Prickly Pear, Yearbook of Abilene Christian University, 2002 Page: 94
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So Far...and So Good
nce upon a time in the history of Abilene
Christian University, there was only one certainty
in regards to Wildcat athletics. At the
start of every year, each ACU supporter knew that
the track program would contend for a national
championship. However, fans were always less certain
about the direction of the Wildcats' other athletic
But with his team's performance in the 2002 season,
ACU baseball coach Britt Boneau proved that the
track team was no longer the only program guaranteed
to generate national championship fever year
after year. And Bonneau and his players proved that
fact convincingly as they pieced together the best season
ever recorded in ACU baseball history.
The Wildcats were simply phenomenal in 2002,
finishing the year 45-14. Those 45 victories established
a new ACU record and by themselves served
as excellent prove of the way the 'Cats dominated
their competition. And more proof came in the form
of a third straight LSC regular-season championship,
as well as a third straight LSC post-season championship.
Then, as if that wasn't enough, ACU also
added a third straight appearance in the NCAA
Division II South Central region tournament, where
they advanced to the championship game for the first
time in Wildcat baseball history.
Now, a storybook ending would have featured
the 'Cats winning in that championship game, and
advancing to their first ever College World Series.
However, the harsh reality of sports rarely provides
such storybook fodder. Instead, reality finally set in
on Bonneau and company, as their season was cut
short one agonizing step away from baseball's promised
land. ACU lost in the regional championship
game to arch-rival Delta State University by the
slimmest of margins, falling to the Statesmen 3-2.
With that loss, Delta State had managed to end the
Wildcats' season for the second consecutive year.
"Delta State has a very good ball club, " Bonneau
said following the loss. "When we've met up in these
close games, they've managed to stay one step ahead
After being so close to achieving the goal he had
been working towars in each of his first five seasons
as the head coach at ACU, Bonneau could not help
but be disappointed by the close loss. The coach, his
staff and his players had all gone into the regional
tournament confident in their ability to advance
beyond the championship game. However, in the
aftermath of the disappointment, both coach and
players could still look beyond the frustrating defeat,
and enjoy with satisfaction the memories of the
record-setting season they had just concluded.
"Our team showed a great deal of character the
whole year," Bonneau said. "At one point in the season
we were struggling to just stay on top of our conference,
but we fought through the rough stretches
and ended up winning 15 of our last 17 games."
In 2002, ACU demonstrated just how far the baseball
program had come since Bonneau first took over
the reigns of the team in 1997. Starting in 1998,
Bonneau's players had strung together five consecutive
40-plus win seasons, continuing to stake their
claim as one of the best baseball programs in all of
Division II. In half a decade, the Wildcats had gone
from being a team few respected to being a team
everyone respected. And that respect was never more
evident than when the NCAA released the final 2002
rankings for the season.
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Abilene Christian University. Prickly Pear, Yearbook of Abilene Christian University, 2002, yearbook, 2002; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth39886/m1/97/: accessed February 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Abilene Christian University Library.