CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - For the first time in 16 years, the UVa baseball team has kicked off fall baseball practice without pitching coach Karl Kuhn.

Last month, Kuhn left Virginia to be the new head coach at Radford.

"The guy has served this program with loyalty and commitment and hard work for 16 years and did a phenomenal job here," says UVa head coach Brian O'Connor.   "He was a big part of the success that we have had in our baseball program the last 16 years so I'm happy for him and his family. Certainly when you lose a colleague and not only a colleague but a dear friend it's tough."

"It's definitely tough, it's hard to get used to," says UVa fifth-year senior pitcher Evan Sperling.  "Just his presence and his comedic attitude day and how he goes about his day and his work, we're definitely going to miss him. We're excited to do things a little differently than we have in the past and I think there's a good vibe around here now."

Chesdin Harrington says,  "It's been different, we've definitely adjusted some things. I miss him. He was someone that was influential in my baseball career, and also my life too and I'm certainly going to miss him. What he's done for this program is unmatched. I'm so excited for him professionally, he's getting a job that's going to elevate him and his career. I certainly miss him but we're going to be all right."

"I think we feel good," adds Sperling.  "We got a new crop of new guys that have brought a lot of positivity and a lot of energy and we have old guys that are hungry to get into the postseason that have never been in the postseason before. I think that's an important aspect of our team this year.

Coach Brian O'Connor says Virginia is conducting a national search for Kuhn's replacement. 

In the meantime O'Connor says he plans to split pitching coach duties with assistant coach Matt Kirby.