Ohio State Baseball Coaching Profile: 10 Candidates To Replace Bill Mosiello


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On Friday, Bill Mosiello stepped down after two seasons as Ohio State’s head baseball coach. He is headed back to TCU to serve as associate head coach, the position he held before arriving in Columbus.

While the move is unusual and Ohio State does have a new athletic director–longtime boss Gene Smith is retiring and Ross Bjork was hired away from Texas A&M to replace him–Mosiello’s decision is reportedly more about family considerations than anything on the field.

Still, Ohio State is now hiring a new baseball coach for the second time in two years. The hire comes at a very interesting time in college athletics. The Big Ten is expanding with the additions of Oregon, Southern California, UCLA and Washington. The impending settlement of the House v. NCAA case has the potential to upend the entire structure of the sport. This is occurring during time of change in Columbus.

A change in athletic director after 20 years has the potential to significantly impact the baseball program. Bjork spent the last 12 years as an athletic director in the SEC at A&M and Ole Miss. He previously worked as an associate athletic director at UCLA and Miami. That’s a lot of time around elite baseball programs and, by all accounts, he’s a strong supporter of the sport.

Ohio State was once clearly part of the top tier of Big Ten programs. It hosted a regional in 2001 and a super regional in 2003. More recently, it made the NCAA Tournament three times in four years from 2016-19, twice winning the Big Ten Tournament in that stretch.

But the rest of the Big Ten has caught up. Indiana and Michigan have both reached the College World Series since 2013. Illinois and Minnesota have also been to super regionals. Since 2012, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota and Purdue have all hosted regionals. That doesn’t even encompass Nebraska, which has made the NCAA Tournament six times in 12 years since joining the conference, or the impact of the coming westward expansion. Meanwhile, since the pandemic, Ohio State has finished in the top six of the conference standings once and is 103-101 over four seasons.

Ohio State can’t afford to keep doing what it’s been doing. It needs something to kick it back into gear–likely both from an administrative standpoint and with the right coaching hire.

The Candidates

The question that everyone associated with this job has to ask themselves is, “How good is the Ohio State job?”

It’s not an easy question to answer. On one hand, Ohio State is a massive national brand and one of the two or three richest athletic departments in the country. The Big Ten is the richest conference in college sports. In the new order of college baseball, whatever that looks like exactly, that money is going to play. Beyond the finances, Bill Davis Stadium is a nice ballpark. Ohio is a solid baseball state. There’s a huge fanbase (if you can engage it in baseball).

On the other hand, while the Big Ten has significantly improved on the diamond over the last 10-15 years, it’s clearly still behind the other major conferences. Indiana and Michigan are the only teams to make it to Omaha in the 21st century and they’ve made one trip apiece. Yes, the weather makes things tough for programs. But Kentucky is playing in Omaha this year. Kansas State and West Virginia also made super regionals. None of those schools have weather much different than Ohio State and it’s arguably worse in Morgantown. Is the infrastructure there for Big Ten programs to make that kind of run?

Like everything else, this hire will in large part come down to how much Ohio State is willing to pay. This extends to the assistant pool and the rest of the foundation for the program. Bigger names could join this list if Ohio State decides to break the bank, or some coaches in the ACC and Big 12 who are concerned about the future see more security in the Big Ten.

Sean Allen, associate head coach, Ohio State: Allen, 44, has a long, successful track record as an assistant coach. He has worked at Ohio State, Texas, Tulane, Sam Houston State, Houston and Florida International. Allen has drawn serious looks for head jobs in recent years. He could provide the Buckeyes with continuity in the wake of Mosiello’s departure.

Jimmy Belanger, pitching coach, Clemson: Belanger, 37, is in his second season at Clemson and has helped the Tigers rise to the top of the ACC. Belanger has previously coached at Florida State, Kentucky, Maryland and Monmouth, earning strong reviews along the way. His experience both in the Big Ten at Maryland and in the area with Kentucky make for an intriguing profile for Ohio State.

Bill Cilento, associate head coach, Wake Forest: Cilento, 44, is in his 14th season at Wake Forest and 16th overall on staff with coach Tom Walter. As recruiting coordinator, he played a key role in building the Demon Deacons’ top-ranked team in 2023, including their first-ever Top 25 classes. Cilento has played a key role in building the program at Wake, helping to win the ACC title last year and reach the College World Series.

Drew Dickinson, pitching coach, Virginia: Dickinson, 44, is in his fifth season at Virginia. He has helped the Cavaliers reach the College World Series three times, including this year. He previously spent eight years on staff at Illinois, his alma mater. His ties to the Big Ten and the Midwest, in addition to his work as a pitching coach, make for an intriguing profile at Ohio State.

Justin Haire, head coach, Campbell: Haire, 43, guided Campbell to five straight NCAA Tournament appearances from 2018-23. While that streak ended this season following the school’s move from the Big South to the Coastal Athletic Association, the Camels still won more than 30 games for the sixth straight year. Haire turned the Camels into a premier mid-major program, achieving both on-field success and developing high-end talent like All-Americans Cade Kuehler and Zach Neto. He has never worked in a major conference, but his program-building has him ready to make the jump. He’s a native of Hamilton, Ohio, and played two years at Bowling Green State.

Mark Kingston: Kingston, 54, was fired by South Carolina after seven seasons. While it never really clicked for him in Columbia, he led the Gamecocks to the NCAA Tournament four times and super regionals twice. He previously was head coach at South Florida and Illinois State and has led his teams to six of the last nine NCAA Tournaments. He has a career record of 490-335-1 and would bring plenty of experience, including time in the Midwest at Illinois State and Purdue (as an assistant).

UPDATE: Since this list was first published, Kingston accepted a job as head-coach-in-waiting at Creighton.

Billy O’Conner, head coach, Xavier: O’Conner, 37, took over his alma mater in 2017 following six years as an assistant coach. He led the Musketeers to the NCAA Tournament in 2023 and a winning record in four straight seasons, the program’s longest streak in 40 years. He’s one of the youngest head coaches in college baseball and has the look of a rising star.

Nick Schnabel, associate head coach, Clemson: Schnabel, the 2019 Assistant Coach of the Year, played a key role in building Michigan before following Erik Bakich to Clemson. As Michigan’s recruiting coordinator, he put together the Wolverines’ 10th-ranked 2017 class, the highest-ranked class in Big Ten history. At Clemson, he has helped the Tigers quickly rise back to the top of the ACC. They’ve earned back-to-back top-eight seeds in the NCAA Tournament. Schnabel, 46, would bring a lot of experience to the job.

Scott Stricklin: Stricklin, 52, is an Ohio native. He played and coached at Kent State, leading his alma mater to the 2012 College World Series. He spent 10 seasons as Georgia’s head coach before he was fired following the 2023 season. Stricklin has a 632-399-1 record in 19 seasons as a head coach, including some big moments in his career. He’d be a strong fit in Columbus.

Edwin Thompson, head coach, Georgetown: Thompson, 44, has orchestrated an impressive turnaround at Georgetown. This year he led the Hoyas to a 36-21 mark and a third-place finish in the Big East. In 11 years as a head coach at Georgetown, Eastern Kentucky and Bates (Maine), he is 262-251 and has proven himself adept at program building. Ohio State got an up-close look at Thompson when Georgetown swept the Buckeyes in Columbus in March.

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