URBANA — Will Eversole’s college baseball season came to a premature end on March 14 due to the response to COVID-19. Then on April 21, he learned Urbana University was shutting down for financial reasons.
The 2019 Versailles High School graduate and three-year varsity letter winner with the Tigers decided to attend Bowling Green State University and attempt to walk-on with the Falcons. Soon after, BGSU announced on May 15 the university was eliminating the baseball program effective immediately.
Eversole has likely stopped asking, “What’s next?”
“Trust me, it feels like every time I have a plan something happens,” Eversole said.
The plan remains attending Bowling Green and playing baseball as a club sport. Eversole plans to major in education with an emphasis on intervention specialist. His mother, Athenia Eversole, is an intervention specialist in the Versailles Exempted Village School District.
“In the end I knew what I was getting with Bowling Green’s education program because my mom went there,” said Eversole, adding his mother inspired him to pursue his career choice. “I know how good of a teacher she is and what she got from BG.”
Eversole is one of four area athletes affected by Urbana University’s closure. Basketball player Kami McEldowney (Versailles), golfer Dana Jones (Riverside) and acrobatics and tumbling athlete Makenzie Ranly (Fort Loramie) also saw their programs ended. Former Sidney High School girls basketball coach Megan Mummey was a women’s basketball assistant coach.
“We were a young team on the up,” Eversole said. “Our sophomore and freshman class was super good combined with the older guys we had. This was supposed to be a very good year for us. It definitely helps knowing I can compete at that level. … I just want to thank coach Jake Oester and the staff at Urbana, how they helped me mature as a baseball player and a man. He’s a great person and a great coach. I wish him and all my teammates the best.”
McEldowney, a 2018 Versailles grad, said last week she was close to announcing a decision. Schools that recruited her out of high school reached out to McEldowney immediately, as well as a handful of out-of-state programs. Social distancing and closed campuses hampered McEldowney in making visits.
“Family was probably the most important thing with staying close to home,” said McEldowney, who majors in early childhood education and minors in special education. “I wanted to stay close to Ohio or Indiana within like three hours.”
McEldowney started 27 of the 28 games she appeared in for the 17-12 Blue Knights. She averaged 8.1 points, 2.9 assists and made a team-high 41 three-pointers. The four-year varsity starter at Versailles was a member of the Tigers’ state championship team as a freshman and reached the state finals her junior and senior seasons.
McEldowney heard about Urbana’s closing on a Zoom meeting with coach Andrea McCloskey and teammates. Eversole found out in an email.
“I woke up and I was starting on homework,” McEldowney said. “I was one of the first ones to join (the meeting) with one of my teammates. We saw our coach just bawling and crying. … She told us how Urbana shut down and how it was so unexpected. Our coach didn’t know. Nobody knew. Everybody broke down into tears. It was really heartbreaking and shocking to everybody.
“I’m definitely going to stay in touch with them because they are like my family. Some of my best friends are from there. Not just the teammates I had, overall the whole school gave me a family. I want the best of them just as much as I want the best for me, too.”
Eversole, a third baseman, played in three games for the Blue Knights (2-10) and started two. He scored a run and had one run batted in four plate appearances.
Though his college career has likely ended, Eversole plans to stay involved with club baseball and then coaching after college.
“My plan has always been to coach. … I don’t want to lose the love I have for the game. Coaching has always been in my future,” Eversole said.
“Playing at Versailles helped me be a winner. That’s the main thing I got from (playing at Versailles). The culture that’s built in the Midwest Athletic Conference and the culture that’s built at Versailles is make it to state, make it close to state, win the MAC or it’s not a successful year. Everybody wants to win and everyone is so talented around this area in every single sport. You want to be the best.”