Championships The Goal For Pawlowski

New Auburn baseball coach John Pawlowski talks about his goals for the Auburn program and his expectations.

Auburn, Ala.--It took a full month, but in the end Auburn got the man it was looking for as on Friday Auburn Athletics Director Jay Jacobs announced the hiring of John Pawlowski from College of Charleston. With a record of 338-192-1 in nine years at the Southern Conference school, assistant coaching ties to Clemson and Arizona State with trips to regionals and the College World Series, as well as major league baseball experience as a pitcher, Jacobs says Pawlowski had everything they were looking for in a new coach.

"You feel like you hit a grand slam," Jacobs says. "We set out some criteria. The ideal candidate would be somebody that pitched and knew the pitching game. Another component of that would be someone that has played or coached in the SEC or the ACC and somebody with big league experience on some level. On paper he just popped right out. You see it and then you begin to look at his numbers. He's had 16 players drafted the last two years I think and nine last year.

"Then you sit down in front of him and you've got this dynamic young man that has the same values that we have. He just fits right in with what we said we wanted. We were going to hire a guy that would represent this Auburn baseball team, this athletic department, this university and the community and he just exceeded in all those areas."

Struggling as a program without a SEC Tournament appearance in five seasons, Pawlowski is taking over a program that took some strides in each of the last two years under Tommy Slater but just couldn't get over the hump. With talented freshmen Grant Dayton, Cory Luckie, Hunter Morris, Trent Mummey, Brian Fletcher and David Cunningham all back, Pawlowski says he's excited about the future and getting to know his new team.

"I know they had a young team," Pawlowski says. "They are a talented group of players. I have watched Auburn baseball and watched what they've done. I've tried to get involved with the numbers and stats. I'll have to get more familiar with each and every one of those guys. They came here for a reason. They came here to get better and be a part of a special program. I intend to help them achieve our goals.

"I have high expectations of myself and high expectations of this Auburn baseball program," he adds. "Regardless of what they have done in the past our goals remain the same. We want to compete in the SEC. We want to move this program onward and upward. We want to win championships. We want to play on the national level. We want to play out in Omaha. You see what is going on right now and that is exciting to me. It's a challenge I look forward to."

A pitching coach by trade, Pawlowski is coming to an Auburn team that struggled on the mound under Slater at times. That was particularly evident in 2008. With his past success as both a pitcher and coach, Pawlowski says he'll continue to work with that part of the game as well as have him imprint on the entire team.

"I'm going to be heavily involved in every aspect of it," Pawlowski says. "My forte as a coach has been pitching. I pitched in the minor leagues and pitched in the major leagues. I had a very interesting major league career. It was fun and I learned a great deal about pitching.

"In college baseball as big as these kids are and as offensive as this game is, one of the keys is you've got to learn how to pitch," he adds. "I'm going to involved in every aspect of that. Certainly I'll be involved."

There were several players in attendance at Pawlowski's introduction including pitchers Paul Burnside and Austin Hubbard along with Cunningham and several others. Coming back for his senior year after two injury-plagued seasons, Burnside says he's excited about the chance to finish on a high note with his new coach.

"New beginnings are always exciting," Burnside says. "It doesn't get much better than this right now. He comes in with the credentials. He's been every where we want to go. He's been to the College World Series, he's been in the big leagues. I'm definitely excited. It's going to be fun making a new start. We're looking forward to the next few weeks and getting a chance to know him."

The terms of Pawlowski's contract with Auburn are five years at $300,000 per year. There are also incentives for each season that would pay him extra. For example a SEC West title is $5,000. Win the SEC regular season or tournament and it's worth $15,000. Winning a NCAA Super Regional and advancing to the College World Series comes in at $20,000 while a national championship is worth $60,000. Pawlowski says a world series berth is something he sees in the future for the Tigers.

"I think it's a great opportunity," Pawlowski says. "With the players they have in place, these guys up here, the commitment these guys have made. There is no reason why Auburn baseball can't climb back to the top and get back to Omaha where they need to be and compete for a national championship. That's how I feel, but it's going to take everybody."

Pawlowski says his first order of business will be to get on the phone and contact as many of the current Auburn players as he can in the next two days as well as the signees that are expected to come in this fall. He notes that several players that were drafted will be among the first called. He also notes that he'll begin to work on a staff to have in place, but that may not be finalized until College of Charleston makes a decision on the new coach.

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