Hall of Fame: Sweeney inducted at Frostburg

March 12, 2012|By BRETT NIEVES | Staff Correspondent
  • Pat Sweeney poses for a photo with his sons, from left, Hayden, Parker and Cooper at the Frostburg State University Athletic Hall of Fame ceremonies.
Submitted photo

Most high school seniors are faced with the same exciting — and sometimes frightening — decision about where to attend college.

Finances, curriculums, proximity to home and campus lifestyle all go into that decision. For an athlete, coaches, athletic facilities, program stability and prestige also figure heavily into that choice.

For Pat Sweeney, that decision-making process was no different.

Sweeney, a standout baseball player at Clear Spring in the mid-1990s, had plenty to think about during his senior year of high school.

His baseball abilities had been noticed by the likes of James Madison University and Fordham (N.Y.) University. He was lightly recruited by Frostburg State University, but ultimately chose it as his college landing spot.

More than a decade after his graduation, Sweeney was recently inducted to the Frostburg State University Athletic Hall of Fame.

“I had always been told by my coaches that I would be inducted (into the Hall of Fame) pretty quickly,” said Sweeney, who lives in Washington County and teaches at Fountaindale Elementary School. “But it wasn’t a personal goal or anything, I was just fortunate enough to have a good career and everything just worked out.”

Why Frostburg over the bigger schools?

“It was close to home and I knew they had a good education program,” Sweeney said. “And I wanted to go somewhere where I could play right away.”

Not even Sweeney could have predicted what would come of his decision to go to Frostburg.

Sweeney, a four-year starter, graduated from Frostburg in 2000 and left as the school’s leader in home runs (30), batting average (.437), extra-base hits (79) and slugging percentage (.783).

He ranks second in RBIs with 148 and helped the Bobcats to a 103-42 record during his tenure at Frostburg.

Everything did indeed work out for Sweeney, but his school records and Hall of Fame induction nearly didn’t happen.

The business side of college sports reared its ugly head halfway through Sweeney’s senior year when his coach of three years did not have his contract renewed.

“I very seriously thought about transferring my senior year,” Sweeney said. “I had to be talked out of transferring, but it’s tough when you play for someone for three years and then you find out they aren’t coming back — and it wasn’t (the coach’s) decision.”

Sweeney’s choice to finish what he started at Frostburg ultimately proved to be one from which he  prospered.

He wasn’t even the one who was most charged up about his honor, however. It was Sweeney’s 9-year-old son, Hayden, who got the most joy out of his father’s accomplishment.

“My first reaction is that I knew (Hayden) would be excited about it,” Sweeney stated. “I thought it would be neat for my kids, but especially Hayden because he was old enough to understand what it meant.”

The hard work and dedication at Frostburg that led Sweeney to the Hall of Fame are some of the qualities he tries to instill in Hayden and his two other sons, Cooper, 7, and Parker, 5.

“Putting the work in and putting the time in pays off,” Sweeney said. “And that’s something I try to teach to my kids.”

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