Aaron Fitt at Baseball America has a pretty comprehensive list of coaches that may or may not be on McGarity's radar. The real question on Georgia baseball fans' minds is how aggressive we'll be in pursuing a proven coach. And that's why I like Fitt's list. He has a number of hot head coaches' names as well as some assistants that may be ready for a big step up.
Inserting the obvious pun here, I'd love to see our AD swing for the fences. As Fitt mentions, there's no shame in getting a top assistant that has proven his value to college baseball both on the playing field and in the recruiting fields. Fitt mentions Brian O'Connor for a reason. He spent years as an assistant proving his worth before getting the job in Charlottesville. And that move has paid off in spades for the Cavaliers. O'Connor has been named ACC coach of the year three times and national coach of the year twice.
The Card's Dan McDonnell is 258-128 in Louisville.If Georgia wants to make a major financial commitment, it might start by approaching some of college baseball’s most successful established head coaches, like Louisville’s Dan McDonnell, Virginia’s Brian O’Connor, TCU’s Jim Schlossnagle or Kent State’s Scott Stricklin. None of those coaches would be an easy hire, but Georgia has the resources to shoot for the moon. Mid-major head coaches like South Alabama’s Mark Calvi, UCF’s Terry Rooney, Samford’s Casey Dunn, Mercer’s Craig Gibson, Illinois State’s Mark Kingston or College of Charleston’s Monte Lee could also make intriguing targets.Or the Bulldogs could try to land the next O’Connor, Tim Corbin or Kevin O’Sullivan—all of whom were can’t-miss prospects as assistant coaches who have been hugely successful in their first head coaching stints at major-conference schools. If Georgia decides to take that route, it figures to look at North Carolina’s Scott Forbes, Virginia’s Kevin McMullan, Arkansas’ Todd Butler, Mississippi State’s Butch Thompson or Mississippi’s Cliff Godwin.
For me, it's just easier for McGarity to go after a proven head guy. All he has to do is open the check book. Georgia is fertile ground in recruiting with excellent talent coming from both the Atlanta area and south Georgia. Plus, the head coach at Georgia enjoys the added bonus of being able to utilize the HOPE Scholarship to manage the roster. That's like printing money in terms of being able to fill out a roster with talent without strapping your program's scholarship counts.
Will McGarity make the big move and try to lure one of these proven coaches to Athens? Or will he settle in on a safe name and save some money? Either way, we're about to learn something about our baseball program and our athletic director.