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New UGA Baseball Coach
Monday, 03 June 2013

June 3--  The Athens Banner-Herald reports the expected hiring of a new University of Georgia baseball coach.

"A former Georgia Tech assistant will be the next Georgia baseball coach.

Georgia has reportedly hired current Kent State coach Scott Stricklin to replace David Perno. The announcement could come as early as Monday, multiple sources have said.

Stricklin is a one-time Georgia Tech assistant coach who has has guided Kent State to five regional appearances and a College World Series spot in 2012. Stricklin is a Kent State graduate and has been the coach there for the last nine seasons.

Prior to his return to Kent State, Stricklin was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator with Georgia Tech from 2001-2004.

"All I can say is I can't comment on it," Stricklin told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Kent State became a dominant force in the Mid-American Conference in Stricklin's nine seasons there. His teams won four regular-season titles and five conference tournament titles in those nine seasons.

Kent State lost seven players off of the 2012 team and went 36-23 overall last season. Kent State won the Mid-American Conference regular season title with a 20-7 record but lost to Ball State twice in the conference tournament and did not qualify for NCAA regionals.

Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity declined comment about Stricklin on Saturday. But his hire would be a major departure from McGarity's pattern. Stricklin will be the first established head coach and first mid-major coach McGarity has picked since he became the athletic director in 2010.

Kent State had a banner season in 2012 when it made the College World Series for the first time in school history. Kent State beat Kentucky twice in the Gary, Indiana Regional and Oregon twice in the Eugene Super Regional to become the first Mid-American Conference team to advance to Omaha in 36 years. Kent State upset No. 1 seed Florida in an elimination game at the 2012 College World Series and was one of the final five teams remaining alive before Arizona beat South Carolina in the championship series. Kent State was honored in Omaha for having the highest GPA of all the participants in 2012.

Stricklin's hire at Georgia comes as a bit of a shock to Kent State where he is a home-grown product. Stricklin was an all-conference catcher in 1992 and 1993. After taking Kent State to the College World Series in 2012, he turned down an offer from Michigan and signed a six-year extension worth about $300,000 a year to remain at Kent State.

Georgia paid Perno $450,000 which ranked in the middle of the road for Southeastern Conference baseball coaches before he resigned last month after his teams failed to advance to regionals for the third time in the last four years.

Before his return to Kent State before the 2005 season, Stricklin spent much of his time in the South. He was an assistant at Vanderbilt in 2000 and 2001 and then at Georgia Tech. While at Georgia Tech, he helped recruit a class that included eventual second-round picks Micah Owings and Tyler Greene. He was on the Yellow Jackets' staff in 2004 when Georgia went into Russ Chandler Stadium and upset Georgia Tech in an NCAA super regional.

Stricklin's teams have been active on the bases which would be a departure from recent years at Georgia. Kent State stole 99 bases in 2013. When Stricklin was an assistant at Georgia Tech, the Yellow Jackets had back-to-back 100-steal seasons.

Last season, Georgia struggled to score runs. It struck out 360 times and hit into 44 double plays. Georgia should return its leadoff batter and rising junior Nelson Ward who hit .306 and had a team-high eight steals. But it loses senior third baseman Curt Powell who batted a team-high .376 and senior shortstop Kyle Farmer who drove in a team-high 44 runs.

Stricklin's background as a catcher should come as a help to the Georgia pitching staff that had a 4.54 team earned run average but only went 21-32. Georgia's top returning pitchers are rising sophomore Sean McLaughlin (5-6, 3.28 ERA), rising senior Patrick Boling (3-7, 4.17) and rising junior Jared Walsh (3-4, 3.35). Georgia will also be bolstered by the return of 2012 closer Pete Nagel who missed last season after having Tommy John surgery.

Stricklin will take over a program that has fallen on hard times both on and off the field since making the College World Series three times from 2004-2008 under Perno. Georgia has gone a combined 101-127 overall and 42-72 in the Southeastern Conference the last four seasons. It has also had two players paralyzed in that time, Chance Veazey in a traffic accident just after fall practice before the 2010 season and Johnathan Taylor in an outfield collision early in the 2011 season."

 

 
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