In a surprising move, Shawn Corness is out as head coach of the University of the Fraser Valley baseball team just two weeks into the season.
The team made the announcement Monday morning, suggesting the move was financially motivated.
“The UFV Cascades baseball program is a club team and is fully and wholly funded by its players with no financial contribution from UFV or any other organization or institution,” a news release stated. “Based on a reduced player roster this season, it was no longer viable to continue with a head coach position.”
The team had 49 players committed last August.
Between August and Christmas, that number dropped to 38 and as the Cascades dove into regular season play two weekends ago, only 32 players remained on the active roster. The team budgets for 40 players, leaving a large shortfall in expected revenue.
But the timing suggests there’s more to it than mere dollars and cents, especially given Corness’s successful history with the program.
Corness was front and center when UFV was granted a franchise in the Canadian Colleges Baseball Conference in May of 2015. He left his position as pitching coach at the University of British Columbia to take over as baseball boss with the Cascades and hit the recruiting trail hard, building one of the strongest teams in the CCBC.
After one probationary campaign in 2016, UFV went 10-5 in their first official season in 2017 and advanced to the championship series in 2018 before falling to the Okanagan College Coyotes.
Not often is a coach with that sort of track record let go, and normally, an organization would issue a quote or two thanking that coach for his service.
It’s said that silence speaks volumes, and the fact that the Cascades have declined to say anything about Corness as he heads out the door suggests the relationship isn’t close to what it once was.
But life marches on.
Led by the big bat of Riley Jepson and a deep and talented pitching staff, the Cascades look poised to make another deep playoff run this season. They’ll do so guided by holdover coaches Corey Eckstein, Kyle Lotzkar, Jordan Lennerton and Wes Darvill.