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Sports


Another year, another succesful coach leaves the MAC
KSU baseball coach Scott Stricklin announced this week he’s signed a deal with Georgia, leaving the program one year after taking the Golden Flashes to the College World Series
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
In 2012, 41-year-old Scott Stricklin signed a six-year, $300,000 a year contract extension with Kent. On Tuesday, he announced he's leaving for Georgia.
Courtesy of Kent State University
Download (WKSU Only)

Kent State University’s athletic department is in a familiar spot: Looking for a new head coach.

Baseball coach Scott Stricklin announced this week he’s signed a deal with Georgia, leaving the program one year after taking the Golden Flashes to the College World Series. Last December, Kent State football coach Darrell Hazell signed with Purdue after leading his team to its first national ranking and a bowl game. 

LISTEN: Commentator Terry Pluto on Stricklin and MAC coaches

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MP3 Download (3:26)


Stricklin's Kent State salary
WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto says Scott Stricklin had a “tremendous contract” for a MAC baseball coach, earning $300,000 a year for six years. The coach he’s replacing at Georgia was making $450,000, which Pluto says may go up under his contract but is not overwhelmingly disproportional.

But Stricklin may have been hankering for a bigger baseball stage since 2010, when the Ohio State job went to Ball State’s coach Greg Beals. So, he was left the choice of remaining at his alma mater. Pluto says since then, Stricklin likely has been contemplating another move to a "highly elite level.”

Tough times ahead at Georgia
But Pluto says transiting to the SEC won’t be easy. “The type of players he won with at Kent were area kids. [Now] he’s going to have to recruit kids from Georgia, from Florida, from Texas, from Louisiana.” So, Pluto asks, will he be up to the recruiting end of college baseball?

KSU feeling bruised
As for the Kent State program and fans he’s leaving, Pluto says they may rightfully be feeling bruised. Stricklin not only had a lucrative contract, but the university also upgraded the baseball stadium. And, Pluto says, "although Georgia is a bigger job, it isn’t like he went to University of Miami in Florida which is a powerhouse or LSU.”

“You’d kind of hope that [when] you [extended a six-year, $300,000 a year deal] for a graduate and the guy had been with the program for a long time that he’d have stayed a little longer.”

Does a contract mean anything anymore?
But coaching contracts these says really mean little, says Pluto. When Darrell Hazell left Kent football for Purdue, a clause in his contract required the university got a substantial buyout. With that, “at least when you lose them, you get that money, which frankly helps you pay your next coach. So there’s some protection there.”

But he doesn’t know if Stricklin’s contract is similar.

Overall, he says, baseball’s not as pressurized and public scrutiny isn’t as high as it is for football and basketball. ”So sticking with a program for the duration should be easier."

Kent State's previous coaches, including Danny Hall, who was hired in 1988 “could have stayed here till now, if he wanted to … Scott Stricklin clearly could have been a lifer at Kent State if he wanted to," Pluto says. 

But the only coach he knows of who had other options but stuck with the MAC is University of Akron basketball coach Keith Dambrot. “My guess is he’s probably going to be a lifer there. … He’s got the MAC figured out.”

Terry Pluto talks about what's NOT to like about this year's NBA draft
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(6:42)

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