The American Baseball Coaches Association announced Monday that High Point athletics director Craig Keilitz will take over as executive director of the organization on July 1, replacing his father Dave Keilitz, who is retiring after 20 years in the role.
Craig Keilitz serves on the NCAA Championship/Sports Management Cabinet and the Big South Baseball Committee, and he is chair of the Big South Council on Athletic Directors. So he has experience dealing with the NCAA bureaucratic structure. Before arriving at High Point in 2008, he was the associate athletic director at Wake Forest from 1996-2008.
“Craig is the ideal fit for the ABCA in so many ways,” said Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin, the 2013 president of the ABCA. “He is a very talented person who has the motor, care level, vision and character to continue the growth of our organization. His leadership skills are very natural and engaging. I am very excited for the ABCA and Craig personally, as I know that he will immerse himself in this great opportunity.”
Keilitz has big shoes to fill, as his father was widely regarded as a model executive over the last two decades, skillfully balancing the needs of a diverse constituency with a pragmatic touch necessary to negotiate the NCAA’s labryinthine legislative process. College baseball is in better shape than ever, but the NCAA is entering a perilous period, under fire from current and former student-athletes who want to dramatically overhaul the structure of an organization that generates billions of dollars in revenue but does not pay the players who produce the product it is selling. The entire edifice of the NCAA’s suspect notion of “amateurism” is trembling, and college baseball needs strong leadership to protect its future.
The new executive director also should prioritize pushing for a change in the NCAA’s policy against agents in baseball. NCAA officials have repeatedly acknowledged the need to revise the rules to comply with the industry norm—which is that the overwhelming majority of top amateur baseball prospects are represented by agents. But no action has been taken, and a couple of players per year are punished for doing exactly what everybody else does. That injustice must be eliminated.
Craig Keilitz will be fortunate to have his father available as a resource and a mentor as he gets acclimated to his new role. To use baseball parlance, he has good bloodlines.
Four Top 25 teams were in action Monday, and three of them were victorious. Oregon coach George Horton earned his 900th career victory, as his Ducks completed a four-game sweep at Hawaii with a 10-2 win. Scott Heineman and Tyler Baumgartner had three hits and three RBIs apiece to lead the offense in support of Jeff Gold (6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER).
No. 2 Oregon State also improved to 4-0, shutting out Pacific 7-0. Michael Conforto (2-for-4, 3 RBI, 3B) continued his torrid start—he is hitting .500 (7-for-14) with 11 RBIs on the young season. Jake Thompson (7 IP, 3 H, 0 R) earned the win.
No. 6 North Carolina State improved to 1-1 with an 11-4 win against Canisius. Logan Jernigan, who has struggled with control throughout his career, walked five in four inefficient innings, but D.J. Thomas picked him up with three strong innings of relief, allowing one run on one hit while fanning six. The Wolfpack shuffled the lineup after getting shut out in Sunday’s opener, moving Brett Austin (4-for-6, 2 R, 3 RBI) to the leadoff spot and Trea Turner (1-for-3, 2 RBI, SB) down to the No. 3 hole.
There were also two notable upsets. No. 17 North Carolina dropped the rubber game of its series at College of Charleston, 3-1. Eric Bauer (6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER) stymied the UNC offense, while freshman Zac Gallen (6.2 IP, 7 H, 2 ER) pitched well in defeat for the Tar Heels. Gunnar Heidt (2-for-3, R, RBI) led the CofC offense.
Kentucky fell to South Carolina-Upstate, 8-6. Erik Samples (3-for-5, 2 R, 3 RBI) led the Upstate offense back from an early 4-0 deficit. Upstate tied the game with four runs in the third and took the lead for good with three runs in the sixth.