After serving nine years at the helm of East Carolina's baseball team, the school announced Monday that it will not renew the contract of head coach Billy Godwin. That said, the Pirates are now searching for their 11th coach.
"It is our intention to hire someone," said director of athletics Jeff Compher in Monday's press release, "who will build a national program that will graduate our student-athletes and compete for conference and national championships."
The last time ECU reached an NCAA regional was 2011. In that appearance, the Diamond Bucs lost the regional opener to St. John's before earning wins in a game versus Navy and a rematch against St. John's. They were sent packing after being blown out 13-1 by Virginia.
Whether they've been part of ECU's coaching staff in the past or the Pirates are familiar with them through competition, ECU's program is familiar with plenty of coaches that fit that bill. Let's take a look at a few possible candidates for the job opening.
Scott Forbes, Assistant Head Coach and Pitching Coach at North Carolina
For the past nine season, Scott Forbes has served as UNC's assistant head coach. At the same time, he's also groomed the Tar Heel pitchers as some of the nation's elite.
He was instrumental in reaching the College World Series five times from 2006 to 2011. In both 2006 and 2007, UNC made it to the championship series. In both instances, the Tar Heels lost to Oregon State, but not without putting up a fight. In 2006, despite losing, the pitching staff gave UNC a great chance in the deciding Game 3 by only surrendering three runs on six hits. UNC ended up losing the final game 3-2, though.
Off the field, Forbes played an important role on the recruiting trail. With his help, UNC has recruited a top-15 class every year since 2007.
Forbes has also shown he can develop these prospects—especially pitchers. Andrew Miller, Alex White and Patrick Johnson rank as UNC's top strikeout pitchers in Tar Heel history. The three of them are the UNC pitchers to ever record over 300 career strikeouts.
Kevin McMullan, Associate Head Coach at Virginia
Kevin McMullan has been with Virginia's program for 11 years and served as the associate head coach for eight of them. In that span, he helped Virginia to 461 wins, which is an average just north of 46 victories a season.
McMullan has one of the best résumés when it comes to enhancing the program's national presence. In his time at Virginia, he has helped claim a pair of Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, won four NCAA Regional Championships and made two trips to the College World Series.
A big part of McMullan's success can be attributed to his ability to recruit some of the nation's best prospects and develop them into players that will contribute to the program's success. Part of the recruiting can be credited to the consistent success of Virginia's program. However, there's no arguing his ability to take the young talent ECU currently has, as well as the players he will help recruit, and cultivate them into players that will guide the team's success.
Nick Schnabel, Assistant Coach and Infielder Coach at Michigan
Nick Schnabel is a potential coach that is most familiar with ECU. He played under Keith LeClair and lettered twice as a second baseman. After graduating in 2003, he began coaching the Pirates in 2004 as a volunteering infielder coach and assistant hitting instructor.
After spending a few years coaching at Chipola College, West Point, Army and Liberty over the course of a few seasons, Schnabel returned to his alma mater. He guided four C-USA All-Freshman teams members and four All-Conference USA selections.
His recruiting efforts ranked in the top-50 by Collegiate Baseball three times. His player development talents proved impressive, too, as his offensive corps were among some of ECU's best. In two seasons, they ranked high in nine separate categories.
Nowadays, Schnabel is cultivating the talent of Michigan infielders. In addition, he's been serving as the recruiting coordinator for the Maize and Blue.
In his first season with the Wolverines, Schnabel coached freshman infielder Jacob Cronenworth to First Team Freshman All-American honors by the NCBWA and an All-Big Ten second team selection.
Schnabel is proven in many areas of coaching—recruiting, infield coaching and hitting instructing. Throw in his ties to the ECU community, and he'd be a perfect fit. The only detraction is his lack of experience on the national stage, which is a primary objective for Compher.