By John Manuel
September 19, 2001
The foregone conclusion will become official Thursday.
That’s when San Diego State, in a press conference scheduled for 1 p.m. Pacific Time, will name Padres outfielder Tony Gwynn as its new head baseball coach, effective at the end of the 2002 season.
He will replace Jim Dietz, who coached Gwynn with the Aztecs in the early 1980s and who already has announced his intention to retire after the upcoming season. One area television report indicated Gwynn would serve as an assistant in 2002 to Dietz before taking over the program.
Gwynn, 41, is in 20th big league season, all with the Padres, and started lobbying for the job as soon as Dietz made his retirement announcement in May. His son Anthony will be a sophomore for the Aztecs this season after hitting .318-0-23 with 19 stolen bases in 2001. Gwynn’s agent John Boggs has negotiated with Aztecs athletic director Rick Bay and told the Associated Press that Gwynn interviewed for the job formally on Sept. 5.
“I’ve said this enough times: I want the job, I think I’d do a good job,” Gwynn, who wore Aztecs shorts under his Padres shorts during batting practice, told the AP. “I think I’m going to get it. I feel confident I’m going to get it. I feel confident that the interview went well.”
Gwynn is synonymous with baseball in San Diego. The Aztecs play in Tony Gwynn Stadium, built in 1997 with funding from Padres owner John Moores. Gwynn hit .398 in his SDSU career while also playing point guard for the Aztecs basketball team.
He’s also expected to include his brother Chris, also an Aztec alum, on his staff. The younger Gwynn broke most of Tony’s SDSU records and is currently a scout for the Padres.
Going into Tuesday night’s game, Gwynn had 3,137 hits, 17th on the career list, and a .338 lifetime average.