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Mike Fox Retires After 22 Years With UNC Baseball; Scott Forbes Steps In

Mike Fox UNC Baseball
Gerry Broome

A new era of baseball is beginning for the Tar Heels.

UNC-Chapel Hill announced Friday that Mike Fox, the winningest active coach in Division I college baseball, is retiring after 22 seasons on the job as the head coach of the Tar Heels.

In the same announcement, UNC Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham named Fox’s successor, promoting Scott Forbes to head coach. Forbes has spent 19 seasons on Fox’s coaching staff as an assistant.

“Mike's impact on college baseball has been legendary," Cunningham said in a statement. "He has connected generations of players and fans to Carolina baseball, and his commitment to his students in and out of the dugout is highlighted by the scores of players who have returned to Chapel Hill after professional careers to earn their degrees.”

Fox’s accomplishments over a total of 37 years of coaching baseball at the collegiate level are vast as he totaled 1,487 wins. The native of Asheville played at UNC as a second baseman in the 1970s and helped the team reach the College World Series. In 1989, as the head coach of Division III North Carolina Wesleyan, Fox won a national championship.

Prior to the 1999 season, Fox became head coach of the Tar Heels. The 1978 UNC graduate would accumulate a 908-406-1 record, and his teams captured three ACC titles and advanced to seven College World Series. Fox was named Baseball America’s Coach of the Year in 2008 and ACC Coach of the Year in 2018. He was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 2017. Fox was the first to lead an ACC team to four consecutive College World Series.

Fox, 64, also coached 105 players that wound up being drafted by Major League Baseball teams. A total of 27 Tar Heels coached by Fox went on to play in the majors, including all-stars in Matt Harvey, Andrew Miller and Kyle Seager.

"Life slowed down for Cheryl and me, and we discovered the enjoyment of a simpler life,” Fox said. “Thankfully I am healthy, and I feel this is the right time to step away from the rigors of coaching. I will miss the players, coaches, co-workers and our great fans, but it is time for me to be a full-time husband, father and grandfather, and do other things with my life.”

Forbes will be entering his 24th season as college coach. Fox coached him as a player at North Carolina Wesleyan, where he had a career .321 batting average.

"I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to continue to represent the University of North Carolina as the next head coach of the baseball program," Forbes said. "For nearly two decades I've had the privilege of pouring my heart and soul into Tar Heel baseball. I'm so proud of what we've accomplished with Coach Fox and incredibly excited about our future.”

Added Cunningham: “Scott Forbes is a talented recruiter, a strong communicator and has been instrumental in developing multiple facets of the program during his 20 years at Carolina. As head coach, he will continue to build on all that our baseball team has accomplished."

Mitchell Northam is a Digital Producer for WUNC. His past work has been featured at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, SB Nation, the Orlando Sentinel and the Associated Press. He is a graduate of Salisbury University and is also a voter in the AP Top 25 poll for women's college basketball.
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