I have to confess, I am not sleeping much. The longer the Baylor baseball job stays open, the less sleep I am getting. It is not that there is a lack of confidence in Ian or any belief that things will not work out. It is just that not knowing brings intrigue and a lot of "what ifs".
Where we stand
Let's start with what we
know heard through the rumor mill. When Steve Smith was dismissed, it was widely reported that Baylor had Dan Heefner pegged as the next skipper, and it was just a matter of wrapping up the details. Then The Dallas Morning News poured cold water on that. Next was Rob Walton's turn to reportedly remove his name from consideration. Walton was followed by Houston's Todd Whitting choosing "not to pursue" the position.
So, where do we go from here? I made it pretty clear that I thought Skip Johnson should be in the first group of candidates, but sources close to the coach have denied any serious contact, from either party, between Johnson and the search committee. I mentioned some other names earlier who could likely be candidates, but besides those already covered, it seems the process has not included them.
Yesterday, saw Mitch Thompson being propped up as the candidate who would be named later this week. We, or at least a lot of the fans and former players that I have discussed it with, were/are ready to jump on board with that hire. However, Ian was quoted as calling that report "inaccurate". So, who are the names left standing?
Mitch Thompson: Despite Ian calling the Omaha Chronicles' report inaccurate, he stopped short of saying Mitch Thompson would not be the next coach. As has been mentioned, some sources say there is a feeling the search committee is looking to take the program in a "new direction". If you evaluate the last 21 years, there are not a ton of new directions that look like a great improvement. The last three years were not up to par for the Bears, but in fairness sources close to the baseball program and even other "baseball people" outside of the program saw the future looking much brighter for the Bears. If the rest of the athletic programs' past 21 years performed similarly to the baseball program, we would probably be pretty pleased with them. Is a "new direction" necessary? I am not 100% convinced. It's ok. You can pull the trigger here. He's across town waiting for the call.
Steve Rodriguez: This is a very interesting name. Sources close to the search say there is mutual interest in the Baylor job from Pepperdine's Steve Rodriguez. However, Rodriguez just finished his 13th year coaching his alma mater, where he won a CWS as a player. Have you ever seen Malibu? I love Baylor. I really do, but I went to Baylor because my dad would not let me go to Pepperdine out of high school. Apparently he was not convinced that the California beach was the best place for me to study - probably a good move. If we can get Rodriguez, Baylor fans should be very excited. I personally just have a hard time seeing it.
Casey Dunn: Samford's Casey Dunn is getting very strong consideration, or at least that is what sources close to the former Auburn All-American catcher tell me. Dunn has been at Samford since 2004, is the son of a coaching legend, and was a catcher which obviously makes him supremely talented and apt to lead. In 2013, Baseball America's Aaron Fitt dubbed Dunn #2 on his "Best Coaches Under 40" list. When I consider him, I cannot help but wonder why he was not chosen by Auburn last year when they hired Sunny Galloway. In fact, Auburn has hired 3 coaches since Dunn has been at Samford. One might think that being an All-American at your school and a hot, up and coming coach would be enough to get you the job. Additionally, when asked about Texas connections, my sources were not sure there were any. That is understandable considering his history and family are in Alabama.
Travis Jewitt: As Vanderbilt's recruiting coordinator and hitting coach, Travis Jewitt has earned himself quite a reputation as his Commodores look to repeat as National Champions. Believed by many to be the favorite for the Clemson opening, Baylor might have stiff competition in wooing Jewitt. There is no question that his experience at Vanderbilt should prepare him for success at Baylor. He is another candidate that should generate excitement if Ian can land him.
Ian McCaw truly is scanning the nation looking at candidates, but here are two names that are not being rumored much. That does not mean they are not on McCaw's radar, it is just that there is not much being said, if anything, about them.
Bill Mosiello: TCU's Bill Mosiello is a name to watch closely. He is in his second year as Associate Head Coach for the Horned Frogs, and they are making their second trip to the CWS. Prior to joining TCU, Mosiello coached at Tennessee and was a successful minor league manager for seven years. After seeing the success Whitting has enjoyed since leaving the TCU staff, it would seem very tempting to see if another Schlossnagle guy could revitalize the Baylor program.
Steve Bieser: If Ian is thinking outside of the box, he might be looking in Southeast Missouri. Steve Bieser is probably a name most of our fanbase does not know. That is OK. I did not either before all of this, but sleepless nights have introduced me to a lot of people lately. Steve Bieser is currently in his 3rd season as the SeMo head coach where he replaced former player-turned-winningest-coach-in-school-history, Mark Hogan. Towards the end, Hogan's program was beginning to stagnate. Does any of that sound familiar? After 3 years, utilizing primarily the existing facilities and roster, Bieser has won back to back Ohio Valley Conference regular season championships and was named Coach of the Year in 2014. Oh, and Bieser was a catcher (you know how I feel about catchers) who played professionally for 13 years, 9 of which were at Triple A or higher including stops in the Bigs for the Mets and Pirates. Bieser and his staff have already accomplished the task before the next Baylor head coach. If Ian is as crafty as Baylor fans everywhere believe him to be, I would not be at all surprised to see Bieser as the next coach.
That's all I have. Sorry for the length. It is clear I have been spending too much time thinking about this, but it is not clear if I will be sleeping any time soon. So, who you got?