Ohio State Baseball Coach Search, Job Profile & Candidates

Ohio State announced Monday that it had fired coach Greg Beals after 12 seasons. The Buckeyes were 346-288-1 under Beals overall and 141-139 in Big Ten play.

The change was somewhat of a surprise given Ohio State’s recent success under Beals. After OSU missed regionals in his first five seasons at the helm, the Buckeyes made the trip to the playoffs in 2016, 2018 and 2019, and the team’s celebrated 44 wins from 2016 are at tied for fifth all-time in a single season at Ohio State. .

Those looking to poke holes in what Beals did at Ohio State, however, can certainly do so by pointing out that the Buckeyes have never won the Big Ten regular season title and have finished better than fourth just two time. They also went only 2-6 in regionals and never reached a regional final.

The results of the last two seasons have also been disappointing. In 2021, a promising Ohio State team of three starting pitchers drafted in the 11 best rounds – Seth Lonsway, Garrett Burhenn and Jack Neely – went 22-20, finishing sixth in the Big Ten and well out. of the playoff photo. And last season, things hit rock bottom with the Buckeyes going 20-30, 8-14 in the Big Ten, placing them 11th in the league.

When it came to the playoffs over the past six years, Ohio State under Beals was one of the most consistent teams in the Big Ten, but the problem was getting to the next level. It’s obvious Ohio State wants more from its baseball program moving forward, and that sets clear expectations for Beals’ successor.

Previous head coach

Greg Beals: 346-288-1, 12 seasons

Job Profile

Ohio State is one of the Big Ten’s historic baseball powerhouses, and while its place in the pecking order has slipped as the Big Ten have improved in the sport over the past two decades, it should still be considered. as one of the best conference jobs. Ohio State has a national brand cache, which rival Michigan says may have value when recruiting outside of the natural footprint. Bill Davis Stadium isn’t the crown jewel of the Big Ten as it was when it opened 25 years ago, but it’s still a very good facility that can draw large crowds and could comfortably accommodate regional ones, as in the past. . Making the playoffs is also a very achievable goal, as the Big Ten now places three to five teams in regionals each year. Over the past decade, several Big Ten schools have invested heavily in baseball and have seen it pay off. Ohio State has the resources to rise to the top of the conference. This research is an important part of it.

What does a search in the state of Ohio look like?

It’s hard to know exactly how a search in the state of Ohio will shape up, as it’s not something we’ve seen recently. Not only has Beals had a relatively long tenure in the grand scheme of things, but his predecessor Bob Todd held the position for 22 years before him. Beals, as an Ohio native and Ball State coach when he was hired at OSU, was a natural geographic fit. We don’t have a ton of clues as to whether Ohio State will use a similar approach this time or look more nationwide.

What are the expectations?

Because of the relative success Beals has enjoyed at OSU, we know the standard the administration wants to set is high. But how high? Is it just to end up in the bottom half of the Big Ten less often? Do not spend more than a year without doing a regional? Or did they watch Michigan miss a national title game in 2019 and Maryland head for a top-eight seed this season and decide it was time to compete at that level? The types of candidates who float to the top for this opening might tell us something about those expectations.

How much will the State of Ohio be willing to pay?

According to 2021 data from athletic director U, Beals’ total compensation for that season was just under $345,000. For fans of programs in other major conferences, that number might not impress, but the Big Ten trails in coaching salaries and that number put Beals fourth in the conference. Notably, though, it still put him nearly $300,000 short of Michigan coach Erik Bakich’s compensation. Is the new coach getting to roughly where Beals was, or is Ohio State making a move to make his pay more on par with its arch-rival?

List prospects

There are things to like about Ohio State’s returning core, should they choose to skip the transfer portal and stay in Columbus. Leading hitter Marcus Ernst and leading home run hitter Zach Dezenzo are both listed as seniors, but both still have a fifth year of eligibility left if they choose to exercise it and Dezenzo does not choose at the place to move on to a professional opportunity, which he’ll almost certainly have. Outfielder Kade Kern, entering his third season, is expected to be a roster mainstay and could enter the 2023 season as the Big Ten’s top prospect. On the mound, closer Ethan Hammerberg will likely get his shot at pro baseball, but returning starters Wyatt Loncar and Isaiah Coupet bring top-end experience and ability to the table. With a team ERA of 6.51 in 2022, don’t be surprised if this unit is much different in 2023.

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The candidates

Ohio State is a very interesting job profile. It is one of the biggest brands in college athletics and has some of the best facilities in the Big Ten. There’s no shortage of money, and it looks like more will come once the new Big Ten TV deals arrive. Consistently winning big in the Big Ten isn’t easy, but the Buckeyes have a real advantage.

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith typically prioritizes head coaching experience in his job searches (although the promotion of football coach Ryan Day ago years has resisted this trend). That doesn’t mean assistant coaches won’t be reviewed here, but Ohio State has the ability to go big with this hire.

If Ohio State wants to make a splash, it wouldn’t come much bigger than Georgia Coach Scott Stricklin. It would take a home run to take Stricklin out of the SEC and the Buckeyes would have to bet, but they have the muscle to do it. Stricklin, 50, is an Ohio native who played and coached at Kent State, and was in the game when Ohio State hired Beals. He lost his job then, but led the Golden Flashes to the College World Series two years later, then landed in Georgia after the 2013 season. The Bulldogs are on track for their third NCAA Tournament appearance in nine years under Stricklin and although they did not win a regional they hosted twice. He expressed some complaints about Georgia’s facilities compared to the rest of the SEC, though there is hope that a renovation could begin soon. Is this dissatisfaction, combined with the lure of the house, enough to remove him from the SEC? No head coach has voluntarily left the conference for at least 50 years, and that trend seems unlikely to be broken.

A more realistic splashy hire for Ohio State would be Tracy Smith. He led Indiana to the 2013 CWS and won the Big Ten two straight years before being hired by Arizona State after the 2014 season. Smith, 56, had mixed success with the Sun Devils, making four regional in seven years. He has never won a regional and has never finished better than third in the Pac-12 and was fired last year. While that falls short of Arizona State’s historic level of success, there’s no doubting Smith’s ability, especially in the Midwest. He won over 800 games in his career and led three programs for a total of nine regionals in 25 years as head coach. He has strong ties to the Big Ten and Ohio (he played and coached in Miami, Ohio) and a move back to the Midwest would make a lot of sense.

Rob Vaughn, Maryland coach has a banner season this year. He led the Terrapins to the Big Ten title — their first conference title in 51 years, put them on track to host a regional for the first time in program history, and was named coach of the Big Ten. the year. Maryland, however, is no easy task and its facilities need upgrading to keep up with the top of the Big Ten. The Terrapins’ two previous head coaches have parlayed their success into other jobs — Erik Bakich at Maryland and John Szefc at Virginia Tech. Could Vaughn, 34, follow a similar path? He’s the youngest head coach in a major conference, a fact that could work for or against him in a job search.

It would be natural for Ohio State to look to the Mid-American Conference for candidates, as it did when it hired Beals. Central Michigan’s Jordan Bischel is the MAC’s best rising coach. He led the Chippewas to the last two NCAA tournaments (their first appearances since 1995) and won two MAC titles in his first four years. Bischel, 40, has been a head coach for 10 years, moving from NAIA to Division II to Division I, giving him a mix of youth and head coaching experience.

Virginia Associate Head Coach Kevin McMullan, the 2009 assistant coach of the year, has been voted by head coaches as the assistant coach with the best future as a head coach each of the last three times Baseball America has conducted the survey, the most recent in 2020. He served as Virginia’s recruiting coordinator. over the past 18 years and helped the Cavaliers win the 2015 national championship. McMullan is clearly at home in Charlottesville, but there’s no doubt he would succeed as a head coach. He interviewed Ohio State the last time the Buckeyes job opened. The State of Ohio would do well to resume this path.

Michigan associate head coach Nick Schnabel would make an attractive candidate. Schnabel, the 2019 Assistant Coach of the Year, helped Bakich build Michigan and lead the Wolverines to a second-place finish at the 2019 CWS. , the highest-ranked class in Big Ten history, and he placed third on the 2020 version of the head coaches’ vote for the assistant coach with the brightest future as the coach- chief. He is an excellent candidate for a head coach. But would Ohio State reach its rivalry for an assistant coach from Michigan?

Then-Louisville assistant coach Chris Lemonis was involved in the search the last time the Ohio State job was opened and it makes sense the Buckeyes are eyeing his successor on Dan’s team. McDonnell, Eric Snider. He served as Louisville’s recruiting coordinator for eight years, following 16 years in Illinois, giving him extensive experience in the Midwest and Big Ten. He deserves praise for his skills as a scout and a hitting coach.

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