Here are my Top Five choices to take over the Arizona State baseball program for the 2011 season if I was in Lisa Love’s position. Tim Esmay was named the Interim head coach for the 2010 season on December 3rd. The new coach will have to deal with potential NCAA or university sanctions from an ongoing investigation into the baseball program. This might end up pushing some candidates away from the job.
- Rich Hill (San Diego)- He has led the Toreros to a 382-261 record over the last 11 seasons. Before heading to San Diego, he spent five seasons with San Francisco after building Cal-Lutheran into a Division 3 powerhouse. He has worked with multiple All-Americans including Brian Matusz who was selected with the fourth overall pick. Hill also has many recruiting connections on the west coast which will help the ASU program continue to be one of the top programs in the country. He would also bring stability to the program as he has been with San Diego for 11 seasons. The only negative with Hill is the fact that most of his teams have relied on pitching and failed to make any noise in the NCAA Tournament even though they have been highly seeded. Odds: 5-1
- Nino Giarratano (San Francisco)- He has had an excellent career with the San Francisco Dons as he has a 308-317 record as he enters his 12th season with the program. He also had an outstanding run at Trinidad State Junior College from 1989-94. He led the Trojans to five College World Series appearances in six seasons as Trinidad State posted a 233-86 (.730) mark during his tenure. He left Trinidad State for Yavapai Community College in Prescott, Arizona where he went 77-36 (.681). He left Yavapai Community College to become an assistant coach at Arizona State under Pat Murphy where he served as the hitting instructor, offensive coordinator, and third base coach in 1996 and 1997. Giarratano’s teams have been winners in the classroom picking up multiple awards with four student athletes named to the All-WCC Academic Team during the 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2009 seasons. Nino knows the Arizona State program from the inside as he spent those two seasons under Murphy in the mid-90’s. His biggest negative is the fact he has never truly had a breakout season with the Dons and is under .500 lifetime in Division 1. Odds: 3-1
- Tim Esmay (Arizona State)- He was named the Arizona State Interim Head Coach last week as he enters his 11th season working with the baseball program. He worked as the head coach at Utah from 1997-2004 accumulating a 213-235-1 record. The biggest reason why he might become the permanent head coach is the fact that he is a graduate of Arizona State and the Sun Devils are loaded with talent for the 2010 season so they should have a successful season as the Interim coach. If he has a successful campaign, then I will consider Esmay the leading candidate. The biggest negative with Esmay is that he had an outstanding first season with Utah but ended up below .500 as a head coach. Odds: 2-1
- Donnie Marbut (Washington State)- He is entering his sixth season with the Cougars baseball program where he has a 147-137 overall record. He has risen up the coaching ranks getting his first job in 1998 at Capital High where he served as an assistant coach for the 3A state champs. He spent the 1999 season with Bellevue Community College where he again served as an assistant coach as the team won the Northern Division. He returned to his alma mater Edmonds Community College in the 2000 season when he was named the head coach. He coached there for four seasons winning North Division Coach of the Year award in 2000, 2001, and 2003. He also was named NWAACC Coach of the Year during the 2002 and 2003 seasons. He had a career record of 152-38 record before leaving after the 2003 season to become an assistant coach with Washington State for the 2003-2004 where he served one season going 29-24 before being named the head coach in May of 2004. In his first season, he led them to a 21-37 record but has since turned things around with four consecutive winning seasons. I believe that Marbut is an excellent candidate for this job as he is a young coach that has had great track record of success. The biggest question is whether Arizona State would hire a coach from inside the conference. Odds: 10-1
- Mike Batesole (Fresno State)- He is entering his eighth season with the Bulldogs after winning the 2008 College World Series with a historical run to Omaha. He has a career record of 507-353-1 including seven seasons with Fresno State and seven seasons with Cal-State Northridge. They won the 2006-2008 WAC Regular Season and Postseason Tournaments before getting beat out in the regular season last season by San Jose State but ended up winning the WAC Tournament to make another trip to the NCAA Tournament. Batesole is a nationally recognized coach with strong recruiting ties on the West Coast which would transfer over well to the Arizona State program. He would also have more financial backing at ASU when compared to Fresno State. His biggest negative is whether he would want to leave Fresno for Tempe. Odds: 8-1
There are plenty of college coaches out there that would be interested in this job as Arizona State is one of the best jobs in the country so there will be a ton of coaches added to their national search. Who do you think will get the job?