This Southern baseball season could provide an addendum to Roger Cador’s forthcoming autobiography.
Southern is 7-22 after getting run-ruled 13-2 after seven innings against Nicholls State on Wednesday night at Lee-Hines Field, and it’s unlikely to qualify for the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament next month.
The poor record is an abnormality in Cador’s mostly successful 30-year coaching tenure, which is chronicled in “Against All Odds,” set for release this summer. The book’s cover was unveiled at a news conference Thursday.
“I couldn’t have planned it any better,” Cador said. “The fact that we’re struggling like this for the first time since I’ve been coaching. It could show people that I haven’t changed my approch to how I do things. I still want to be positive, I still want to help kids and I know we will overcome it because hard work and determintion will do it.
“Some people out there who aren’t young people, who may be middle-aged people or young adults, may benefit from it because they may have struggled in their life and people have a tendency to maybe want to give up. But when you struggle is when you bear down and try harder and more than anything be positive in your approach.”
One of the themes of the book is overcoming adversity, which has been a constant theme this season for Cador and the Jaguars. He called the season “a really good teaching tool for our young people.”
“If you’re not doing things you’ve got to work a little harder and work a little cleaner and make things happen,” Cador said. “That’s really what it’s all about.
“I’m living a really happy life. I’m not happy about not winning, because it’s a profession, and you want to do your very best. But beyond that, I have a lot of things to be happy for. If you look at where I came from and what I had to go through to get here, the struggle, it’s just been a beautiful situation.”
A university news release said “the book chronicles Cador’s childhood, high school, college and professional baseball years with the Atlanta Braves organization, and then on to Southern as an assistant basketball coach to Southern head baseball coach and even through being named on the MLB Diversity Committee.”
A friend of Cador’s, Alice Park, suggested he write the book to help motivate others.
“She said I needed to write this book because someone out there is going through what you went through, and they may need to hear your story to help them,” Cador said.
Through this book, which Cador wrote with former Advocate sportswriter Dave Moormann, the coach said he hopes people will “learn the value of someone who had struggled with every facet of life and who was deprived of a basic education at a young age, who got laughed at and endured a lot of other things said about them. I didn’t quit. I just found ways to keep working and doing my thing and ignoring all of the negative things.”
Cador took over the program in 1985 and has compiled a record of 857-509-1. During Cador’s tenure, the Jaguars have won 14 SWAC championships, made eight NCAA tournament appearances and three NCAA play-in tournament appearances.
“I was the one that no one ever thought could be anything,” Cador said. “It was against all odds. I wish my mother were here, because she was the only one who thought I could be someone.”
This year’s inexperienced team won its first two games, then lost 10 straight and has never fully recovered.
Cador said he told pitching coach Rick Greene when he hired him in January that “we were probably going to struggle this year.”
“I told him this year there are going to be growing pains, and it has proven to be exactly what I thought it would be,” Cador said. “It’s very difficult, but in order for them to get better for next year, we have to play them this year through the mistakes.”
Cador added that the struggles this season would lead to better times next season, much like one of the autobiography’s themes.
“No matter what you go through, you never give up or find fault or blame people,” Cador said. “We live in a great country in the world. I was able to elevate myself from all of that horrible past to make good things happen.”