Greg Hawk and the Linn-Benton baseball team take to the home diamond one last time
Linn-Benton Community College baseball coach Greg Hawk’s office walls are a 30-year compilation of team photos, business cards and quirky things that make you smile — including the furniture that’s been around a day or two.
After three decades spent teaching young men about baseball and life, fans will get their last chance to watch an LBCC home game on Tuesday.
The first pitch of a doubleheader against Lane Community College is scheduled for 1 p.m.
The college’s 43-year-old baseball program is being axed at the end of the season, a victim of nearly $3 million in budget cuts. Also gone will be the women’s basketball program and nearly two dozen staff positions.
Hawk’s squad will bring a 24-12 overall record and a 16-8 mark in the NWAACC into the outing.
The Roadrunners will travel to Mt. Hood Community College on Thursday to end their regular season. The southern region playoffs will start on Saturday.
A southern Iowa native, Hawk was all-league in football, basketball and baseball in high school.
Other than one season as an outfielder in Little League, Hawk spent all his playing days behind the plate.
He knew he wanted to coach junior college baseball after playing one season at Indian Hills Community College in his hometown of Centerville, Iowa, and then three seasons at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Mo.
He spent two seasons building a baseball program at tiny Sweet Springs, Mo. — enrollment 200 — before earning a masters degree in athletic administration from Eastern Washington University at Cheney.
Hawk was hired by former LBCC baseball coach turned administrator Dick McLain in the summer of 1983 and has coached about 1,200 to 1,300 games since. He recorded his 600th win last year and was named national coach of the year in 1988 and 1991.
He also coached women’s basketball for four seasons — going 82-32 — and spent 10 years as both athletic director and baseball coach.
“I’ve loved every minute of it,” Hawk said of his life as a junior college coach. “It’s exactly what I wanted to do with my life. Coaching baseball at a community college is actually coaching young men about life. I’ve made many, many great friendships.”
Last fall, Hawk announced plans to retire at the end of the season, but had hoped the college would hire a successor to keep the program going.
“I’ve recruited more students to this campus than any other person,” Hawk said. “We used to get 100 guys out for fall ball. It was open to everybody and if you could cut it in six weeks, you had a spot on the team.”
A story and more photos about Hawk’s 30 years with the LBCC baseball program will appear in the Sunday edition of the Democrat-Herald.