Auburn Should Make Next Baseball Coach an Offer He Can’t Refuse
Could the next Auburn Baseball coach return the Tigers to the glory days of Hal Baird?
There hasn’t been much news lately on the search for a new Auburn baseball coach. But with the NCAA Tournament over and the College World Series wrapping up in the next 2 weeks, most of the prospective coaches should now be available for interviews.
There has been more than a half dozen names floating around the rumor mill since the dismissal of John Pawlowski. Amongst the fan base there are those that would like to see a big name Division I head man be considered while others are hoping to see fan favorite and Samford Coach, Casey Dunn get the nod.
Count me among those who would be glad to see the former Tiger All-American return as head coach. After taking over a program that had been through 8 losing seasons, his accomplishment’s have been nothing short of phenomenal. The first Samford coach in 40 years to post consecutive winning seasons, has led his team in winning two conference championships, and took the Bulldogs to an NCAA Tournament berth in 2012.
That same year Baseball America named him as their No.2 on their list of top college baseball coaches under 40. Rumors are that the University of Georgia has interest in him as well.
One things for certain, Casey Dunn will be coaching somewhere at a major program in the next few years, he is just too good a coach for that not to happen.
Even though legendary SEC and former Auburn coach Hal Baird has said he thinks there could be no better fit for Auburn, look for Jay Jacobs to pass on Casey, opting instead to make a splash with a big name Division I head coach or at least with a proven assistant from a big school.
Without question, the most prominent big splash would be Vandy skipper Tim Corbin. However, it’s highly unlikely Corbin would leave the good situation he enjoys in Nashville.
Other names in the rumor mill have included South Alabama’s Mark Calvi, Troy’s Bobby Pierce, Miss State’s pitching coach Butch Thompson, Florida State’s hitting coach Mike Martin, Jr. North Carolina’s pitching coach Scott Forbes and most recently Oklahoma Head Coach Sunny Galloway and the head man at N.C. State, Elliott Avent.
Some think the offer will be made to the highly successful Avent since Jacobs tried to hire him before he eventually turned to Pawlowski back in 2008. What could be the difference between today and 2008 is that Auburn appears to be willing to open the checkbook to get a big time guy. And that’s exactly what’s needed – make a proven winner an offer he can’t refuse.
In the event, that Jacobs isn’t able to land the big fish, there’s still one name that has been out there from the beginning and he’s one of the most highly respected assistants in the country.
Jacobs would absolutely score a home run if he could persuade ….
Arkansas Associate Head Coach Todd Butler to take the reigns of the Tiger program. As a hitting coach, he has a reputation for attracting top talent as well as developing big time hitters.
In seven seasons in Fayetteville, Butler has helped the Razorbacks make it to 2 College World Series appearances, 7 NCAA Regionals, 3 NCAA Super Regionals, and 2 SEC Western Division titles. In addition, as lead recruiter, Butler has put together 5 – top 10 recruiting classes and had 46 players taken in the MLB Draft.
Those familiar with Butler, may think he would not accept an offer since he turned down an invitation last year to join the Texas staff. However this offer would be different.
Texas offered a raise for what was essentially a lateral move. After 20 years in the business, the Auburn job would give him a chance to be a head coach in the SEC. And the Tiger program has the facilities, the fan support, and a good roster foundation to work with.
There’s little doubt in my mind that if Jay Jacobs would make him an offer he couldn’t refuse, Tiger Baseball could return to the glory days of Hal Baird.