In what has to be one of the least surprising coaching hires in college baseball history, Scott Stricklin of Kent State is headed to Athens to try to revive the Georgia baseball program. He's been announced and everything, with a press conference undoubtedly being prepared as we speak. Stricklin replaces David Perno, who was forcibly resigned at the end of the regular season. The man himself:
It's been a dream to coach in the Southeastern Conference, and I look forward to moving my family to Athens and getting started on the recruiting trail and building on the tradition of Georgia Baseball. I feel the Georgia Bulldogs can be a power in the SEC and a national power.
On paper, it looks be an upgrade. Perno had six regional appearances in 12 seasons in Athens (50 percent of the time), while Stricklin lead Kent State -- not exactly a baseball powerhouse -- to five appearances in nine season (almost 56 percent of the time). And he still had a pretty decent conference record during his last season, just not a good enough overall record to get to the NCAA tournament.
Stricklin is also known for strict academic standards -- he got a perfect score on the APR, for whatever that's worth -- and has spent time as an assistant at Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt, so he knows the lay of the land when it comes to recruiting. Here's the take from SB Nation's MAC blog, Hustle Belt:
Stricklin certainly made a case as the top MAC baseball coach, and despite a disappointing showing in the MAC tournament, he can certainly replenish Georgia's program into a good one.
(As an aside, he is also the second Scott Stricklin in the SEC, along with the Mississippi State athletics director. Which I guess also makes him the second Scott Stricklin who's a bulldog in the SEC. Got it?)
Of course, that's the MAC. The conference isn't exactly known for its baseball, and Stricklin now finds himself in one of the most competitive divisions in the sport, with current No. 2 seed Vanderbilt; South Carolina, recent winner of back-to-back national championships; and Florida, which just had its first bad season in a long time.
But Georgia has been in that scrum before, and can do it again if they have the right coach. All that's left to do now is figure out if Stricklin is that coach.