Billy Godwin is currently the Head Baseball Coach at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and has over 30 years of coaching experience. Before Godwin was a coach, he was an athlete. He earned an athletic scholarship as a pitcher for Barton College, in Wilson, North Carolina. He also worked for five years as an area scout for the New York Yankees and spent several years as Head Coach for two other North Carolina institutions– East Carolina University and Louisburg College.
As a coach, Godwin has led his players through fierce competition, sobering losses and impressive victories. Now he’s leading his team through the massive disappointment of a season lost due to the Coronavirus. We asked Billy for his thoughts on the surreal effects of COVID19 quarantines on his team, and the baseball community as a whole.
“I trust that the decision makers had adequate information to make the call they made regarding competitive sports during COVID19. It is not my position to question how things were handled but prepare my players to handle the outcome.” Godwin says there is no playbook when it comes to this pandemic. “A more unilateral decision for all divisions, instead of separate calls by conferences, might have eliminated some of the confusion and anxiety,” he noted, “but it’s more important to move forward.” He says that the UNCG staff will promote moving forward and finding gratitude when everyone can return to the field. “Athletes are resilient and adversity makes us stronger. We will use this as a great teaching moment,” he added.
As far as the effect on his team and how they are trying to make the most of this unexpected off-season time, Billy noted that the abrupt end to our season has left many unanswered questions regarding eligibility and the next step for player’s baseball careers. “We have questions on the draft, summer leagues and what the NCAA is going to do concerning eligibility. It is still a “wait and see” time for all spring sports,” he said. “Currently, our players have been given at home workout plans and are taking on-line classes as they wait to hear what the next step will be. My coaching staff and I have been in constant contact trying to guide them through this unique process.”
Godwin is certain that recovery from this global pandemic is going to be a long game. “Coronavirus has created a time of uncertainty that has taken the sports we have become accustomed to away for hopefully only a brief time period. The one thing I do know, is this will not be a quick fix. There are repercussions to all spring programs that will be felt for years to come, but I am hopeful that there will be a new appreciation for being able to play the game once this is all over. I hope our fans and athletes will embrace these opportunities when presented.”
Billy says that if fans want to offer support to their favorite teams, they can utilize social media to send positive messages and words of hope and encouragement.
“I think we are all in uncharted water with this pandemic. My utmost responsibility at this time is the health, safety and well-being of my student-athletes. Every opportunity in life gives us a chance to reflect, evaluate and move forward based on the circumstances we are dealt. I choose to use this time to make our student-athletes understand how fortunate, blessed and thankful we are to have our health and to do our part to protect the health of others.”