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Aidan Haugh at UNC

l-r: Aidan Haugh sophomore season at FTCC, junior season at UNC.

Aidan Haugh ended up at FTCC after deciding to play college baseball in May of his senior year of high school. He took a chance on a twitter post about a showcase FTCC was hosting in July and was the only player to show up to the camp. After he threw 10 pitches, pitching coach, Reggie Marshall offered him on the spot. 

From there, Aidan came in to FTCC and broke the school record for strikeouts in his freshman year. He pitched 66 innings for the Trojans in his first year helping his team surpass the previous wins record of 9 overall wins to 22 overall wins. 

“My experience at FTCC was amazing. My time here is where I was really introduced to the game of baseball and found my passion for it,” said Haugh. “I never had a love for the game growing up and through high school, but playing at FTCC is where I fell in love with the game. Playing for such caring and fun coaches and making lifelong friends is what really stands out to me when I think back on my two years.”

Aidan’s second year was nothing short of the same. He led the team in strikeouts, whiffing 76 batters in 44 innings, which was catching the eye of major league scouts and division one recruiters who started filling the stands at games. 

“My staff and I started taking phone calls from about every school in the country along with every pro major league baseball team. It was a crazy time, but very special time because we could see all of his hard work coming to fruition,” said Nic Love, Head Baseball Coach at FTCC. “As a first year head coach, Aidan was a gift for us and the program. Early in the fall we saw a guy with a ton of upside who was still very raw and then over the course of just a couple months, we saw a huge uptick in his pitch development and velocity.”

Aidan being a native of Zebulon, North Carolina, grew up around Chapel Hill and jumped on the opportunity to visit the Tar Heels.

“The recruiting experience from FTCC to UNC was surprisingly quick and easy. I remember talking on the phone with Coach Gaines (Assistant Head Coach/Recruiting Coordinator at UNC) on a Thursday or Friday and he sent Coach Howell (Director of Pitching Performance & Development at UNC) to come watch me play on Saturday. I then visited campus that Monday and was offered on my visit and I accepted that night,” said Haugh.

Aidan Haugh

Aidan Haugh pitching in his junior year at UNC.

Once Aidan started his junior season at UNC Chapel Hill he noticed the major difference in the competition level right away. It was an adjustment for him to be playing teams like Wake Forest and ECU and not just watching them. 

“I remember thinking in the fall that I might never pitch because there were so many good pitchers on the team. I am surrounded by extremely talented athletes who are all capable of playing at this level, but I trusted that I was prepared and FTCC gave me the experience I needed to have success at this level,” said Haugh. 

Trusting the process paid off for Aidan as he moved his way up to the game three starter for Chapel Hill. He started eight games on the bump and pitched a total of 54 innings on the year with 61 strikeouts. 

“Never in my life would I have thought I would be playing division one baseball. I certainly dreamed of it as a kid, but that always seemed like a distant dream that would never become reality,” said Haugh. 

Aidan Haugh

Aidan Haugh pitching at Trojan Field on Military Appreciation Day.

The reality came in full force as Aidan had the opportunity to not only be a part of postseason play at regionals and super regionals, but he had a once in a lifetime opportunity to play on the biggest stage in college baseball. Only eight teams make it to the Men’s College World Series in Omaha every year and this year UNC Chapel Hill was on that list. 

“Going from FTCC to Omaha sounds like something out of a movie. It was like a dream come true and the support from all the fans was unbelievable,” said Haugh. “One of my favorite things about playing in Omaha was all the support and contact from previous teammates and friends from FTCC. That was really heart-warming because it made me realize how many people are rooting for me and my team that I didn’t even realize.”

UNC faced off with the University of Virginia in game one and came out on top 3-2 over fellow ACC opponent. In game two, UNC fell to, the eventual National Champion, the University of Tennessee. This led to a game three in Omaha, which put Aidan on the mound for the first time on the Greatest Show on Dirt. 

“I wasn’t nervous to start that game actually. I felt comfortable and confident going into that start and I felt really good on the mound when I was pitching. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the job done that day, but it really gave me the confidence to know that the moment wasn’t too big for me and that experience will prepare me for more moments just like it,” said Haugh. “I look back at that game and take away as many learning experiences as I can.”

Aidan graduated from FTCC with his Associate of Arts degree and is now pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sport Science at UNC.

“FTCC is an amazing school and not just the baseball program. FTCC did a lot of things to make students and student-athletes feel welcome and like they belong. I can tell that the school cares about it’s community and that is why FTCC is going to continue to grow and to be an amazing school,” said Haugh.