Barring an unexpected development later this summer or fall, the final Division I head coaching vacancy of the year has been filled. New Mexico State announced Thursday that it has hired Brian Green as head coach.
Green, a 1995 New Mexico State graduate, has spent the last six years as an assistant at Kentucky, where he coordinated the offense and the infield defense. Before that, he spent four years at UCLA, establishing a reputation as a talented recruiter and hitting coach. His other coaching stops include Hawaii, Oregon State, San Diego, Chapman (Calif.), Cal Poly Pomona, Riverside (Calif.) CC and New Mexico State.
“I am pleased to welcome Coach Green back home to lead the Aggie baseball program to a shared vision of excellence,” NMSU athletics director Dr. McKinley Boston said in a release. “Coach Green has prepared himself well for this opportunity by working for and under very successful Division I coaches. I believed with the baseball knowledge, recruiting ability and familiarity with NM State, he is ready to hit the ground running. He has indicated that the $1.4 million facility upgrades will certainly enhance recruiting as well as for providing for an enhanced quality of experience for our baseball team.”
Green beat out former Arizona State coach Tim Esmay and Lamar (Colo.) CC coach Scott Crampton for the head job at New Mexico State, a program that typically rates among the national leaders in offense but struggles to recruit quality arms to the thin air and low humidity of Las Cruces. He replaces Rocky Ward, who was fired after the season. Like Ward, Green excels at teaching offense, and the Aggies should continue to thrive in that area under his leadership. He has long been regarded as a promising head coaching prospect, and he figures to make an impact quickly at his alma mater.
The other two searches that stretched into the summer were at UC Riverside (which recently made its hire of Troy Percival official) and Rhode Island (which elevated assistant Raphel Cerrato to interim head coach for the 2015 season after Jim Foster left to become associate head coach at Boston College).
Another former D-I head coach, Ryan Wheeler, was introduced as an assistant at St. Joseph’s on Friday. Wheeler had spent the previous three years as head coach at Temple, but he found himself out of work when the school eliminated its baseball program after this season. By taking a job on Fritz Hamburg’s staff at St. Joseph’s, Wheeler gets to keep coaching without having to move his family to a new city. He will serve as the Hawks’ recruiting coordinator and coach infielders, baserunning and bunting.