Forty eight college baseball teams ended their season at NCAA regionals over the weekend.
Rob Mullens may reach out to a few of those coaches as he enters the second week seeking a replacement for George Horton.
“We’ve done some due diligence here in the past week,” the Oregon athletic director said while speaking at the Associated Press Sports Editors Northwest Region meeting on Monday morning at The Register-Guard office. “Now as people end their seasons, we can get a little more engaged in some conversations.”
Former Oregon assistant Andrew Checketts is widely expected to be one of the top targets for the Ducks. His eighth season as head coach at UC Santa Barbara ended with consecutive losses at the Stanford Regional.
Oregon State’s season ended with back-to-back losses at the Corvallis Regional, leaving interim coach Pat Bailey and pitching coach Nate Yeskie among those waiting to see if Pat Casey returns to the Beavers or athletic director Scott Barnes starts a national search for a new coach.
Horton and the Ducks announced last week a “mutual agreement” this his option for 2020 at $500,000 would not be exercised. Horton restarted the baseball program in 2009 and spent 11 seasons as coach.
Mullens is leading UO’s search for Horton’s replacement and said he has no timetable for a hire. Mullens said it is possible that Oregon will offer the next coach a salary similar to Horton.
“We are very aware of what the market place is, but we could,” he added.
Sixteen teams remain in the postseason headed to Super Regionals this weekend and Mullens said he may find some candidates at those schools.
“We have not finalized our list yet,” Mullens said. “Some (teams) are still playing doesn’t mean we are going after the head coach. There are still some that are playing that could end up on our list.”
Mullens was asked if he thought baseball could ever become profitable at Oregon.
“I think it would be difficult,” he said. “We’ve seen using women’s basketball as an example, when there is a connection with the community with the added performance on the court, there is some passion around it. I think the weather will be a bit of a challenge here. I think you are going to have to do it in a different way. I think the season ticket would be difficult. In baseball, the way you consume it is really hard because you are talking about a Friday night commitment and then a Saturday and Sunday commitment. I think that one would be difficult, but it is possible.”