KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Another Joyce is joining the University of Tennessee baseball team. Zach Joyce told WATE that he plans to return to the Vols next season.
“I’ve been a Tennessee fan. I was born at UT medical center actually,” said Joyce. “I’ve been a UT fan my whole life. Just honestly how supportive the coaches were was a huge part in recruiting. The first time when I was at Walter State just meeting the coaches, how genuine they were. You could just tell how much they care about you. It was a pretty easy decision to come back and play for coaches like that.”
The pitcher stepped away from the game in January of 2021 after having Tommy John Surgery.
“I was kind of honestly depressed, had some pretty bad anxiety going on so I just had to step away a little bit,” said Joyce.
Joyce wanted to take some time to work on his mental health.
“It’s a lot more common than people think especially with playing baseball it’s kind of hard to talk about,” said Joyce. “I know I’ve heard some other people talk about it, with male athletes you don’t really expect it, but a lot of people go through it.”
His love for the game started to return after watching his brother, Ben, pitch for the Vols.
“Taking that break made me realize I did miss the game and how much I love baseball,” said Joyce.
Zach Joyce started to work his way back while training at Farragut High School.
“My high school coach was watching and it kind of started spreading around,” said Joyce. “I think coach (Frank) Anderson heard about it before I was going to tell him and so we ended up talking about it and he was like we’re just happy you feel better.”