Baylor baseball looks to catch up to other teams in Texas

Published: Jun. 13, 2022 at 10:10 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - As Texas and Texas A&M chase a national title in Omaha this week, Baylor baseball fans are sitting at home wondering what it will take for the Bears to get to that level.

Baylor was the first team out of the NCAA tournament in 2021, but seemingly took two steps backwards this year instead of improving.

Waco Tribune-Herald sports editor Brice Cherry has been on the Baylor baseball beat for over a decade.

He said he felt like the team never really found its rhythm this year. “They never had a guy this year that just blew up. They had some guys that had some good years. They needed a few more guys to have monster years or career years.”

No matter who is to blame, Coach Rodriguez took the fall, resigning just days after the team was eliminated form the Big 12 Tournament.

Now, the search for his replacement is underway and you have to imagine Baylor AD Mack Rhoades was prepared for this possibility.

Cherry says, “It is a good idea to have a short list in your back pocket that if anything ever happened - these names might be some people to look at.”

Brice suspects Dallas Baptist head coach Dan Heefner is toward the top of that list, with Texas State head coach Steven Trout, Texas pitching coach Sean Allen, and North Carolina State associate head coach Chris Hart all on there too.

And you can’t forget McLennan head coach and 2021 NJCAA National Champion Mitch Thompson, whose name is likely on there and circled in red.

“He knows Baylor and I think he loves Baylor. He was an assistant coach at Baylor for a long time under Steve Smith. I think Mitch would be able to come in and recruit some guys that could help them right away.”

Recruiting in the Texas is competitive, and it may be even harder for Baylor than it is for the big state schools, since baseball is a partial scholarship sport.

“When you only have 11.7 scholarships and you’re recruiting to a private school that isn’t cheap, it sometimes limits who you can recruit.”

With key players like Kyle Nevin and Tre Richardson already leaving Baylor, whoever does get the head coaching job will need to be active in the transfer portal.

“Beyond scheduling, beyond anything else - you have to figure out, ‘who are we keeping around? Who do we want to keep around? And who are we going to go get to fill the holes we need to fill.”

Cherry suspects Baylor will make an announcement on a new hire soon.

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