by Duane Cochran for FightingFalcons.com
Change is nothing new to Trevor Funk.
Four schools in four years and a couple of position changes might have taken its toll on the average student athlete. Funk, however, isn't your average student athlete.
Instead, he's much more and these days he's found a comfortable home playing shortstop for Fairmont State's baseball team. Both on paper and on the field, it's been a match made in heaven.
“Trevor is just an outstanding young man whom we're very happy to have in our program,” said FSU coach George Yanchak. “He's so athletic that he just tends to make things look very easy out there on the field. Our guys love him. He's a great teammate and a very good mentor to our younger players. Whatever we ask of him he delivers.
“He came here wanting to play second base, but we had a need at shortstop so we put him there and he's done a great job for us. I really can't say enough good things about him.”
Funk hails from Culpeper, Va., where he spent his first three years of high school playing for Culpeper High. Heading into his senior season the school split and a new school – Eastern View High School was built. Funk was in Eastern View's attendance area and played his final season of prep baseball there.
“It was a little tough going to a new school as a senior, but the good thing about it is everything was brand new so that was pretty cool,” said Funk.
Coming out of high school he signed to play college baseball for Alderson-Broaddus – a place where the Funk family name was very well known. His great uncle Jack Funk was a former longtime standout baseball coach for the Battlers and has the school's baseball field named after him. His cousin, J.D. Long, is A-B's associate athletic director and the school's head softball coach.
The younger Funk wasted little time making his own name for A-B on the diamond. He started 37 of the Battlers' 41 games in the spring of 2010 as a true freshman at second base, batted .360 with 29 RBI and helped lead A-B to a 27-14 overall record.
But after one season in Philippi Funk, who would like to attend physical therapy school in the future, was looking for a new home.
“The main reason I was looking to transfer is I wanted to major in exercise science and A-B didn't offer that,” said Funk, whose parents Brian and Sandy Funk ironically are both FSU graduates. “Fairmont did and here I am. I'm very happy with my decision to come here. Fairmont welcomed me right from the start and I've always felt very comfortable here. My parents are both graduates of Fairmont, but they stayed out of it and let me make my own decision. It was 100 percent up to me and I have no regrets whatsoever.
“I like our team this year. I honestly think we have so much potential. We've got a good mixture of experience and youth and some very talented players. I think if we can put it all together we can do some good things this spring.”
Funk, without question, is one of the big keys to Fairmont's fortunes. He's batting .316 with five doubles, one home run and 17 RBI. He currently leads the Falcons in runs scored (27), hits (30), walks (20) and stolen bases (14-of-16).
“Maturity, I think, more than anything has helped me develop as a player,” said Funk. “Right now I'm a lot more comfortable on the field and I think it's showing. I also put a lot of hard work in during the off season. I play in a wooden bat league back home during the summers and in the fall here we have fall baseball. In the winter I'm hitting in the cage, taking ground balls and lifting as much as I possibly can. College athletics is pretty much a 12-month job if you really want to be successful.”
One person who helped Funk make the adjustment to college baseball and continues to aid him in improving his game on the field is Fairmont State assistant coach Mark Ruiz, who was A-B's starting senior shortstop when Funk started at second base for the Battlers as a freshman.
“To be honest I've had a lot of support since I've been here from all of my teammates and the coaches, but Mark Ruiz, who I played with one season at A-B, has had a big influence on me,” said Funk. “He really helped me make the adjustment to college ball when I was a freshman. Then he came here and joined the coaching staff and I just continue to learn from him pretty much every day.”
Ruiz says it's been enjoyable for him watching Funk mature and grow as a player.
“There's no doubt he's progressed as a player,” said Ruiz. “Obviously I saw him as a freshman when we played together and he put up good numbers back then, but he's the type of kid who is always wanting to improve and make himself better.
“He's really a great kid to coach because he listens and takes what you're trying to teach and tell him to heart. I really enjoy working with him and it's been fun for me seeing him make the strides that he has as a player. He's a very talented individual and I know our guys on this team really trust and believe in him which goes a long way.”
Off the field religion plays a big role in Funk's life. The Falcons have a Bible study group on the team which he regularly attends.
“That is a big part of my life,” said Funk with a smile. “I grew up in the church and I go every opportunity that I can. Right now it's kind of tough because we're in season, but that's definitely an important part of my life. It's something, I think, which helps you get through and deal with both the good times and the bad.”
And for Funk right now, the good times are far outweighing the bad.