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Mercer baseball coaches fill free time with fishing

The team looked primed to repeat as conference champions before the coronavirus, but now, a few coaches are filling their afternoons on the water.

MACON, Ga. — A suspended spring sports season put an unexpected cap on Mercer baseball's hot start to the 2020 season, but the coaching staff has found a new way to fill their time. Trading in bats and gloves, for fishing poles.

Mercer baseball looked poised to repeat as Southern Conference champs after jumping out to a 13-3 start to the season, but the coronavirus cut short any hope for another title in 2020.

"I wanted to look at it more globally than selfishly and you know there's bigger things than just our sport, but in our world it was everything to us. Of course, we do get a chance to bring them all back next year which will be a fun time," head coach Craig Gibson said.

For head coach Craig Gibson and his staff, the grind doesn't stop. There's still work to be done in recruiting and scheduling, but it's not all work and no play.

"The morning's have been for work and the afternoon's we've been on the water a little bit," Gibson said.

Gibson and volunteer assistant coach Ian Humphrey have kept busy fishing and typically go several times a week in spots around Central Georgia. Gibson is the navigator and said Humphrey is the better fisherman.

"Now with nothing to do in the afternoons, we try to go as much as possible. It's just a step away from all the craziness that's going on. It's enjoyable out there. The places we go are really nice too so the scenery. It's a good view and it's a good time," Humphrey said.

Humphrey chronicles the fishing trips on his Twitter page and the pair started weekly tournaments. They even added Humphrey's puppy, Hugo, as part of their team.

"[Gibson] does the hard part, I just sit back and enjoy it. I bring my little puppy with me too and he's starting to enjoy it, too. It's a good time," Humphrey said. 

"That's the star of the crew and he's the fish whisperer so he kisses all the fish when we catch them," Gibson said.

It's easy for fans and onlookers to think the staff and players are all about baseball all the time, but Gibson and Humphrey say documenting their fishing adventures shows a different side of themselves.

"You know we're regular guys. We fish, we hunt, we do other things so I just think it gives us a little more scope. It makes us a little more well rounded. It's not all about sport and career, we've got other stuff going on also," Gibson said.

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