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Report: Purdue Hires Greg Goff as Baseball Coach

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The hard target search to replace Mark Wasikowski took two days.

Well, that didn’t take long. After Mark Wasikowski announced he was leaving Purdue baseball after three seasons his replacement has been named per Kendall Rogers at D1baseball.com:

This hire is a bit underwhelming. Goff has been on staff as a volunteer assistant the last two seasons, but he has head coaching experience previous with seven years at Campbell, two at Louisiana Tech, and one at Alabama. He led Campbell to a 49-10 record in 2013, but they missed the NCAA Tournament after losing the Big South Conference tournament. The next year Campbell was 41-21 and reached the NCAAs for the first time in 24 years, where the Fighting Camels won a loser’s back game over Old Dominion but lost twice to South Carolina.

Those two years got him hired by Louisiana Tech, where he was 25-27 in year 1 but went 41-21 in year two (2016) with an NCAA berth. The Bulldogs lost their opening game to Cal State Fullerton 1-0, but beat SE Missouri State 9-4 and Fullerton 6-2 before losing in the regional final to Mississippi State 4-0. It was the first time since 1987 Louisiana Tech reached the NCAAs.

He was then hired by Alabama, and his one year in Tuscaloosa was disastrous, which is why I am apprehensive at best about this hire. Alabama was 19-34-1 in 2017, finishing last in the always tough SEC. What made things really bad is that he reportedly threatened to revoke scholarships for 10 players:

With a hardline approach, Goff tried to change the team’s culture and institute a small-ball style of play that didn’t jibe with what Alabama had previously done under Gaspard. It appeared the players were starting to come around to Goff earlier this month, when Alabama shocked Auburn and took three games from its biggest rival on The Plains.

But the losing soon resumed and so too did the internal strife. The bitter end for Goff came shortly after a story in The Tuscaloosa News dropped with allegations that the coach told up to ten players he was planning to rescind their scholarships, which would violate NCAA rules if they were granted since the 2015-2016 academic year began.

According to NCAA bylaw 15.3.4.3.1, which was revised three years ago, “an institution may not set forth an athletically related condition (e.g., financial aid contingent upon specified performance or playing a specific position) that would permit the institution to reduce or cancel the student-athlete’s financial aid during the period of the award if the conditions are not satisfied.”

“Previous potential NCAA violations” is never something you want associated with a coach. He is still getting paid by Alabama (as he was officially a volunteer assistant the past two seasons at Purdue), and he has expressed regret for the way things were handled.

Goff has the track record of being a solid coach on the field, but the way things went down at Alabama were not good in any sense. I would have preferred that we look at Steve Holm at Illinois State, Jordan Bischel at Central Michigan, or Jef Duncan at Kent State. This feels like a high risk/high rewards scenario, but the familiarity of being on staff the past two years can help.