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Hearing a few things of interest tonight:
+First, it sounds like IU might actually be authorized to make two full-time hires this offseason. In the interview with Tracy Smith, he's quoted at one point (not sure which part this lands in) as saying he'll be hiring a pitching coach and another volunteer assistant. That's always been the setup, with one of the two full-time assistants taking the recruiting coordinator job. I'm hearing now, though, that Smith might be authorized to make two hires, with a full-time director of operations joining the staff as well.
That's not an unusual setup. Southern schools, for example, with bigger budgets, generally have two assistants and a director of operations, as well as an assistant. Several Big Ten schools do too.
If this indeed comes to pass, then it's likely going to be part of that investment package Fred Glass has talked about. Sometimes, when you're trying to keep a head coach from leaving for a job that can pay more, one of the ways in which to do that is to sweeten the overall setup. Smith got a new stadium last year. Getting the chance to bring in a third full-time staff member would be a quietly important behind-the-scenes move.
If IU does indeed hire a director of ops, I would bet Roger Rodeheaver, the team's volunteer assistant the last two seasons and a former IU player, would be very seriously in the mix. Rodeheaver already handles Indiana's travel arrangements, as part of his wide range of duties in that volunteer role. That's supposition on my [part, understand, but it would make a lot of sense, if a director of ops position is created.
+Second — and my understanding is that this is very much in the discussion phase right now — there is a chance Indiana could add a video board to Bart Kaufman Field next season. Again, that's really new right now, but Smith did allude to some things he'd like to see grow with regard to the stadium, and a video board would be an obvious one. No idea right now on cost estimate, but I would imagine that the baseball team enjoying more earning potential than it did before Kaufman Field opened is probably part of what's putting stuff like that on the table.
+Third, and perhaps most important: It sounds like Tracy Smith is planning to move quickly on that open assistant job, and it sounds like he's interested in a like for like replacement, which is to say a pitching coach to replace Ty Neal. Not sure yet whether that person would also be recruiting coordinator, which can be important and can be kind of nominal.
Neal was a very, very good recruiter, and by extension, a strong recruiting coordinator as well. But typically, that's a job with a significant amount of responsibility simply in the details — paperwork, scheduling, keeping notes and facts and dates straight, etc. I guess what I'm saying is, if the Neal replacement hire isn't also made recruiting coordinator, it doesn't necessarily mean he's not a good recruiter, or that he won't be Indiana's lead in-the-field recruiter going forward.
Smith said in that postseason interview that he's already fielded a lot of calls, texts and emails about the position, and he said he's getting interest from SEC sources and from pro baseball folks as well. But obviously, the university has a human resources procedure that needs to be satisfied, so there will be some pre-required method.
Zach Osterman // IU Athletics beat reporter // Follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ZachOsterman
Thanks for the info Zach. It's great to see IU investing in the athletics. Just a great year by the Hoosier Sluggers. They deserve some new bennies for it!
Fred Glass knows what kind of opportunity he has with IU baseball. We were the Cinderella story of this past season, and we have an enthusiastic young coach. There is no time like RIGHT NOW to cement IU baseball as the premier baseball school in the midwest. If prospects see the ongoing re-investment into the program, we'll keep a few of them from heading to the "traditional" schools in the south/southwest.
I think this is probably pretty close to right on center.
The thing about stuff like this is that it not only sets you up to be more likely to keep Smith, but if you're thinking long term, if he does leave or he retires, then the job is more attractive to the next guy as well, because of facility bells and whistles, support staff, salaries, etc.
What is our incoming recruiting class like?
Pretty solid. A couple of freshman catchers, including Brent Gibbs, who is highly regarded in the Midwest. Austin Cangelosi, John Cangelosi's son, should be in the mix right away in the infield somewhere, and Brad Hartong, a junior college All-American catcher, will probably back up Schwarber.
I don't know as much about the pitchers, but the numbers look good.
There aren't a lot of holes to fill, but Indiana should bring in some pieces that can help.
Thanks Zach, good stuff. It's great to hear that IU is investing in the baseball program a lot more. There is a lot of buzz going on right now. Zline said it real well, and completely agree.
Indiana leads the Big Ten in NCAA titles (five), wins (64) and appearances (37).
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