WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)–On April 29th, 2019 Randy Hood was named the next head baseball coach at UNCW, but you have to go back to 1994 to find his final season playing the game professional. That is a year in baseball that will forever be etched in history, brought back to life by ESPN’s ‘The Last Dance’ documentary on Michael Jordan.
“You know I was looking forward to it obviously because of the 94 baseball season being apart of it,”says UNCW Baseball coach Randy Hood “You know there was that potential of just rehashing a lot of memories through the ten episodes.”
Michael Jordan made the move to baseball in 1994 after signing a deal with the Chicago White Sox,but never in Hood’s wildest dream did he think they would end up being on the same team. The sports world took over Birmingham, Alabama that summer as Jordan mania began as he suited up as a Birmingham Baron.
“I think over the course of the whole summer we drew about 985,000 fans between home and away dates,”Hood said. “It was a fun experience, it was a media circus, it was just neat. I have a lot of memories from that whole summer.”
Hood made a lot of memories in Birmingham as he spent the better part of two seasons with the Barons, but a day in 1994 will forever be at the top. On a off day, Hood and his teammates suited up to play a pickup basketball game with Jordan. Hood was wearing his New Balance tennis shoes, which didn’t workout the best on the court. What happened the following day is something he will never forget.
“I was going into the clubhouse and saw a box sitting by my locker,”says Hood. “So, I walked over and opened it up and it was a pair of powder blue Jordan 9’s. They were brand spankin new! I just looked over at him and he goes ‘don’t ever wear those ugly New Balances again. This is what you wear if were going to play basketball’ and I was like yes sir.”
Hood still has those shoes to this day and the memories to look back 26 years later.