Each Friday during the 2017-18 academic year, the conference office will release a SCAC Spotlight feature story. For the first 13 weeks, the focus of these feature stories will be former student-athletes who played at an SCAC institution and went on to become head coaches in the conference.
In this, the thirteenth and final SCAC Spotlight feature, we sit down with Southwestern University's Head Baseball Coach, J.C. Bunch who felt more prepared for life after college with the help of Trinity University.
With plenty of experience on SCAC baseball fields, J.C. Bunch was the perfect candidate to start his own era of Southwestern University baseball. Everyone else at SU thought the same because they were familiar with his name and skills.
Bunch has been around the SCAC from the time he started his collegiate career as a student athlete. In high school, Bunch's friend was being recruited by Trinity University and Bunch wanted to check out their facilities and meet the coach as well.
Once TU’s head coach, Tim Scannell saw Bunch’s talents, Bunch was on his way to being a student-athlete for Trinity.
His resume as an athlete in the SCAC was long. Bunch set and still holds numerous records in the SCAC record books. He helped take his team to a few SCAC Division and Conference Championships titles. As a four-year letter winner, Bunch also earned All-SCAC honors all four of his years as a Tiger and was name to the SCAC 15th Anniversary Baseball Team in 2006.
When he walked across the stage on graduation, he wasn’t done lacing up his cleats for good yet. Bunch went on to play at the professional level in the Texas Rangers’ organization for two years. He led the Gulf Coast League Rangers with a .333 batting average his rookie year.
Although not every student athlete gets the chance to play their sport professionally, it made some of Bunch’s favorite memories. Since the SCAC was also so competitive in baseball, the conference competition also helped prepare Bunch for the tough competition he would face professionally.
“Hitting in the SCAC was much harder than hitting professional baseball,” Bunch said. “A lot of times baseball at this level is not played how you think it should be, it’s kind of a mind game and you question what’s going on. In professional baseball is straight-forward, by the book, you know what’s going to happen most of the time.”
When Bunch was released from the Rangers’ organization, Bunch called coach Scannell and told him he was coming back to San Antonio. Luckily, there was an available spot of Bunch to start his collegiate coaching career at his alma mater.
The duo helped keep Trinity Baseball at the tough level it had been at when Bunch was playing, and the two worked well together on a different kind of team than they were used to.
“It was awesome,” Bunch said. “If I didn’t love playing for him, I wouldn’t have come back to coach with him.”
Bunch said he and Scannell both share similar qualities they think make a great baseball program. From great performance in practices and in games, to great personalities on and off the field, the duo stuck together for 11 years.
Then the head coaching spot at Southwestern University opened up and Bunch took his chance on the very familiar program. He applied and was offered the position.
The 2017-2018 season will be the first year of the Bunch era and he is more than ready to start competing. His first conference series this season is set to play against his former team which may or may not bring an extra slew of emotions, but once the first pitch is thrown, Scannell and Bunch think of it as any other game.
Find Bunch donning yellow and black this season in Georgetown.
Previous SCAC Spotlights:
01|12|2018 - Russell McMindes, Trinity University
01|05|2018 - Dylan Harrison, Trinity University
12|15|2017 - Austin Carrola, Schreiner University
12|08|2017 - Cameron Hill, Trinity University
12|01|2017 - Janson Hightower, Southwestern University
11|17|2017 - Sam Davidson, Schreiner University
11|10|2017 - Mark Hudson, Austin College
10|27|2017 - Matt Barber, University of Dallas
10|20|2017 - Jeherme Urban, Trinity University
10|13|2017 - David Foley, Centenary College
10|06|2017 - Emily Daum, Trinity University
09|29|2017 - Ryan Dodd, Austin College