Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

Five possible coaching goals for your Texas baseball coaching search

By meerna Jun25,2024
Five possible coaching goals for your Texas baseball coaching search

After eight years, Texas and head baseball coach David Pierce parted ways Monday, and the Longhorns don’t have to hire a baseball coach often: Pierce was only the sixth Longhorns coach since 1911, and one of those coaches was a fill-in for Bibb Falk during World War II .

Since Chris Del Conte became Texas’ athletic director in December 2017, he hasn’t shied away from hiring new players when it comes to coaching changes. His last three players – Stein Metzger in beach volleyball, Bob Bowman in men’s swimming and diving and Laura Ianello in women’s golf – won national championships elsewhere. Chris Beard (Texas Tech), women’s basketball player Vic Schaefer (Mississippi State), softball’s Mike White (Oregon) and track and field’s Edrick Floréal (xx) were already established winners across the country when Del Conte called to announce he was coming to Texas .

“It has been an honor and a privilege to lead this program for the past eight years,” Pierce said in a statement released by the school.

Who will take over at Texas and lead the Longhorns to the SEC? Here are some intriguing options.

Texas A&M head coach Jim Schlossnagle

As long as Pierce’s job security was a topic of discussion, Schlossnagle’s name kept popping up on message boards and on social media as a possible replacement. Schlossnagle compiled a 946-454 record and made seven trips to the College World Series in 23 seasons as head coach of UNLV, TCU and Texas A&M. He also worked for Del Conte at TCU.

But will Schloss, 53, leave College Station suddenly? Texas A&M plays Tennessee for the national championship on Monday night in the College World Series title game. It would take a significant buyout to lure him away from A&M. Under his contract, Schlossnagle’s buyout is twice his annual salary if he goes to a public school. This year he will earn $1.35 million.

Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello

If Schlossnagle is a candidate, why not Vitello? He led Tennessee to a 59-13 season and the Volunteers earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. In his seven years as head coach, his record with the Vols is 294-112. Vitello, 45, also once served as Schlossnagle’s assistant at TCU.

But, like Schlossnagle, why would a coach leave a team that will either win the national championship tonight or remain on the cusp of greatness? History says Vitello wouldn’t do that. Since the first College World Series in 1947, only three coaches — Wake Forest’s Taylor Sanford in 1955, Michigan’s Don Lund in 1962 and Oregon State’s Pat Casey in 2018 — have not returned to defend a national championship next season. And only one CWS runner-up coach (Ray Tanner of South Carolina in 2012) did not return. And none of these coaches left to take a job at another school.

Clemson head coach Erik Bakich

Citing a source, Clemson Insider reported Monday that “Bakich has no plans to leave Clemson.” Still, it’s easy to see why he might be an attractive candidate for Texas. In two seasons at Clemson, Bakich twice won 44 games and hosted a regional tournament. Bakich, 46, has yet to lead Clemson to the CWS, but he led Michigan to the championship series in 2019.

Had he been lured by the Longhorns, Bakich’s Texas debut would have been delayed. He will be suspended for the first two games of the 2025 season due to his ejection in Clemson’s season-ending loss to Florida.

LSU head coach Jay Johnson

If Del Conte wants to hire another champion to be UT’s next coach, Johnson deserves consideration. The 47-year-old won an NCAA title with LSU in 2023, and his Arizona team was national runner-up in 2016.

Will it happen? Probably not. LSU has been very active in the transfer portal this offseason, and Johnson himself dismissed speculation about the Texas job when releasing a press release earlier this month.

Texas Director of Player Development Troy Tulowitzki

Tulowitzki has never been a head coach before. He wasn’t a paid assistant either. These are two big red flags for a job of this size.

However, the former MLB star is a fan favorite throughout Austin, and some of UT’s best offensive seasons came during seasons in which he worked on the UT staff as a volunteer assistant coach or director of player development. Tulowitzki was reportedly considered for head coaching positions at Long Beach State, Miami and USC in recent years.

When is Texas hiring? History lesson

Under Del Conte, Texas has typically been quick to fill vacancies in its athletic department:

∙ Texas fired head football coach Tom Herman and announced the hiring of Steve Sarkisian on the same day in January 2021.

∙ Texas hired Schaefer out of Mississippi State just two days after UT announced that Karen Aston would not return in August 2020.

∙ In the spring of 2021, it took Texas less than a week to replace men’s basketball coach Shaka Smart with Beard, who led Texas Tech to the Final Four in 2019.

One notable exception occurred for softball in 2018. Connie Clark’s long tenure as Longhorns coach ended on May 23 of this year. White’s hiring wasn’t announced until June 25.

Ianello was recently poached from Arizona just days after Ryan Murphy announced his resignation as UT women’s golf coach. Ianello told reporters that Del Conte courted her with an unexpected call and a 24-hour window to accept or reject the offer.

By meerna

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