I usually write the Monday Morning Wash early Sunday mornings and update it before publishing on Monday morning. For some reason today's article didn't save and it was lost which is a bummer because I have to write it all over again. Perhaps it will be better on the second churn.
The focus this week is on the hiring of new baseball coach Lindsay Meggs which will be announced on campus today. Meggs wan't the first choice and reports are floating around out there that at least three other college coaches were interviewed for the position and turned it down.
Washington is not a baseball hot bed currently. In fact it has always been treated as a third world sport at Washington. Simply put this program has never had the resources it has needed to consistently compete at the top level of national competition. It also has never been a priority until now for the athletic department to develop a top flight program.
A few things have changed the vision of the athletic department towards men's baseball over the past year.
- The Women's Softball squad has recovered from the Dr. Feelgood scandal and under Coach Heather Tarr won its first national title in 2009.
- Oregon State has won two national championships this decade on the diamond using mostly players from Oregon and the Northwest.
- Oregon has re-established its baseball program complete with modern facilities.
- Washington State which had a great baseball tradition under coach Bobo Brayton has been resurgent and qualified for the regional playoff's in 2009.
- Scott Woodward and Mark Emmert were both at LSU which won the NCAA World Series in 2009. They both feel Baseball along with Softball can be revenue producers at Washington which help add dollars to the general operating budget of the self supporting athletic department.
Washington need more than a few things to be competitive in the top tier of the sport.
- The hiring of a new baseball coach who is motivated enough to take it to the next level. I don't think their are too many people who don't like or respect former coach Ken Knutson but at this stage of his career the motivation to go out and recruit regionally and build a champion wasn't there.
- Tubby Graves Field where the Huskies formerly played was a rock pile that didn't have any budget for maintenance. In other words the players and the coaches were the grounds crew.
- The new field is first class with a field turf outfield. What it lacks is a permanent stadium surrounding it with locker rooms, dug outs, cement stands, concessions, lights, and support facilities.
When the athletic department finally updates Husky Stadium they are going to have to build a new track and field facility to replace the track that is inside the stadium. The idea is to locate in conjunction with the Soccerstadium which by the way like the Baseball stadium was never completed.
What the athletic department has done is found a donor who is going to complete those projects because they are adjacent to each other. The idea is that when the funds for Husky Stadium are available they will already have this piece completed.
So with the hiring of current Indiana State, and former Chico State coach Lindsay Meggs Washington is now on the road to building a championship baseball program. Meggs looks like a solid choice to lead the program. He has won everwhere he has been.
Meggs took the reigns of the Sycamore baseball program in 2006, coming to ISU after spending the past 13 seasons as head coach at California State-Chico where he guided the Wildcats to two NCAA Division II National Championships and compiled an overall record of 538-228-4. Meggs' Wildcats have qualified for the World Series seven times in the last 10 years. California State-Chico also captured eight conference championships and seven regional crowns during that 10-year span. A two-time NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year (1997 and 1999), Meggs has been named regional coach of the year seven times and has captured conference coach of the year honors on seven occasions.
A college baseball expert at Yahoo wasn't impressed with the job the UW athletic deaprtment was doing with the coaching search. The main reason was because it was taking so long recruiting at Washington was at a standstill during the busiest recruiting period of the year.
In most searches, institutions devise a plan on potential candidates, budgets and what type of coach they want to lead their program.
Instead of organization and deep knowledge of the situation, Washington’s search initially seemed like a group of kids sitting around throwing darts at a board, just hoping that a great coach would fall into their laps.
That hasn’t and probably won’t happen.
The point is with Washington's history in the sport and sub par facilites it was going to be very tough to grab a top thirty coach from a BCS type program which is what they wanted to do. What they should have done since they have privately known for year that they were going to replace Knutson is put together a list of reasonable candidates and do a little research. That way when the fired Knutson they would have already had a good idea of what direction they were going in.
In the end Washington ended up with a guy who has won every place he has been at and has important West Coast recruiting ties. He seems to be the ideal coach for the position and the only negative is some lost time on the recruiting trail. Since Knutson was not an agressive recruiter anyway perhaps the point is moot. One thing I did hear is that Knutson always left a surplus in his recruiting budget which means he wasn't visiting enough kids and he wasn't getting enough kids to visit. That in a nutshell is the reason UW has a new baseball coach this morning.
So now that step one is complete all Scott Woodawrd has to do is finish the baseball facitlities and send his new coach out on the road to recruit in the quest of turning baseball into a revenue earning sport. Baseball is popular in the Northwest. One look at the attendance of the Mariner's, Rainier's, and the Aquasox tells you that if you put a quality product out on the field and promote it people will come and watch. A succesful baseball program has the potential to draw as many fans and sell as many tickets as perhaps the Aqua Sox.
Dailey at Sacramento State
According to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times former UW TB Terrance Dailey has enrolled at Sacramento State which means he can start playing right away for the Hornet's who play in the Big Sky Conference.