The coaching carousel hasn't finished spinning yet.
Mike Villano, who has coached Western Illinois for the past three seasons, announced his resignation Wednesday. Assistant coaches Shane Davis and Cooper Stewart (who assisted in running the program in fall 2009 prior to Villano's arrival) will oversee the day-to-day operations until a head coach is named.
Villano is resigning to pursue an opportunity outside of coaching in business sales.
"I've been involved with baseball after college for 18 years, and everyone has to make decisions for different reasons," Villano said in a release. "I'm at a different chapter in my life to go experience a new challenge. I love Western, I love Macomb and I love these players . . . The foundation is here to win some championships and I for one will be their biggest fan."
Villano led the Leathernecks to the Summit League tournament in 2011 for the first time in three years; they went 21-38 overall that season and 13-15 in league play. WIU went 17-35-1 last year.
Harvard Names Lo Ricco Interim Head Coach
On Tuesday, Harvard elevated assistant Tom Lo Ricco to interim head baseball coach. Lo Ricco, who is entering his eighth season on the Harvard staff and has served as recruiting coordinator since his arrival, will lead the program in its transition while the university conducts a nationwide search for its head coach following the unexpected death of head coach Joe Walsh at the end of July.
It stands to reason that Lo Ricco will be one of the top candidates to assume the head job on a full-time basis. He has previous head coaching experience at the Division III level—at Westfield (Mass.) State and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. He has other Division I coaching stops at Wofford and Massachusetts.
Oregon's Horton Still Without New Contract
In other coaching news, the Oregonian had an interesting piece yesterday about Oregon coach George Horton's contract status. Horton's five-year deal is set to expire on Sept. 10, and currently no new deal is in place. Horton told the paper that he is optimistic a deal with get done soon, but the situation bears monitoring given how unusual it is for a highly successful coach to get so close to the end of his contract without a new deal in place.
According to the report, Horton's agent, Greg Genske, has asked for a five-year deal worth about $3 million over the life of the contract, for an average annual income of roughly $600,000. Horton's last deal paid him a base salary of $450,000, plus incentives.
Complicating the negotiations, Oregon's baseball program operated at a deficit of roughly $1.54 million last year, according to the paper. The program brought in $649,981 in revenues in 2011 but had expenses that year of nearly $2.19 million.
But Oregon's athletic department is flush with money, and if the school wants to continue employing one of the half-dozen or so premier coaches in college baseball, it surely must be prepared to pay him accordingly, whether the program makes a profit or not. With that said, Horton was already believed to be the highest-paid coach in the Pacific-12 Conference. Stay tuned.
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