If the search for the basketball and football coaches is any indication, Brad Bates would never let us know what he's thinking. There's no way for us to determine if Mike Gambino will actually be fired at the end of the year, but there's no doubting that Boston College's baseball team has horribly underperformed throughout his tenure. Therefore, it's time for us to start calling for a change.
Before I begin with anything, I'll state this - this is not a discussion about crossing the program. This is not a discussion about leaving the ACC. This is not a discussion about not being able to compete in a "southern sport," and this is not a discussion about the stadium. Those are all separate discussions, ones we've discussed at length and I've even written about. This is instead looking at the current situation of Boston College baseball through the on-field lens and asking about how to fix it.
Throughout the season, I've analyzed how this team underperformed from a statistical standpoint. I believe that this is directly linked to Coach Gambino's inability to make adjustments or tinker with mechanics. I obviously don't know what's going on, but based off of the team's drop off in performance, statistical failures, and inability to compete within the league for an ACC Tournament spot - his stated goal (not wins and losses) - there needs to be a change.
That said, even though we'll never know what Brad Bates is thinking, if you thought he wasn't a basketball guy, there's no way he's a baseball guy. So let's look at some of the names BC should be looking at and fancy as the potential next head coach for the baseball program:
Kevin McMullan. The assistant coach of Virginia baseball has a history of building programs. He helped make East Carolina a powerhouse in the early 2000s as their recruiting coordinator, hitting coach, and catching instructor, winning three conference championships, one NCAA Regional title, and ranking in the top 25 every year with a record of 138-46. At Virginia, the Cavaliers consistently rank in the top 40 in fielding percentage, and since arriving in 2003, the Hoos have gone to the tournament every year except his first with two trips to the College World Series. They'd gone to three tournaments in their entire history before that.
Mike Hampton. No, not the world's worst free agent signing by the Colorado Rockies (who thought a fly ball pitcher would fare well in COLORADO??). Hampton, an assistant coach at St. John's, helped lead the Red Storm to a 43-win season in 2010. That year, they lost the first game in the Charlottesville Regional, then advanced to within a game of the Super Regionals by beating host Virginia in the regional final (they lost the elimination game). They won the Big East in '10 and '11 and should finish as a top seed in the new Big East. 13 years into his tenure with the Red Storm, he's helped turn them into one of the best hitting teams in the nation.
Scott Stricklin. CATCH THE MACTION. Stricklin took over Kent State after serving as an assistant at Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech. A Kent State grad, it would be hard to take him out of the MAC considering the Flashes turned into a conference powerhouse. Since 2005, the Flashes have won six division titles, four regular season championships, and five conference tournaments. In 2009, they won their first ever tournament game in an elimination game over Cal Poly and advanced to a Regional Final in 2011 without losing a game. They missed a chance at a Regional Final that year by losing two to Texas in the final, but they rebounded in a big way in 2012 - won their regional by going undefeated, beating Purdue (host) and Kentucky, then beat Oregon in the Super Regional to advance to Omaha. In the College World Series, they lost their first game, then beat #1 Florida in an elimination game. They lost to South Carolina, but that they made it that far was amazing to watch. It would also reach into the "cradle of coaches" that Bates tapped with football and basketball.
Tracy Smith. Another MAConnection. Smith was the head coach from 1997-2005 at....Miami University. He won two championships in 2000 and 2005, both times advancing beyond "two and screw" appearances (winning at least one game). In 2006, Smith took over at Indiana; in his first two years, the team went 22-34 and 19-35. But after getting his guys in, he made the Big Ten Tournament, then advanced to the NCAA Tournament in his fourth year. Even in a down year, the Hoosiers are making the Big Ten Tournament, and last year, Indiana turned into a powerhouse. They won 49 games, won the Big Ten regular season championship, the conference tournament, hosted a regional they swept, swept a Super Regional at Florida State, and advanced to Omaha. This is a guy that can win, knows how to build, and can do it in a northern climate. I'd love to see him here.