Head baseball coach Damon Day has led the Lopers to over 170 wins during his six year tenure. His resume includes two RMAC Tournament championships and two NCAA regional appearances.
The UNK baseball team takes pride in playing the game the right way, and more importantly, treating others with respect. These qualities have been infused by Head baseball Coach Damon Day since he arrived in ’04.
So in ‘05 when UNK’s big brother, UNL, caught wind of a newborn flamethrower in Joba Chamberlain, Day granted Chamberlain's’s release to play for the DI school down the road. “When Joba transferred there, the two schools handled it in the right manner and built a mutual respect to where they don’t mind playing us,” Day said. Thus the tradition began.
Since then, the Lopers have played at Haymarket Park for the Husker’s home opener every year but one. Even though the Lopers have yet to beat the Big Red, the game has benefitted the boys in blue in many different ways.
For starters, playing UNL gives the Lopers some of the best competition they will see all year. “Playing the Huskers in Lincoln gets us ready for the atmosphere we would experience playing on the road against tough competition in the RMAC,” Day said. And don’t think the game is overlooked by the Husker hopefuls. “Their fans don’t care that we are a smaller school; they bird dog us like they do everyone else,” Day said.
Additionally, the game entices Nebraska and out-of-state prospects. “All of our kids from Nebraska have grown up wanting play to for the Huskers and although they can’t, they get the next best thing in playing against the Big Red,” Day said.
Out-of-state recruits have also been drawn to Kearney by the David vs. Goliath matchup. Day said, “It’s a big recruiting tool being able to tell prospects that we play against one of the better teams in the Big XII.”
Even though it is a non-conference contest, the in-state matchup is a game that will have longevity on UNK’s schedule. “The game is something that we are going to try and continue to do every year,” Day said.