BRADENTON -- After getting drafted out of high school to play professional baseball, Al Corbeil found himself in junior college in Bradenton.
And when his first year started out with a stress fracture in his back, it looked like a decision to play JUCO ball at the then-Manatee Community College wasn't going to pan out.
But a reassuring influence stepped forward: the program's former head coach, Tim Hill.
"I had some doctors tell me, 'Might as well think about stop playing anymore,'" Corbeil said. "The turning point for me was right before the Christmas break when I had to meet with him and I was kind of contemplating what I was going to do, if I had to redshirt and he just told me ... 'You're going to come back here and you're going to hit in the middle of my lineup. And I'll see you after the break.'"
Corbeil took the message, returned and set several offensive records that still stand in the program's illustrious history that dates back to 1959.
And it's led to Corbeil's inclusion into the 2016 State College of Florida Hall of Fame, which takes place Thursday at IMG Academy Golf and Country Club. The induction ceremony begins at 7 p.m., with a cocktail hour preceding the festivities.
"In all honesty, I think there's probably quite a few guys that should probably ahead of me on the list," said Corbeil, who holds SCF hitting records for career hits, career RBIs, career batting average and single-season at-bats. "There's so much rich tradition there and so many great players that have gone through there. ... I was surprised I got the phone call."
Surprised or not, Corbeil is one of three inductees into this year's class, which also includes former SCF president Dr. Sarah Pappas and former infielder Ronald Cash, who is being honored posthumously.
Cash played for Hall of Fame head coach Bob Wynn, producing an All-American season in 1968 that yielded a JUCO World Series appearance.
He capped his career in Bradenton with a .346 batting average that led to transferring to Florida State University and becoming a draft pick
of the Detroit Tigers.
Pappas served as the college's fourth president from 1997-2008, a tenure that saw the softball team qualify for the national tournament in 2005 and the baseball team qualify for the JUCO World Series in 1999 and 2002.
That 1999 squad featured Corbeil, who set the single-season program record for hits with 110 en route to garnering All-Tournament honors at the World Series.
"The individual records are nice and they're still there, but more than anything was the team and team concept," said Corbeil, who was an outfielder.
"One of the reasons I had a great year there is because we had so many really, really good players. I had Josh Renick, who was hitting ahead of me in the lineup and he set the school record for stolen bases with 70-something stolen bases. And so I think I drove in 90-something runs that year, and that was because he was on base ahead of me. And then I had some great players behind me. ... That was the best team I've ever played on all-around on any level."
Corbeil, though, played under a different first name during his days in Bradenton when the program was known as the Manatee Community College Lancers.
Corbeil's middle name was his great-grandfather's first name.
So Hill decided that's what Corbeil would play under.
"Coach Hill just said, 'Al Corbeil? Azarias Corbeil, now that's a name that stands out,'" Corbeil said.
"And he said, 'That's a name people will remember.'"
Corbeil, who later married Hill's daughter Whitney, named his first-born son Azarias.
The couple have two children, and Corbeil followed his professional career with a stint as an assistant coach under Hill before becoming the head coach at Suncoast Conference rival Polk State.
"He was one of the best hitters that I've seen, since I've been here," said SCF head coach Tim Hill II, who was an assistant in the program in 1999 during Corbeil's sophomore campaign.
"There's been a lot of good ones, but Al could really hit. And everyone on the team knew it. Especially with two strikes. He was one of the best two strike hitters I've ever seen. It didn't faze him. Getting two strikes, it didn't matter to him. He was just a pure hitter."