The coaching carousel doesn't stop spinning just because the College World Series is about to start. Here's a roundup of some notable coaching developments over the last two days:
• In one of the most stunning coaching moves of the year, Alabama State hired Mervyl Melendez away from Bethune-Cookman, where he played, served as an assistant and has spent the last 12 years as the head coach, winning 11 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference titles in that period. Melendez has led the Wildcats to six straight regionals, and they currently own a 46-game winning streak in MEAC play after posting their second consecutive 18-0 regular season and perfect run through the conference tournament.
In a release, B-CU director of athletics Lynn Thompson called Melendez "a legend." Landing him is a huge boon for Alabama State, which has never been to regionals.
"I'm proud of every player that has played for me and every coach that has coached for me. They have paved the way for me to move on and get closer to the dream of getting to Omaha," Melendez said in a release. "This leap here is about taking another step in my career in hopes to take it to a new level."
Alabama State went 14-29 overall and 6-18 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference this year, so clearly Melendez will find the path to regionals much more challenging in 2012. But the Hornets must be serious about trying to become the premier program in the SWAC to make a move like this.
“His teams have competed against and beaten the best programs in the nation,” Alabama State athletic director Stacy Danley said in a release. “We look forward to him elevating the Alabama State baseball program to new heights and prominence. This hire makes a bold statement to our players, alumni, fans, and supporters that we want to be among the best in the nation in all sports.”
• Nebraska coach Darin Erstad hired Ted Silva away from Loyola Marymount to be his pitching coach. Silva is one of the top pitching minds on the West Coast, and LMU coach Jason Gill raved about his positive impact on the Lions' staff in his only year at the school this spring. Silva also helped UC Irvine reach three straight regionals as the pitching coach from 2008-10. Erstad said when he was hired that landing a top-flight pitching coach was a top priority. Mission accomplished.
• South Alabama has hired Bob Keller as pitching coach. Keller helped lead Dallas Baptist to super regionals as the Patriots' pitching coach this spring and also went to supers as pitching coach at Michigan in 2007. Before his six-year stint at Michigan, he spent time at Birmingham Southern and Georgia State, so this move marks a return to the Southeast for Keller, whose wife has family in Atlanta.
• Chase Parham of rebelgrove.com reported that Mississippi has hired Central Florida hitting coach Cliff Godwin as an assistant, replacing Matt Mossberg, who resigned on June 6. Godwin has overseen potent offenses everywhere he's gone, helping UCF slug its way to regionals this spring and Louisiana State mash its way to Omaha in 2008, before leaving with Terry Rooney for UCF.
• Chris Webb of Buckeye State Baseball reports that Akron will interview former Kent State and Wake Forest coach Rick Rembielak next week. The Zips are looking to replace head coach Pat Bangston, who resigned after six seasons in May. Rembielak, an Akron alum and member of the Greater Akron Baseball Hall of Fame, would be a logical fit for the Zips. He spent this year as a volunteer assistant at Georgia Tech.
• UC Santa Barbara and former Arizona State coach Pat Murphy had been close to a deal, but the school got cold feet at the last minute, sources say. Now the Gauchos are believed to be bearing down on Oregon assistant Andrew Checketts, a highly regarded pitching coach with Big West experience from his days on the staff at UC Riverside. Checketts would be an outstanding hire.
• Oklahoma pitching coach Mike Bell is believed to be the favorite to take over for Jamey Shouppe on Mike Martin's staff at Florida State. Bell is a Florida State graduate and seems like a perfect fit for the Seminoles.
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