Monday Morning Coffee Break

Mississippi State's Greg Byrne will be leading the search for a new head baseball coach to take over for Ron Polk who will be retiring at the conclusion of this season. So, who will he hire? After looking at every head coach in D-IA college baseball, here's a list I came up of 15 likely candidates, some long-shots and some that may very well be the front-runners.

The list is in alphabetical order.

Mike Anderson - Nebraska Head Coach (5+ Years from 2003 to present)

Personal Honors - Two-time conference coach of the year and national coach of the year once.

Players Honors (All-American Only) - 10 of his players have been selected All-Americans.

Overall and Conference Record - His record at Nebraska prior to 2008 is 214-100 overall and 81-54 in conference play. Three of his first five teams have won 40+ or more games, including 57 in 2005.

Championships - Two of his teams have won the Big 12 title while the other three ended up 3rd, 4th and 8th in the conference.

Postseason Play - His teams have appeared in 4 regionals (hosted 3, won 1, reached title game three times), 1 super regional (hosted it, won it) and 1 College World Series. His teams overall record in NCAA post-season play is 11-8.

Hitting - During his 8 years as the Nebraska assistant coach in charge of hitting, his teams hit in the .320+ to .330+ range 5 of the 8 seasons. Since he has become head coach, his teams have hit .304, .281, .302, .310 and .288. And they have only averaged over 7 runs per game once during that span.

Pitching - Although known as a hitting coach during his assistant coaching days at Nebraska from 1995 to 2002, when he became head coach Nebraska's pitching ERA went down dramatically. In his five years, his teams ERA have been 3.79, 3.76, 2.69, 3.48 and 4.60.

Fielding - A strong advocate of defense, three of his teams have had fielding percentages of .975, .975 and .974, the three best fielding percentages in Nebraska history.

Collegiate Baseball Top 40 Recruiting Rankings 2005-2007 - 2005 - Unranked; 2006 - Unranked; 2007 - Unranked.

Pro Players - In his five years as head coach, 33 of his players have been drafted by MLB with 3 (Drew Anderson, Joba Chamberlain, Alex Gordon) having already reached the Major Leagues.

Misc - Served as an assistant coach at Nebraska prior to taking the head job. A 1990 graduate of Northern Colorado. 42 years old. Has not ties to the south.

Five Years Prior To Hiring Him - Overall record was 214-92, 1 Big 12 championship, 4 regionals, 2 College World Series.

Current Season - His 2008 team is currently 40-14-1 and 17-9-1 in conference play and ranked as high as 7th in the nation. The team batting average is .278, the team ERA is 4.01, and the fielding percentage is .971. His team will host an NCAA Regional this year and possibly be one of the 8 national seeds. This will make the 5th time in his six years (4th to host) that his teams have made it to an NCAA Regional.

Analysis - Although he doesn't sign highly ranked recruiting classes, he appears to do an outstanding job of evaluating players and then developing them. While previously known as a hitting coach when he was an assistant coach at Nebraska, once he became their head coach he put the emphasis on pitching and defense and has won big doing that to the tune of almost 43 victories per year. He's probably a long-shot for the MSU job since he's going into his 14th year at Nebraska and has no ties to the south.


John Cohen - Kentucky Head Coach (4+ Years from 2004 to present.)

Personal Honors - Named the SEC and National Coach of the Year once.

Players Honors (All-American Only) - He has had 2 All-Americans.

Overall and Conference Record - His record at Kentucky prior to 2008 is 131-93, including a 47-71 SEC conference record.

Championships - His teams have won 1 SEC Championship (2006) while his other teams have finished 6th, 6th and 5th in the Eastern Division of the SEC.

Postseason Play - His teams have appeared in 1 NCAA regional (hosted it) and have a 2-2 NCAA postseason record. They didn't advance to the super regional or the College World Series.

Hitting - His teams averaged .288 his first year, .300 his second, .299 his third and .320 his fourth season. During the last few years, they have been the leader or among the top 2 or 3 in on-base %, walks, hit by pitch, sacrifice bunts and sacrifice flies.The past three years, his teams have averaged 7.1, 8.2 and 8.5 runs per game despite hitting just 39 and 44 home runs in two of those years.

Pitching - Although his pitching staffs of late have been middle of the pack in the SEC ERA-wise after being in the bottom half of the conference (5.86, 5.23, 3.95, 4.56) they have been the best in the SEC when it comes to not giving up walks in 2006, 2007 and in the current 2008 season.

Fielding - His teams fielding percentages during his first four years have been fairly low at .959, .952, .965 and .960, although there has been dramatic improvement in that category during 2008 with a .980 fielding percentage.

Collegiate Baseball Top 40 Recruiting Rankings 2005-2007 - 2005 - Unranked; 2006 - 21st; 2007 - 31st.

Pro Players - He has had 16 players drafted or signed as free agents by MLB teams.

Misc - He has very strong ties to the south. He played his college baseball at Mississippi State, coached at Northwestern (La) State as head coach, and as an assistant coach at Florida and Missouri. He is from Tuscaloosa, AL, as is his wife.

Four Years at Kentucky Prior To Hiring Him - The overall record was 101-122 with no postseason play.

Current Season - His 2008 team is currently 42-17 (16-14 in SEC play) and ranked as high as 19th in the nation. The team batting average is .320 (1st in SEC. 8.3 runs per game), the team ERA is 3.63 (1st in SEC), and the fielding percentage is .973 (2nd in SEC). Although they won't host a regional, they will earn an at-large berth, the 2nd time in the 5 years that Cohen has been head coach at Kentucky.

Analysis - In a program not known for success in the SEC, he has now won more than 34 games three times in his first five years, including 44 wins in 2006 and currently 42 in 2008. He is an exceptional recruiter. Known as a very good hitting coach with an aggressive style of play, he doesn't rely as much on home runs to score runs, but more on getting players on base anyway possible and then moving them over with hits, bunts and sacrifice bunts and flies. His pitching and defense are normally in the middle of the pack of the SEC. He has strong ties to MSU since he was a player there, but has recently signed a new contract with Kentucky. Considering both he and his wife are from Tuscaloosa, the Alabama baseball job could be a factor in his decision. Despite that, you have to think he's one of the front-runners for the MSU job if he wants it, especially considering the excitement he would bring to the job and fanbase.


Gary Gilmore - Coastal Carolina Head Coach (12+ Years from 1996 to present)

Personal Honors - He has been selected Big South Coach of the Year four times.

Players Honors (All-American Only) - Six of his players have earned All-American honors.

Overall and Conference Record - His teams have an overall record of 457-263 and 165-86 in conference play. His teams have won 40 or more games 7 times, including 6 of the last 7 seasons. He has also had two teams win 50 games during that period.

Championships - His teams have won 4 Big South Conference championships. His other teams have finished 2nd 4 times, 3rd 2 times and 4th 2 times.

Postseason Play - Six of his last teams have advanced to regional play (hosted one), all within the last seven years, although none of them have moved onto super regional play. His teams have a 7-12 postseason won-lost record.

Hitting - During his 12 years at Coastal Carolina, eight of his teams have batted over .300, including five that hit .313 or higher. In the last seven seasons his teams have averaged 7.8, 7.4, 6.8, 6.9, 7.5, 6.0 and 7.2 runs per game.

Pitching - Over the course of the last few years, when his teams have been so successful, their ERA has usually been in the 3+ to 4+ runs per game range.

Fielding - In the last six years, his teams have fielded in the .963 to .971 range.

Collegiate Baseball Top 40 Recruiting Rankings 2005-2007 - 2005 - Unranked; 2006 - Unranked; 2007 - Unranked.

Pro Players - Over 60 of his players have advanced to pro baseball including 7 who have made it to the Major Leagues.

Misc - His team plays in a low-rated RPI conference. His contract extends through the 2015 season. He played his college baseball for Coastal Carolina.

Five Years Prior To Hiring Him - The overall record was 144-145 with 1 regional.

Current Season - His current team is 47-12 (17-3 in conference play) and ranked as high as 13th in the nation. The team batting average is .324, the team ERA is 3.99, and the team fielding percentage is .971. His team will host one of the 16 NCAA Regional sites, the second year in a row that they have hosted. This is the 7th time in the last 8 years that they have been selected to play in the NCAA Regionals.

Analysis - His teams are usually good hitting teams that are solid pitching and fielding-wise. He has done a phenomenal job at Coastal Carolina averaging over 43 victories per year over the course of the last seven years, but he's probably a long-shot for the MSU job due to factors such as playing and coaching at Coastal Carolina and having a long-term contract.


Billy Godwin - East Carolina Head Coach (2+ years from 2006 to present.)

Personal Honors - Named North Carolina Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 2007.

Players Honors (All-American Only) - Has had one player earn All-American honors. The same player also earned the Johnny Bench Award, an award that is given to the nation's best college catcher.

Overall and Conference Record - His two-year record is 73-49 overall and 24-23 in conference play. The 2007 team won 40 games.

Championships - Has won no championships in his two years. His two teams have finished 6th and then 2nd in C-USA.

Postseason Play - One of his teams, the 2007 edition, made an NCAA Regional appearance, winning 1 and losing 2.

Hitting - His two teams have hit .305 and .291 and usually score in the 6.4 range per game.

Pitching - His pitching is usually solidly in the low 4.00+ range.

Fielding - Fielding-wise, his teams usually field at a .960+ clip.

Collegiate Baseball Top 40 Recruiting Rankings 2005-20072005 - Not Applicable - 2006 - Unranked; 2007 - Unranked.

Pro Players - During his two years, six of his players have signed with the pros.

Misc - An ultra-successful coach at Louisburg (N.C.) junior college during his six years as head coach. Four of his teams were ranked 4th, 6th (twice) and 8th in the nation. A North Carolina native who has spent his entire playing and coaching careers in the state of North Carolina.

Five Years Prior To Hiring Him - East Carolina was 210-99-1 with one CAA title (they now play in C-USA) and appeared in 5 regionals and 2 super regionals.

Current Season - Currently 40-19 and 13-11 in his conference. Ranked 28th in the nation in one poll. His team is hitting .315 with a 3.96 ERA and a .964 fielding percentage.

Analysis - Billy appears to be a very good coach who has been very successful wherever he has coached. A born and raised North Carolinian who has no connections to Mississippi State, the state of Mississippi or the SEC. Although he could very well be successful at MSU, the lack of MSU and SEC connections will probably hurt his chances of being a legitimate candidate for the job.


Tim Jamieson - Missouri Head Coach ( 13+ Years from 1995 to present)

Personal Honors - He has been named conference coach of the year twice.

Players Honors (All-American Only) - He has had five All-American honorees.

Overall and Conference Record - His overall record at Missouri prior to 2008 is 441-308, including a 181-175 conference record. His teams have only won 40 or more games in two of the 13 seasons he's been at Missouri.

Championships - His teams have won 1 conference championships His teams other finishes are 2nd (1 time), 4th (2), 5th (1), 6th (1), 7th (5), 9th (1) and 10th (1).

Postseason Play - His teams have appeared in six regionals (5 in the last 5 years), and have advanced to super regional play once. Their overall record in NCAA postseason play is 9-13.

Hitting - His teams have hit .300 or better in 4 of his 13 seasons, but in the last three years - his most successful three-year period at Missouri - they have hit in the .283 to .285 range and averaged 8.1, 6.4 and 6.7 runs per game.

Pitching - Pitching-wise, six of his thirteen teams have had an earned run average under 5.00 with three of his last four having ERAs under 4.00. They usually have very good control, averaging less than three walks per game.

Fielding - Not enough data to notice a trend, but his 2007 team had a .973 fielding percentage and the 2008 team's fielding percent is .971.

Collegiate Baseball Top 40 Recruiting Rankings 2005-2007 - 2005 - Unranked; 2006 - 29th; 2007 - 19th.

Pro Players - 40 of his players have been selected in the MLB Draft with 1 going on to play at the MLB level.

Misc - Tim is a Missouri native, as is several of his family members and his wife, but he has some ties to the south since he played and coached baseball at the University of New Orleans for 10 years.

Five Years Prior To Hiring Him - 165-114 overall record, finished 6th, 3rd, 4th, 3rd and 5th in the conference, participated in 1 regional.

Current Season - His 2008 team is currently 38-19 and 16-11 in the Big 12, and ranked as high as 9th in the nation. The team batting average is .301, the team ERA is 4.56, and the team fielding percentage is .966. This will mark the 6th straight time he has carried a team to the NCAA Regionals.

Analysis - A solid coach who is a good recruiter and who was known more as a hitting coach as an assistant for Missouri, but has become more of a pitching/defense type coach since he became a head coach. His strong ties to Missouri as a Missouri native and a long-time coach at Missouri makes him a long-shot for the MSU job, but he does have some ties to the south thanks to his 10 years at the University of New Orleans as a player and coach.


Dan McDonnell - Louisville Head Coach (1+ from 2007 to present)

Personal Honors - None.

Players Honors (All-American Only) - 2 of his players have been named All-Americans.

Overall and Conference Record - His overall record his first year on the job was 47-24 and 19-8 in the Big East Conference.

Championships - He has won no championships.

Postseason Play - His first year on the job saw his team participate in a regional, a super regional and the College World Series. Their postseason record was 7-4.

Hitting - His team batted .313 and averaged 7.1 runs per game.

Pitching - His team's ERA was 3.14 his first season, one of the best in the Big East.

Fielding - His team's fielding percentage was .971 last season.

Collegiate Baseball Top 40 Recruiting Rankings 2005-2007 - 2005 - 8th (Ole Miss); 2006 - 32nd (Ole Miss); 2007 - 28th.

Pro Players - 6 of his players have signed with pro teams.

Misc - He was the assistant coach in charge of the infield and recruiting at Ole Miss for six years. And four of the six recruiting classes were ranked among the top 20 with three in the top ten nationally. Five of the six teams participated in regional action with two going on to play in super regionals. He signed a long-term contract extension with Louisville at the conclusion of the 2007 season. A Citadel graduate who also coached there for eight years.

Five Years Prior To Hiring Him - 162-124 overall record, 1 Regional.

Current Season - His 2008 team is currently 41-19 overall and 16-11 in the Big East conference and unranked. The team batting average is .313, the team ERA is 4.22, and the fielding percentage is .972. With the Big East Tournament championship in hand, his team will make its second straight appearance in the NCAA Regionals.

Analysis - Without question a very good recruiter. Going into this season the jury was still out on him due to only being a head coach for a little over a year. He inherited a very, very talented team his first year and did a great job getting it to Omaha. And after losing most of last year's key players (3 position starters, 2 starting pitchers and 1 reliever returned), his 2008 team, as you would expect, struggled early in the season thanks in large part to having to play freshmen, D-I transfers and inexperienced players in starting and backup roles. But his team has come on strong of late, proving that, as a head coach, his stock is on the fast track. He is very much worth looking at and you would think MSU would be a school that he would be very interested in, especially considering the success that he had at Ole Miss, a baseball program in the state of Mississippi that doesn't have the tradition that MSU has.


Brian O'Connor - Virginia Head Coach (4+ Years from 2004 to the present.)

Personal Honors - Has been selected ACC coach of the year once.

Players Honors (All-American Only) - Five All-Americans selections.

Overall and Conference Record - His overall record at Virginia is 177-66 and a 72-38 in conference play. All four of his teams have won at least 40 games.

Championships - He has won no conference championships. His teams have finished 2nd and 3rd in the Coastal Division of the SEC and 7th and 2nd overall in the other two years in the ACC Conference.

Postseason Play - All four of his teams have reached regional play - hosting three of the four - although none of the teams have made it to super regional play. Their postseason record is 5-8.

Hitting - Three of his four teams have averaged better than 7 runs a game. Playing in a big ballpark, Virginia believes in small ball which includes a lot of walks, HBPs and stealing a lot of bases. In his first four years as head coach, O'Connor has had his teams steal 98, 81, 115 and 128 bases. And they've stolen 73 in 32 games in the current season.

Pitching - In three of the last four years, Virginia has had one of the top three ERAs in the nation.

Fielding - Coming into this season, all four of his teams had a fielding percentage of .970 or better.

Collegiate Baseball Top 40 Recruiting Rankings 2005-2007 - 2005 - 18th; 2006 - Unranked; 2007 - 13th.

Pro Players - He has had 16 draft picks in the last four years and 3 have played in the Major Leagues.

Misc - He was born in Nebraska and raised in Iowa. He graduated from Creighton where he was an assistant coach for two years. His wife is also from Iowa. He also was an assistant coach in charge of pitchers and the recruiting coordinator at Notre Dame prior to taking over the head job at Virginia.

Virginia the Four Years Prior To Hiring Him - Overall record was 105-119, no postseason play.

Current Season - His 2008 team is currently 38-21 overall and 15-15 in conference play, and are currently unranked. The team batting average is .290, the team ERA is 3.88, and the team is fielding at a .966 clip. This year's team is expected to be invited to regional play, which means that all five of his teams will have made it to the NCAA Regionals.

Analysis - An outstanding pitching coach and a solid hitting coach who also loves to pressure the defense with his style of offense, which includes walks, HBPs, and stealing a lot of bases. He is also known as an outstanding recruiter. He has no ties to the south. An intriguing possibility due to his outstanding success at a school with no baseball tradition, but he's probably a long-shot for the job due to no ties to the MSU program or the south .... or is he?


John Pawlowski - College of Charleston Head Coach (8+ years from 2000 to present.)

Personal Honors - Has earned conference coach of the year twice during his career.

Players Honors (All-American Only) - He has had 11 All-American selections.

Overall and Conference Record - He has an overall record of 299-172-1 and a conference record of 152-77-1. Coming into this season his teams have won 40+ game three times (46, 47, 48). And those three have come in the last four years.

Championships - His teams have won their conference 4 times. Those four have come in the last four seasons.

Postseason Play - His teams in 2004, 2005 and 2006 appeared in regionals with the 2006 team advancing to super regional play. Their record in those three regionals was 6-6.

Hitting - Although he was known more as a pitching coach prior to becoming an head coach, his teams are now known more for their hitting than pitching. His teams have been some of the nation's best hitting teams. Since the 2004 season, they have normally hit in the .340s to .350s and averaged 8+ to 9+ runs per game. Although they had a great year hitting home runs in 2007, that's not normal for his teams. They usually score a lot of runs with aggressive, fundamentally sound hitting - sacrifice bunts (average about 1.5 per game), hit-by-pitch (about 1.5 per game) and stolen bases (1.5 to 2.0 per game).

Pitching - ERA-wise, his teams usually are in the 4s and 5s, which in their conference usually puts them among the top 2 to 3.

Fielding - His teams fielding is in the middle of the pack.

Collegiate Baseball Top 40 Recruiting Rankings 2005-2007 - 2005 - Unranked; 2006 - Unranked; 2007 - Unranked.

Pro Players - Not available.

Misc - Born in New York, but played his college ball at Clemson. Has some ties to the south because a quarter of this year's roster is from the states of Georgia and Florida. Has coached at Arizona State and Clemson. Played in the Major Leagues as a pitcher.

Five Years Prior To Hiring Him - Overall record of 132-131-1 and 51-72 in conference play. Moved to the Southern Conference in 1999 after playing in the TAAC conference.

Current Season - His team is currently 39-20 and finished 18-9 in the conference which was good enough for 2nd place. They are hitting .334 and averaging 10.6 runs per game, fielding at a .961 clip with a 6.41 ERA. The ERA is the highest in his coaching career and also the first time a team of his has had a 6+ ERA.

Analysis - Has produced the best hitting teams of all the coaches that I have looked at for this article. And it's not due to a small park since his program's park is a fairly large one, similar to Mississippi State's. Born in New York, but played his ball at Clemson. Has coached at Clemson and Arizona State. Has some connections to the south, although they aren't in the state of Mississippi or Mississippi State. Probably not a prime candidate for the MSU job, but his stype of play would fit in well with MSU's ballpark.


Tommy Raffo - Mississippi State Assistant Coach (1994 to present. No head coaching experience.)

Based on talking to Tommy Raffo over the years, here are some things I've gotten from him in regard to what I feel is his philosophy as a potential head coach.

Expectations as a Head Coach - His expectations would be the same as the achievements the MSU team had when he was a player in 1987-90 - 50+ win seasons, SEC championships, hosting regionals every year and going to the College World Series with the expectations of winning the national championship.

His Hitting Philosophy - His players would be aggressive at the plate and on the base paths, attacking the first pitch if it's a strike and trying to get on base any way possible, basically trying to find every way possible to create runs. Stealing bases would also be a big priority.

His Pitching Philosophy - Pitching would be a priority in recruiting and high-profile guys like former Bulldog pitchers Jeff Brantley, Paul Maholm, B.J. Wallace, Jay Powell and Eric DuBose being what he would be looking for.

His Recruiting Philosophy - Recruiting would be an extremely high priority. While State would still recruit Mississippi and the southeast heavily, they would also recruit more on the national level and more potential high draft picks would be recruited. One coach would be assigned the job of recruiting coordinator, but the head coach would be on the forefront of recruiting and out on the road as often as possible. Players would be heavily recruited and brought in for unofficial visits as early as possible, and given early offers.

Analysis - Tommy has experienced the winning tradition of Mississippi State first-hand as a player and has seen what it takes to put a team on the field that wins and wins in a big way. While he has learned many things from Ron Polk such as the MSU tradition and organization and done things the way Coach Polk prefers while working under him, he also will be his own coach with his own philosophy, just as the coaches that I have written about in this article have done once they became head coaches. The one thing that is a drawback for Tommy is that he lacks what the other coaches on this page don't and that is head coaching experience. But despite that, I look for him to be one of the prime candidates for the MSU job due to his knowledge and understanding of the MSU tradition and his overall coaching philosophy.


Jim Schlossangle - Texas Christian Head Coach (4+ year from 2004 to present)

Personal Honors - Named conference coach of the year twice.

Players Honors (All-American Only) - Has had four All-Americans.

Overall and Conference Record - His overall record for the first four years is 167-83 and his conference record is 76-30. Coming into this season two of his four teams have won more than 40 games with the other two winning 39 games each.

Championships - He has won two Mountain West Conference championships and placed 2nd and 4th the other two seasons. His teams have completely dominated the Mountain West Conference, going 56-13 in conference play.

Postseason Play - All four of his teams have appeared in NCAA Regional play, going 5-8. None, however, have advanced to super regional play.

Hitting - His teams normally hit in the .310 to .311 range and average around 6.9 to 7.4 runs per game.

Pitching - As an assistant coach, he was known as a good pitching coach. His pitching staffs ERAs have, for the most part, gotten better each season, starting out at 5.17 his first year and ending up at 3.95 last season.

Fielding - His teams usually do well on defense improving from .962 his first year at the helm to .975 last season.

Collegiate Baseball Top 40 Recruiting Rankings 2005-2007 - 2005 - 21st; 2006 - Unranked; 2007 - Unranked.

Pro Players - 17 of his players have been drafted.

Misc - Inked a long-term contract last season that will take him through the 2014 season. Has connections to the south due to coaching at Clemson and Tulane for nine years. Has connections throughout the nation, having coached in the south (Clemson, Tulane, Elon), southwest (TCU) and the west (UNLV). Although I only listed the recruiting classes for the years 2005 to 2007, his 2004 recruiting class was ranked 3rd in the nation by Baseball America.

Five Years Prior To Hiring Him - TCU has played in three different conferences (WAC, C-USA, MWC) in the past 10 years so it's difficult to compare the records. The five years prior to Schlossangle coming aboard, TCU was 151-139 overall and 93-62 in conference play. The teams were 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 5th and 2nd.

Current Season - His 21st ranked team is currently 43-17 and ended up 19-5 (1st place) in conference play. They are hitting .299 and averaging 6.4 runs per game. Their fielding percentage is .975 and their team ERA is 3.48. Having won the MWC Tournament, they are guaranteed a spot in the NCAA Regionals, their 5th straight year to participate.

Analysis - His long-term contract will very likely cause MSU to not take a long look at him even though he appears to be a coach that could do well at State. If they like him and he them and the contract hurdle is overcome, then his nation-wide connections, including the south, would allow him to be able to recruit nation-wide.


Brian Shoop - UAB Head Coach/former Birmingham Southern Head Coach (1 Year at UAB from 2007 to present, 17 years at BS)

Personal Honors - Has been named conference coach of the year several times and national coach of the year twice.

Players Honors (All-American Only) - Not enough data available.

Overall and Conference Record - His teams have an overall 717-336 record and have won 40 or more games in a season nine times, including one 55-win season.

Championships - At BS his teams won 9 conference titles and one NAIA national championship.

Postseason Play - His UAB team did not participate in a regional, but his Birmingham Southern teams played in 10, most when they played in the NAIA.

Hitting - His Birmingham Southern teams usually hit in the .300 to .315 range and stole a lot of bases. In fact, 10 of his 17 teams stole more than 100 bases in a season, with a high of 209 in 1999. His teams normally scored about 7+ runs per game.

Pitching - His pitching staff normally is in the high 3 to low 4 runs per game range.

Fielding - His teams are solid fielding teams, usually in the .960+ range.

Collegiate Baseball Top 40 Recruiting Rankings 2005-2007 - 2005 - Unranked; 2006 - Unranked; 2007 - Unranked.

Pro Players - 2 of his UAB players signed pro contracts and 32 Birmingham Southern players were either drafted or signed as free agents, 1 of whom has made it to the Major Leagues.

Misc - He was an assistant coach at MSU under current head coach Ron Polk. Although he was born in Ohio, he has been in the south for over 24 years.

Five Years Prior To Hiring Him - The teams were 123-160 and didn't participate in postseason play.

Current Season - His 2008 team is currently 26-34 overall and 7-17 in conference play. They are hitting .311 with a team ERA of 6.29 and a fielding percentage of .970.

Analysis - Has coached under Coach Polk so he understands the Mississippi State tradition. An aggressive offensive minded coach who makes things happen at the plate and on the base paths. A solid pitching coach who has a lot of ties to the south. I look for him to be one of the coaches who will be strongly considered for the job.


Buck Showalter - Currently a senior advisor to baseball operations for the Cleveland Indians.

Personal Honors - Named American League Manager of the Year twice during his 11-year career.

Overall Record - Guided three teams - New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers - to a combined 882-833 record (.514%).

Championships - His teams won two division titles.

Postseason Play - Appeared in the playoffs twice, going 3-6 overall.

Misc - Played one year of college baseball in 1977 for Mississippi State. Born and raised in Florida.

Analysis - Has never coached on the collegiate level, therefore recruiting and the NCAA rules will be an adjustment for him. But coaching on the highest level, Major League Baseball, shows that he has the talent to coach baseball, and coach it well, on any level. A well-respected member of the Mississippi State baseball family who appears to have support from some within the MSU community. If hired, he would make an immediate splash, media-wise.


Steve Smith - Baylor Head Coach (13+ Years from 1995 to present)

Personal Honors - He has been selected the Big 12 coach of the year four times.

Players Honors (All-American Only) - He has had 12 All-American selections.

Overall and Conference Record - His teams have an overall record of 490-311 and 199-150 in conference play. Five of his teams have won 41 or more games, including 1 team that won 50.

Championships - His teams have won two Big 12 Conference championships. The other teams have been 2nd two times, 4th two times, 5th four times and 6th three times.

Postseason Play - Nine of his teams have participated in regional play, three going on to super regionals. His teams have hosted 3 regionals and 2 super regionals. One team made it to the College World Series. His teams overall record in NCAA postseason play is 23-19.

Hitting - His last four teams have batted .293, .284, .269 and .299. Prior to that, they were in the .301 to .326 range. Those four teams scored 6.6, 6.3, 5.2 and 6.0 runs per game.

Pitching - His pitching staffs normally have an ERA in the 4+ runs per game range. He's also had 3 staffs average 3+, 2 average 5+ and 1 average 6+ runs per game.

Fielding - There wasn't enough data to determine his teams fielding stats.

Collegiate Baseball Top 40 Recruiting Rankings 2005-2007 - 2005 - 38th; 2006 - 7th; 2007 - 39th.

Pro Players - Smith has had 62 players drafted or signed as free agents by the pros, 5 of whom have played in the Major Leagues.

Misc - Smith was born in Gulfport, MS and played part of his college ball at Mississippi College. He also coached at MSU for current head coach Ron Polk for several years. He graduated from Baylor, as did his wife.

Five Years Prior To Hiring Him - The teams had a 167-112 record and played in 2 regionals.

Current Season - His team is currently 32-26 overall, 11-16 in Big 12 play and not ranked nationally. His team is hitting .285, the team ERA is 5.24 and they are fielding at a .971 clip.

Analysis - He has connections to the the state of Mississippi and Mississippi State. He's a solid coach and solid recruiter who understands the tradition of Mississippi State baseball. He's a possible candidate due to those things, but he and his wife's ties to Baylor are very strong. And that could be a big factor for both of them.


Tom Walter - New Orleans Head Coach (3+ years from 2005 to present)

Personal Honors - None.

Players Honors (All-American Only) - None.

Overall and Conference Record - His overall record is 13-112 with a 56-51 conference record. His current team is the first to win 40 or more games, although he has improved the w-l record each season since coming to New Orleans.

Championships - Hasn't won a conference title. Has placed 2nd, 5th and 7th.

Postseason Play - Took his 2007 team to a regional, going 1-2.

Hitting - Usually hits in the 280+, 290+ to 300+ range. Up until last year, his teams weren't big home run hitting teams, but that changed last year when his team hit 90 homers. A big-time base stealing team, stealing over a hundred a year the last three years (104, 112, 160). Not big on sacrificing with just 12, 16 and 22 in 2007, 2006 and 2005, which is some of the lowest that I have ever seen.

Pitching - His pitching staffs ERAs are usually in the low 5s.

Fielding - His teams are usually below average fielding-wise (.950+).

Collegiate Baseball Top 40 Recruiting Rankings 2005-2007 - 2005 - Unranked; 2006 - Unranked; 2007 - Unranked.

Pro Players - Has had three of his players sign pro contracts.

Misc - Born in Pennsyvania. His one connection to the south is his years at New Oleans.

Five Years Prior To Hiring Him - Had an overall record of 143-144 and 64-61 in conference play. Appeared in one NCAA Regional.

Current Season - Currently 42-19 (2nd in his conference with a 18-11 record) and waiting on a possible at-large berth in the NCAA Regionals, which would be the second in a row for the program. Hitting .325 (93 homers), fielding .957 with a 5.38 ERA. Not ranked nationally.

Analysis - Has done a remarkable job at New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina came through. Over his four-year career at New Orleans, he has improved the record each season. That could get him a look, but I don't see him being a prime candidate for the job due to his lack of connections to Mississippi State, the state of Mississippi and the SEC.


Rob Walton - Oral Roberts Head Coach (4+ years from 2004 to present)

Personal Honors - He is a two-time Mid-Con Coach of the Year selection, and has been named the head coach of Team USA Baseball for the summer of 2008.

Players Honors (All-American Only) - He has had 5 All-American selections.

Overall and Conference Record - His four-year overall record is 173-64 and his conference record is 77-6. All four of his previous teams have won 40 or more games.

Championships - Heading into this season, all four of his teams have won the Mid-Con conference championship.

Postseason Play - His four teams have all appeared in regionals with one advancing to super regional play. Their record in regional play is 7-8.

Hitting - As head coach, his teams, other than one season, have always hit the ball well and scored a lot of runs, normally in the mid-7s and even once in the mid-8s.

Pitching - All four of his teams have had one of the top ERAs in the nation, ranking 3rd, 6th, 27th and 8th nationally in ERA. Until this year (his team ERA is 4.30), he has never had a team ERA higher than 3.63.

Fielding - Up until this season, he has always had one of the better fielding teams in the nation, usually fielding in the .973 to .975 range.

Collegiate Baseball Top 40 Recruiting Rankings 2005-2007 - 2005 - Unranked; 2006 - Unranked; 2007 - Unranked.

Pro Players - During his four years as head coach, he has had 19 players drafted by pro baseball, 9 of whom were pitchers.

Misc - He appears to be one of the top pitching coaches in the nation with his team ERA being 3.00 (3rd in the nation), 2.95 (6th nationally), 3.63 (27th) and 3.45 (8th) during his four years as head coach at ORS. Has no ties to Mississippi State, the state of Mississippi or the SEC.

Five Years Prior To Hiring Him - ORU's overall record was 232-82 and 99-9 in conference play. All five teams appeared in NCAA regional play (their regional record was 3-10), although none advanced to a super regional.

Current Season - His current team is 46-12 (24-4 in conference action) and ranked 30th in one poll. They are hitting .330, fielding at a .965 clip and have a 4.30 ERA. His team is expected to be either a 2nd or 3rd seed in NCAA Regional play.

Analysis - A very intriguing candidate who has been very, very successful in all aspects of the game as a coach. While he is known as an excellent pitching coach (and justifiably so), his teams do it all - hit, field and pitch extremely well. Although his teams play in a weak conference, he's been fairly successful against perennial top-25 ranked teams, going 19-24 against them, mostly on the road or in regional play. While he would probably do well at MSU, I don't see him being a legitimate candidate due to his lack of ties to MSU, the state of Mississippi, the SEC and the south ... but if you can coach, you can coach.


Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.


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