Virginia Tech baseball coach Pete Hughes has the Hokies (37-19) in the ACC Baseball Championship Game today, opposite the North Carolina Tar Heels. The former Boston College baseball coach told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that while he liked coaching at BC, he made the move to Blacksburg for the chance to get to the College World Series.
"That's why I left my hometown job at Boston College," Hughes said Saturday morning after the Hokies' baseball practice at Duke University. "I really made that move because I thought it would give me a better chance to coach a team in Omaha."
Why can't BC find coaches like this?
Of course, the irony of Hughes comment is that Virginia Tech is one of three ACC clubs to have never advanced to the College World Series (outgoing Maryland and incoming Pittsburgh are the other two). Boston College has previously appeared in four College World Series, the fifth highest total among ACC programs, but none as recent as 1967. Even Syracuse, which discontinued baseball in 1972, has a CWS appearance on Virginia Tech.
This season, however, the Hokies (37-19) are a lock for the NCAA Tournament and a hot streak down the stretch -- 3-0 in ACC Baseball Championship pool play, winners of eight straight and 13 of 14 -- has Virginia Tech in the discussion to host an NCAA regional. In contrast, Boston College limped to its worst season by winning percentage in program history -- 12-40 overall, 4-25 ACC.
The implication of Hughes' subtle shot at his former employer is that Boston College can't get to Omaha as easily as Virginia Tech despite playing in the same conference as the Hokies. Sadly that may very well be true given the current coaching staff and funding dedicated to the Eagles baseball program.
Speaking of BC's coaching, one has to wonder whether Bates will fire Gambino at this point. It's now been over a week since the Eagles completed their worst season in school history. Bates may be waiting to make a move until more coaches free up after the conference championships and the NCAAs wrap up, but every day that this goes on, the longer the road back to program ... respectability, I guess.
Hughes' Hokies go up against a North Carolina team (51-9) that outlasted N.C. State, 2-1 in 18 innings to advance to the title game. The UNC-N.C. State game ended at 1:51 a.m., giving the Heels a little over 11 hours before they meet Virginia Tech in today's title game at 1 p.m. Combined with a 14-inning game against Clemson, North Carolina has now played 32 innings of baseball since Virginia Tech clinched its spot in the ACC title game on Friday afternoon.