The Times West Virginian

Sports

June 17, 2014

Norman realizes dream, signs with Marshall

FAIRMONT — Every kid has a dream when they’re young.

Some want to be firemen; some want to be astronauts. But Austin Norman? He wanted to play college baseball.

The first-team All-State selection in football and baseball made his dream come true Monday as he signed to play baseball with Marshall University.

For Norman, the lingering desire to play college baseball started out early in life.

Asked when he first knew that’s what he wanted to do, Norman smiled and said, “As a little kid.” 

“Growing up, I always wanted to play college baseball. I've had a good two years and Division I came around and I took it,” Norman said of his decision.

After throwing for over 2,000 yards during the football season and blasting 12 home runs while hitting for a .418 average, Norman could have gone in multiple directions when making the ultimate decision for his collegiate career.

But it was always baseball in the forefront.

“I’ve had people always tell me to stick to baseball, but I played all three between football, basketball and baseball,” he said. “But I’ve finally found one that I love and I'm glad it's baseball.”

While he signed, Norman was surrounded by the four other senior baseball players as well as various other coaches, friends and family members.

As Norman addressed the media, he even had asked to have the cameras turned back on so that he could thank all of them.

“They’ve been there through the hard times, and there are many more to come,” he said afterward, “and they’ll be there for that, too.”

Norman will play in a familiar place for the next few seasons, having played games at Appalachian Power Park where Marshall plays its home games in each of the last four seasons as the Polar Bears made trips to the state baseball tournament.

What’s more familiar will be his position on the field, as he’ll look to crack the Thundering Herd lineup in the outfield.

Norman, though, believes that his work ethic will land him a starting spot before too long.

“Hard work and always doing the best I can,” Norman said when asked what he could take away from his time at Fairmont Senor. “Hopefully with those I can get a starting position.”

That work ethic was made more than evident this past year as the senior battled through a painful ankle injury at the end of the Polar Bears’ football season.

But through the countless hours of rehab and offseason workouts, Norman always kept his eye on the prize.

“Never did I think I lost my shot (to play a Division I sport),” Norman said.

Along with playing baseball at Marshall, Norman will major in education, saying that the school “sold” him on its education program during a visit before his commitment.

Along with teaching, Norman plans to coach any sport which comes available to him, just like he did when choosing which sports to play.

That’s if MLB doesn’t come calling first.

Email Matt Welch at mwelch@timeswv.com or follow on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.

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