We've got several coaching tid-bits to pass along from the last two days. Winthrop fired longtime coach Joe Hudak; Houston hired Todd Whitting as its new head coach; and Dallas Baptist hired Bob Keller as its pitching coach.
Hudak will be reassigned within the Winthrop athletic department after 19 years at the helm. He led the Eagles to five regionals and a .580 winning percentage, but they finished with a losing record in two of the last three seasons, and athletic director Tom Hickman said in a statement that "the program has not progressed in recent years as we would have liked."
Hudak told The (Columbia, S.C.) State that he was "extremely disappointed" to "have one really bad coaching year in the last 10 and then be let go."
“I have spent most of my life here; took over a program that was in disarray and turned it into a national competitor,” he said. “I’m not happy with our performance. The last three years have been disappointing. This year was a bad year. We underachieved. There are no excuses. We did a bad job, and ultimately I am responsible for that.”
Former Winthrop assistant coach Scott Forbes, now the associate head coach/pitching coach at North Carolina, would be a logical candidate to succeed Hudak, but Forbes is also very loyal to Hudak and might be hesitant to take the job after Hudak was forced out.
Houston, though, succeeded in bringing a former player and assistant coach home to lead its program. Whitting, fresh off a College World Series appearance as Texas Christian's associate head coach and recruiting coordinator, returns to his alma mater, where he also helped lead the Cougars to six regionals from 1996-2003 as an assistant under Rayner Noble.
"It's exciting, man. It's good to be home," Whitting told me this afternoon. "I've been preparing for this thing for 15 years.
"I'm just real excited, wearing a bunch of hats right now. It's good stuff, real fun. Last month, to win a super regional and be in Omaha, then to be hired here at Houston—it doesn't get much better than that."
Whitting said there's no time to lose on the recruiting trail, and he will let us know when he has filled out his staff.
Whitting is an ouststanding recruiter who played a crucial role in building the foundation for TCU's run to Omaha. His track record of success is impeccable; he has been a part of 12 consecutive regional teams at TCU and Houston. This is a simply outstanding hire for the Cougars.
Keller joins the Dallas Baptist staff a day after Michigan announced it hired Matt White to replace him as pitching coach. Keller has 15 years of Division I coaching experience at Michigan, Birmingham-Southern and Georgia State.
"I am very excited that Bob is joining our staff," DBU head coach Dan Heefner said in a statement. "His coaching ability and faith make him a perfect fit for the DBU baseball program as we are seeking to develop our players on and off the field."
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