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Coaches Corner

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Missouri State set to hire Joey Hawkins as head coach

This is not surprising news, but I reported earlier today that Missouri State will officially name Joey Hawkins as Keith Guttin’s successor in the coming days. Hawkins’ promotion to head coach is far from a shock, as he spent the last three seasons with the Bears, including the last two as the recruiting coordinator and associate head coach.

Another cool item related to Hawkins’s promotion is that he played baseball for Guttin and the Bears. Not only is MSU keeping it in the family, but it is doing so with a talented head coach with youthful energy.

Pepperdine fires Hirtensteiner, Arkansas State fires Raffo

Arkansas State
Pepperdine

Quickly, two more head coaching jobs opened earlier this week — Pepperdine and Arkansas State.

Pepperdine parted ways with long-time head coach Rick Hirtensteiner earlier this week after his Waves finished the season with an ugly 15-38 overall record and 9-15 mark in the WCC.

In addition to struggling this season, the Waves have not won more than 25 games since 2018 and only eclipsed the 30-win mark once in ’18. Pepperdine did not reach the NCAA tournament under Hirtensteiner. I’ll have a lot more on this opening in the coming days, but incoming athletic director Tanner Gordon comes from Rice, who cares a lot about college baseball.

As for Arkansas State, it parted ways with long-time head coach Tommy Raffo earlier this week. Raffo spent the last 16 seasons as the head man for the Red Wolves, most recently going 21-32-1 overall with a 7-22-1 league record.

Though Raffo struggled during his tenure with the Red Wolves, this is an interesting job. One of the more underfunded programs in the Sun Belt Conference, the league itself could help ASU lure someone with a solid pedigree who is rising in the industry. Leadership appears ready to move on some facility renovations, which should help it in attractiveness.

As with the Pepperdine job, I’ll also have some inside scoop on this one soon. 

CSU Bakersfield parts ways with Jeremy Beard

May 28

CSU Bakersfield

CSU Bakersfield parted ways with head coach Jeremy Beard on Tuesday. Beard, who guided the Roadrunners to a 15-38 record this past season, spent eight seasons with the program and tallied a 153-233 overall record.

While Beard certainly didn’t have a ton of success in Bakersfield, it goes without saying that CSUB is an extremely difficult job. In addition to location being a hindrance, the Roadrunners’ program, sources say, is woefully underfunded.

It remains to be seen if athletic director Kyle Conder is committed to raising the stakes for the CSUB program financially, or if these results will continue. 

UNCG lifts interim tag off Cody Ellis

May 28

UNC Greensboro

UNC Greensboro is lifting the interim tag off head coach Cody Ellis. Ellis took over the program after previous head coach Billy Godwin stepped down at the end of the fall. 

He guided the Spartans to a successful season, winning the SoCon regular season title before stumbling in the SoCon tournament. UNCG didn’t make the NCAA tournament but finished the season with a 33-21 overall record, a 15-6 league record, and a respectable RPI of 63.

This season was Ellis’ second with the program. He spent the last two seasons as the recruiting coordinator and as an assistant for the Spartans.

This is one of those hires that makes sense. 

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