Blake Dean was in a pitcher’s meeting Monday when he received the telephone call.
It could’ve been much worse than it actually was.
Dean’s mother, Georgina, was on the other end of the phone call, bearing the news to the UNO baseball coach that his father, Mike, had been hit while riding his motorcycle in Florida.
“She was freaking out, and at first you try not to get too worked up, but obviously it’s a worrisome thing,” said Dean.
Dean went to Twitter moments later:
“Prayers needed right now! My dad was just hit on his motorcycle by someone going 65 mph. It was a hit and run! He’s badly hurt!”
Fortunately for the Dean family, the injuries weren’t life-threatening.
Broken forearm. Broken wrist and ankle and facial bruises.
“He will have to have a few surgeries, and I doubt he rides motorcycles anymore,” Dean said.
Dean conducted practice with his team Tuesday and will be in Mobile on Wednesday night when the Privateers play South Alabama.
“Once I knew he was OK and there was nothing life-threatening, that made it a little easier,” he said. “Obviously you wish you could be there for support, but you just have to do what you can from here. Obviously I still have to worry about all these guys here as well, so I’m just balancing it all together.”
Before Monday’s news, Dean’s first season as a head coach had been a pretty smooth one.
The former LSU slugger has led UNO to an 18-10 record, including a victory over Tulane. The Privateers are No. 35 in the most recent RPI rankings, the highest among any team in the Southland Conference. Not bad considering UNO is currently seventh in conference standings.
They are 4-5 in conference play, just one win shy of eclipsing the win total of the previous two years combined when UNO went 5-55 in Southland play.
“I think we have kinda exceeded expectations, but we still have a ways to go,” Dean said.
He’d especially like to see the team play better on the road. They are 15-1 at Maestri Field and 3-9 away from it.
So it’s easy to understand why Dean will be glad to return from Mobile on Wednesday night. UNO’s next seven games are all at home, including this weekend’s series against McNeese State. They follow that up with a home game April 13 against Louisiana-Lafayette, then a weekend series against Northwestern State.
“It’ll be nice to get back to our ballpark and play here a little bit,” Dean said.
It will be a little different, though. It will be the first series he coaches when his parents weren’t in the stands.
They’ve even made road trips from their Florida home to as far as Nacogdoches, Texas.
“I doubt he makes it this weekend, though,” Dean said with a smile.
But Blake doesn’t expect his dad to miss too many of his son’s games.
“He already had a plane ticket to Abilene (for the Abilene Christian series in May) and he told the doctors he has to be ready by then,” Dean said.