Boston College announced Monday that it has hired Mike Gambino as its new head coach.
Since 2006, Gambino has served as an assistant at Virginia Tech under former BC coach Pete Hughes. He also served as a volunteer under Hughes at BC from 2003-'05, and he played infield for the Eagles from 1995-2000. In the last decade, he also has spent two stints in professional ball, working in scouting and player development for the Red Sox and in scouting for the Tigers. The 32-year-old Gambino has proven his recruiting mettle at Virginia Tech, where he served as the recruiting coordinator and played a key role in building the Hokies' first regional team in a decade this spring.
“We are very excited to bring back Mike Gambino as our new head coach,” BC athletics director Gene DeFilippo said in a release. “As a former player and assistant coach here, Mike has the experience and passion to bring the baseball program to the next level. He has already hit the ground running.”
Gambino emerged as the front-runner immediately after the BC job became vacant when Mik Aoki left for Notre Dame. The Eagles also interviewed Wright State coach Rob Cooper, former Miami recruiting coordinator Gino DiMare and current BC assistant Steve Englert (who is not going with Aoki to Notre Dame and would seem to be a candidate to join Gambino's staff at BC).
Aoki told BA on Monday that BC made the right hire to replace him.
"I'm thrilled for that hire—I think it's perfect," Aoki said. "BC is one of those places that represents some different challenges, and Mike being an alum, Mike having coached there, I think he's really familiar with those challenges. I think Mike will do a great job; he's highly organized, he has a huge motor in him to go and do it. BC's a place you need that, you need a big motor, you need to have a passion for the place. That kid absolutely bleeds maroon and gold, and I think that he will represent the same types of values that served both Pete and me well there. I'm excited for Mike, I'm excited for BC, and I know there's probably going to be a little trepidation on the part of our players and some of the incoming kids that are there. But I think he's the perfect guy at the perfect time, and I'm really thrilled that he was the guy that they chose."
• Elsewhere, we reported on Twitter on Friday that Texas Christian was set to hire Missouri recruiting coordinator Tony Vitello to replace Todd Whitting (who left to become head coach at Houston).The Horned Frogs made it official this morning, announcing Vitello as their new recruiting coordinator. Vitello spent the last eight years at Missouri, helping construct seven regionals teams in that period, and he is one of the top up-and-coming coaches in the Midwest. This is a fantastic hire for TCU.
"We searched nationwide for the right fit for our program, and Tony clearly emerged as one of the nation's most aggressive, hard-working and knowledgeable recruiters,” said TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle in a release. “He comes widely recommended and has been a major part of Missouri's outstanding baseball program over the last several years."
"The timing could not be better to join the baseball family at TCU,” Vitello said. “The athletic department as a whole is taking off, but the baseball program recently impacted people nationwide with the exposure they earned in Omaha."
• New Western Michigan coach Billy Gernon announced Monday the hiring of Blaine McFerrin and Brent Alwine as assistants on his coaching staff. McFerrin spent the last four years at Georgia State, and Alwine spent the last two at Creighton. Both were former players and assistant coaches under Gernon during his tenure at IPFW. McFerrin will serve as the Broncos’ pitching coach, while Alwine will be the program’s recruiting coordinator and work with the infield.
• Finally, this weekend I caught up with South Alabama's new head coach-in-waiting, Mark Calvi, the former pitching coach at South Carolina. Calvi is understandably excited about his new opportunity.
"I really think you have a chance to win there," he said. "The commitment to athletics from (athletics director) Dr. (Joel) Erdmann and president (Gordon) Moulton, it was so impressive. I love South Carolina and Ray Tanner and Chad Holbrook and all the guys I worked with. I wouldn't leave for just anything. I really think this is a job you can really, really win, and I know they have. They've won big and had some great tradition, and for whatever reason it's not rolling as fast as it has.
"Regardless of what we did this year, and it was wonderful, it was beyond my wildest dreams, this last month, this season. But even if we hadn't won a national championship, and this opportunity had presented itself, I would have taken it, because I've always wanted to be a head coach, and I knew in my heart I wouldn't leave for just any place. It had to be the right place. There were four or five places oin my mind that fit that mold, and South Alabama was one of them."
I asked Calvi if he has a specific recruiting plan once he takes over as head coach.
"Recruiting is the No. 1 aspect in the hierarchy," he said. "There are a lot of other things, but for anything to be done right, it takes some time. You can't rush it, you can't throw together one recruiting class and all of a sudden you're there. It takes a few recruiting classes, done right. I've coached for two guys, and done it right. I've been fortunate to be around Jim Toman, one of the best recruiting coordinators in the country, and Chad Holbrook is right with him. I do believe Alabama is a great state, with some kids who are great fits for your program. I've always done the junior college route as well. There's great talent all around Alabama and Texas and the Panhandle in Florida. We'll try to hit Alabama the hardest and the surrounding area for high school guys, and we'll go up North a little bit. There will be no area that will be off-limits."
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