Oakland coaches react to cancellations and limitations

Michael Pearce, Sports Editor

After the Horizon League canceled spring competition, flipping the sports world upside down, coaches and teams have been forced to adapt.

Some coaches, like men’s basketball Head Coach Greg Kampe, are not competing — but they are still recruiting. Other coaches, like men’s soccer Head Coach Eric Pogue, had competition cut short.

Pogue was one of the first coaches to do something in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. He canceled practices and told his players to head home. Men’s soccer has typically had multiple players from other countries, so travel was a concern.

To keep soccer fans up to date with the men’s soccer team, Pogue and graduate assistant Katie McAnarney are releasing a monthly newsletter to his Twitter (@CoachEricPogue). In his first coach’s column, Pogue paid respect to his seniors and thanked fans.

“We do and will continue to keep you, your families and your loved ones in our thoughts and prayers,” he said.

The monthly newsletter has stats, photos and stories from the season. It also features an alumni spotlight as well as events that the soccer team took part in.

For coaches like Kampe, who are still recruiting, they adapted to the social distancing rules. According to Paula Pasche of The Oakland Press, the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) has restricted all in-person recruiting until Wednesday, April 15.

“A player’s creative way is showing me a video. My creative way now is trying to come up with a virtual tour of the university, a virtual tour of the arena on game day, testimonials from players,’’ Kampe told Pasche. “It’s things like that we’re trying to do while they’re in their homes to get them to maybe commit to us without a visit.’’

Track and field Head Coach Katrina Brumfield took to Twitter as well to speak on the track and field seasons ending prematurely.

“It’s still hard to process what all has happened in the last 48 hours,” she said. “As we all reflect on these challenging times and the decisions being made, it hurts, but I know we will be resilient and move forward stronger.”

Paul Rice, cross country head coach and director of track and field, also posted a tweet expressing his emotions after competition was canceled league wide.

“A final decision was made today to end our season … before it even began,” he said. “Lots of hearts breaking — but lives, health and well-being must take precedent! Please join me in honoring these athletes for their hard work and commitment.”

Coaches and athletes have adapted to the new reality of competition ending and limited contact. The April 15 deadline for recruiting is subject to change, as new information is released daily, especially in Oakland County.

Oakland County was one of the first counties in Michigan to reach 100 confirmed cases. On Sunday, March 22, it was announced that the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Michigan reached over 1,000, and deaths reached nine.