Andy Simunic, Chatt. State Baseball

He touched all the bases in his
professional baseball playing years despite coaches who saw very little in
Andy Semunic’s playing ability. T-ball, Little League, yeah, even his dad was a
baseball coach. I guess you can say that Andy hit a home run with five words in
mind: persistence and coach Greg Dennis. “Coming
out of high school I pretty much was not known by anyone and then that’s when
coach Dennis stepped in and he’d sent me a letter and I know nothing about
Chattanooga or Chattanooga State, being from, living in West Tennessee but he
obviously intrigued me because he was only the only coaches in the
country to be interested in me and that’s kind of how I ended up here.” It wasn’t until he graduated from high
school that Andy and others saw a lot of potential for this utility player I mean forget about being cut from the
teams in the past. You see, Andy was determined! I mean, a lot of people say to
bring about change you need to be willing to change. This
guy tried harder – especially during his years at Chattanooga State, which were
2004 to 2006. “I might not be the most talented but I can put the most work in, and and I think that’s where I kind of
decided hey, I want to play professional baseball. More importantly, I want to go
division one from Chattanooga State and that kind of…I think kind of being in the
bottom, you know I always said bottom of the barrel really pushed me to do want to
get better.” When Andy had a bad game or a bad season, for that matter, he always reminded himself that loss of
hope is temporary and this just might compel someone to pick yourself up and
move forward. Well, each game meant a lot of
improvements for Andy, even when he had a chance to play the Chattanooga Lookouts.
“Playing against the Lookouts was pretty neat. That was my sophomore year. We’re kind
of getting that taste of seeing what the you know professional players look like.
I remember Joey Votto was on that team for the Lookouts and obviously now he’s a
perennial all-star in a major league so getting to play against those kind of
guys, seeing the way they worked and the way they carry themselves was pretty
neat for all of us as a team.” Andy told Coach Dennis that his dream was to
someday play for University of Tennessee in Knoxville and then go on to the pros,
but didn’t Andy fail to make his high school team? Oh, yeah, that’s right,
persistence and a coach named Greg Dennis. “He will put you in position to
better yourself as a player both on and off the field and that, to me, is the most
important thing, you know, not only be successful on the field but to be successful off the field. And
he puts you in that position if you listen to what he says and kind of go by
his expectations you can you can go and do what you want here.” He did become a
Volunteer and then in the 17th round…”My best friend called and said, ‘hey man, Houston got you!’ I then was sent to Lexington, kentucky. 2013 I went to AAA –
Oklahoma City.” One fateful day, the coach said, ‘Andy can you pitch?’ “I said, absolutely! you know, pitching AAA game! I”d never pitched, I’m not a pitcher.”
Well, Andy turned out to be pretty good and began dreaming of pitching full-time but
two innings later…”I felt something go in my arm while I was pitching.” So surgery set
Andy back a while, but that darn persistence eventually took him back to
triple-a for Houston and then the Atlanta Braves triple-a team in Gwinnett
County, where, sadly, his baseball career ended for good and it all started at
Chattanooga State and a coach that saw something special in this player – maybe
not tons of talent, but persistence. “I’m thrilled to be a part of it. You know, I’m very thankful that I was
able to come to Chattanooga State and the the opportunities I was given here, not
only here, but you know, what, you know propelled me moving forward so it’s a
it’s an absolute honor I’m very thankful to be a part of the Chattanooga State family.” Motivational speaker Steve Maraboli once said: For Andy, that meant becoming a husband, a father, a police
officer and now today, a Tennessee Highway Patrolman. What a journey and
what a lesson we can all learn from a guy who gave it his all on the baseball
field and a coach who made sure he would try harder tomorrow. “I love his
passion and I love just anyone you know being interested in me as a collegiate
player so I jumped on this as soon as I could.” Welcome to the Chattanooga State
Athletic Hall of Fame!

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