When college baseball programs look for a new head coach, some tend to gravitate toward established head coaches. Others, though, have no problem looking hard at some of the nation’s rising assistant coaches.
That much is true when one peers at this year’s college baseball coaching carousel. Of the 23 head coaching changes so far this offseason, only one remains open in Tennessee-Martin. And of those remaining, 13 were filled by assistant coaches.
Virginia Tech lost head coach Pete Hughes to Oklahoma, but filled that hole with talented assistant Pat Mason. Meanwhile, San Francisco’s Greg Moore went to Cal State Northridge, Indiana’s Ty Neal parlayed a magical Hoosiers campaign into the head job at Cincinnati, and a crop of former San Diego assistants in Jay Johnson and Eric Valenzuela got jobs at Nevada and St. Mary’s, respectively.
As the offseason continues and we prepare for the 2014 college baseball campaign, there’s another talented group of assistant coaches to watch, many of whom will have their opportunity to be head coaches next summer.
Without further ado, we take an inside look at the 10 rising assistants most ready to be head coaches, while also featuring a best of the rest category.
Scott Forbes, North Carolina
It’s only a matter of time before Forbes lands a head coaching job. Forbes has been in the mix for several jobs over the past couple of seasons, most recently being a finalist for the Auburn vacancy, which ultimately went to long-time Oklahoma head coach Sunny Golloway. Forbes just completed his eighth season with the Tar Heels, his fourth campaign as associate head coach on head coach Mike Fox’s coaching staff. In addition to having an infectious and charismatic personality, Forbes is a well-respected pitching coach and recruiting coordinator. Judging by how close Forbes was to landing the AU gig, percentages are high he jumps off this list next summer.
Kevin McMullan, Virginia
Should just any program around the country try to reel in McMullan as head coach, history suggests it won’t exactly be easy. McMullan was legitimately in the mix for the Ohio State opening a couple of summers ago. However, he has since been very selective with jobs he approaches despite plenty of interest around the college baseball community. McMullan has a stellar reputation in the industry. He recently completed his 11th seasons with the Cavaliers, including eighth as associate head coach. In addition to being a good recruiter, McMullan also has done a great job with the Cavaliers’ offense, which finished last season with impressive marks.
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