FIU head baseball coach Mervyl Melendez had a solid first year in 2017 as the head baseball coach at FIU, as the Panthers went 31-27. Melendez, a Bethune-Cookman graduate and one of the few HBCU graduates to coach at a non-HBCU on the Division I level, got his debut off on the right foot as the Panthers shut out Jacksonville State 5-0. The Panthers then hit a rough patch, ultimately losing the series to JSU and losing six of their next seven before winning seven in a row and nine of their next 10, including two against rival Miami, perennially one of the best baseball programs in the country.
Melendez and the Panthers defeated Bethune-Cookman 3-1 on April 4 and then lost to the Wildcats 5-3 in an emotional return home to his alma mater.
BOXTOROW host Donal Ware had a chance to catch up with Melendez prior to the Panthers 2018 opener against Missouri and talked with him about the expectation for the Panthers this season, coaching at Bethune-Cookman and Alabama State and having success at both and about the progress made in his native Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria.