Midweek Ramblings From The Plains—Coaching Changes Edition
photo: Kevin Cox
In 2018 Auburn hired former Auburn great and MLB star Gabe Gross to be its hitting coach, and the move has paid dividends. In two seasons with Gross as the hitting coach, the Tigers have had back-to-back years with the highest run totals in 10 years. The Auburn legend helped the Tigers make it to the College World Series in 1997.
Now, coach Bruce Thompson has brought another legend from that CWS team on board to be his pitching coach. Former SEC Player of the Year and a member of the Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame, Tim Hudson, will be the Tigers’ new pitching coach. Expect the same kind of pitching dividends from the 17-year MLB veteran as Gross has brought to Tiger hitting.
Gus Malzahn replaced offensive line coach J.B. Grimes this week with a former NFL coach. Jack Bicknell, Jr. has a football pedigree that reaches back to his father, Jack, Sir, the long-time Boston College Coach. Bicknell, Jr. spent six seasons in the NFL, including helping the Giants make it to the Super Bowl, and has served as head coach at Louisiana Tech and, most recently, as the O-Line coach at Ole Miss.
Coach Malzahn said, “He’s a very good coach. A solid, technical offensive line coach. He’s very disciplined with his players…. Jack’s extensive résumé will be valuable in developing our offensive line unit.” And that’s welcomed news because player development along the offensive line has been lacking for some time.
Auburn announced Tuesday the hiring of Southern Cal head women’s volleyball coach, Brent Crouch, as the new Auburn women’s volleyball head coach. Crouch led the Trojans to the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Tournament the past two seasons. He promises to do the same at Auburn. “I expect us to be earning a bid to the NCAA tournament very soon, and I know our athletes are up for that challenge,”
One of the more interesting coaching hires occurred this week on the high school level when Central of Phenix City hired Auburn quarterback Bo Nix’s father, Pat. Looks like Pat wants to be nearer to Auburn to follow his son’s career. But Central fans can be assured he will give his all to keep the Red Devils’ winning tradition going. If Patrick Nix is anything, he’s a winner.
Finally, although a little off topic, we knew it would happen sometime, but sure hated it had to happen in Tuscaloosa. On Wednesday evening Auburn basketball suffered its first loss since falling to Virginia in last year’s national semifinal. The Tigers came in to Coleman Coliseum riding high with a 15-game winning streak and No. 4 ranking.
The Tigers’ first loss of the season hurt, and not just because it was the rival Tide that gave them their first loss. The only thing that was characteristic about their performance was a slow start. But this time defense was not enough to keep them in the game. The Tigers didn’t take care of the basketball and had too many fouls to get back into the game, especially with shots that were not falling all night.
Bruce Pearl will get them back on track, and look for it begin this Saturday with a road trip to Florida. The game is scheduled to start at 12:30 p.m. CT and will be televised on CBS. Until next time War Eagle and …
Beat the Gators!