College : : Story
Wednesday, September 04, 2013

National notebook: September 4

Kendall Rogers        

The college baseball coaching carousel has all but come to a close with the fall semester having begun for most universities and colleges around the country. However, there's at least still some action on the carousel.

For instance, Tennessee-Martin, which parted ways with long-time head coach Bubba Cates, still has yet to find a new head coach, and the process might not be nearing an end result.

The Skyhawks have a few things working against them right now. For starters, UT-Martin targeted some intriguing candidates, such as Samford associate head coach Tony David, former Tennessee head coach Rod Delmonico and Columbia State College head coach Mike Corn.

David started the process by pulling out of the mix for the opening, while Corn and Delmonico each took part in unorthodox "town hall" meetings with UT-Martin officials, boosters and casual fans.

Both Corn and Delmonico have since pulled out of the running for the opening, sources telling us that UTM isn't, at this point at least, making a strong enough commitment to the baseball program to attract a great candidate.

It'll be interesting to see which direction the Skyhawks go at this point. Some have told me UTM will just proceed to promote an assistant, but that's yet to be determined. Still, UTM will need to show a stronger commitment to the program, and that could be hard to vouch for considering the Skyhawks finished last season with a dismal 11-40 overall record, 4-26 mark in the Ohio Valley Conference.

And on the flip side …

* St. Mary's made what I thought was a very solid hire when it tabbed San Diego State pitching coach Eric Valenzuela as its new head coach. Well, Valenzuela has already been hot on the recruiting trail, landing a pair of talented Las Vegas-area prospects, and he now has more help, one of them sooner rather than later. Mark Viramontes, who served as an assistant at San Diego State last season, has joined the Gaels coaching staff. Meanwhile, though it hasn't been announced, the Gaels are slated to hire former Nevada assistant coach Matt Fonteno to round out the three full-time assistants on the coaching staff.

* Speaking of San Diego State, if you follow me on twitter @KendallRogersPG, we reported this earlier last week. However, the Aztecs finally made it official -- they hired former Auburn head coach John Pawlowski as its replacement for Valenzuela. First things first, what a terrific hire and commitment to winning for SDSU. The Aztecs could've gone on the cheap once Valenzuela left the program, but head coach Tony Gwynn and his staff were dead set on hiring someone with a wealth of experience, and a sterling reputation. The Pawlowski hire is one that resonates nationally, as John has a very good reputation as an assistant, previously serving as one before his stint as head coach at AU.

* Though I've been critical of the way Southern California handled its coaching situation, essentially reaching out to UCLA head coach John Savage, being turned down, then going back to head coach Dan Hubbs to say "okay, we really want you now," I highly respect the way Hubbs handled the situation. It's certainly clear he's making the best of his opportunity. Hubbs has completed his coaching staff with the Trojans, and he's made a splash with the hiring of Matt Curtis. Curtis' addition, if you follow me on Twitter, was reported a few weeks ago, but it's now official. Curtis spent the last three seasons at Cal State Northridge, where he guided the Matadors to a very respectable finish in 2013. His departure was interesting to say the least. Before his stint with the Matadors, Curtis was at Fresno State for 10 seasons, where he helped Mike Batesole and Inc., win a  national title. With a really nice staff now in tow, I'm intrigued to see what Hubbs and the Trojans can accomplish.

* UCLA is fresh off its first national title, so you'd think it would be controversy-free. Well, think again. The Bruins, though it's unlikely at this point, could be forced to vacate Jackie Robinson Stadium, their home for 50 seasons, because of a lawsuit between disabled veterans and the United States Department of Veteran Affairs. JRS, as it's called on the West Coast, is on the VA grounds in Los Angeles, and a federal court judge has ruled the VA invalidly leased JRS to third-party properties, i.e., UCLA. The VA is appealing this ruling, and has six months to do so. However, it's something to monitor moving forward. Here's athletic director Dan Guerrero's letter to UCLA alumni about the issue: Guerrero letter.

Copyright 1994-2018 by Perfect Game. All rights reserved. No portion of this information may be reprinted or reproduced without the written consent of Perfect Game.