2016 and finished his degree while working out with the Cavaliers’ team. He was signed by the Chicago Cubs in 2018 and recently enjoyed a memorable big-league debut by striking out three batters in a one-inning stint for the Cubs at Milwaukee.
“I don’t know of anybody who’s done what he’s done,” Kuhn said. “Danny came back after being released from the Mariners and he pointed to our trainer, Brian McGuire, and said, ‘I want you to rehab me,’ and then he pointed to me and said, ‘I want you to get me back to the way I was.’
“Danny put in an unbelievable amount of hard work. I remember throwing with him on days when it was really, really cold. I would throw him before our team practiced or on Sundays, and he would have other players come up and catch him.
“Everybody that’s got a piece of this story is sitting back with their feet up, just smiling and shedding a tear and raising a glass and it couldn’t happen to a better and more deserving young man. When he first started picking up the baseball, it wasn’t good.”
Kuhn said he was in a parking lot in Radford when Hultzen called to say he had been recalled by the Cubs “and I just jumped out of my car and started screaming.”
Wednesday marked the start of fall practice for the Highlanders, Kuhn’s first since being introduced Aug. 22. Radford has had two recruiting weekends and has had three players announce on Twitter their commitments in the past seven days.
One is from Pennsylvania, one is from Connecticut and the third, Tyler Horton, is a 6-foot-5 left-hander from Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach. Horton made his future intentions known on Sunday.
Around the ACC
North Carolina’s football game Friday night at Wake Forest will mark the first non-conference game involving two ACC teams during the regular season. The in-state neighbors have met only five times since 2004 and have another non-conference game scheduled for 2021.
A Carolina victory at Wake would mark a record-tying 72nd UNC victory for Mack Brown, back coaching the Tar Heels after a 21-year hiatus. This is Brown’s 11th season at UNC, compared to Dick Crum, who won 72 games in 10 years, and Bill Dooley, who won 69 games in 11 years.
Brown leads all-active FBS coaches in total victories, counting his time at Texas, with 246. Four other ACC coaches are ranked between 19 and 22. They are Wake’s Dave Clawson with 120, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney with 118, UVa’s Bronco Mendenhall with 117 and Duke’s David Cutcliffe with 112.
In its 52-17 victory over William and Mary on Friday, Virginia did not attempt a punt, marking the first time that UVa hasn’t punted in a game since 1989 in a 49-28 victory over Duke. That’s a span of 365 games.
They said it
Pittsburgh coach Pat Narduzzi on the fact that the ACC has only two teams in college football’s Top 25, No. 1 Clemson and No. 25 Virginia: “I don’t have a vote this year, which I’m thankful for, That’s [been] another pain in my tail on Sunday morning.”
Don Divers, this week’s guest picker for the Fearless Forecasters, began his Virginia Tech career as the starting quarterback for the now defunct Hokies freshman team.
The opposing quarterback when Tech played Duke was Sonny Jurgensen, who was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame after a record-setting career with the Washington Redskins. Divers is in the Virginia Tech sports hall of fame.