Mik Aoki has been down this road before. When he was the head coach at Boston College, Aoki led the Eagles through the transition from the Big East Conference to the Atlantic Coast Conference, and he handled it with aplomb. BC made it to regionals in 2009, its fourth season in the ACC.
Soon Aoki must guide another program from the Big East to the ACC, a conference populated largely by warm-weather baseball powers. The ACC officially welcomed Notre Dame to the conference Wednesday (for all sports except football). Aoki, now the head coach for the Fighting Irish, will shepherd his program into the ACC sometime in the next 27 months, though it's unclear if the Irish can negotiate an exit fee to expedite that process.
"Baseball is a really big deal to the ACC," Aoki said in a statement. "Our conference is exciting, the venues from Miami to Florida State to Clemson to Georgia Tech to N.C. State to Virginia. It is simply a who's who of college baseball. The game operation, fan base and facilities, I just think it's a really big move for our baseball program to compete in that conference. If you look at the ACC over the last 10 years or so, the ACC has either been No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3 in conference RPI. This is a major upgrade for our program."
Horton's Contract Expires; Meggs Signs Extension
Oregon coach George Horton's contract expired Monday with no new deal in place, but Horton has said he's optimistic a new agreement would be reached soon. The Oregonian reported that the baseball program ran an operating deficit of roughly $1.54 million last year, although that figure does not include funds offset by the elimination of the wrestling program to bring back baseball (for a savings of approximately $650,000 per year), nor merchandise and licensing deals.
The paper also reported that Horton's agent, Greg Genske, asked for a five-year deal worth about $3 million total, but the school was weighing how much it was willing to spend on a program that loses money.
Still, indications suggest that Horton wants to stay, the school wants to keep him, and a deal will be completed soon.
Meanwhile, another Pacific Northwest school in the same conference extended its coach's contract on Monday. Washington announced that coach Lindsay Meggs signed a three-year extension through the 2017 season. The Huskies posted their highest win total (30) since 2008 last year, and all signs point to a program on the rise. Construction on a new $15 million ballpark is underway, and UW has done well on the recruiting trail under Meggs.
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