If the #Mizzou job came open, though, I’d look very hard at Tony Vitello (Arkansas) and Todd Whitting (Houston). Whitting worked for Mack.— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogersD1) May 24, 2016
Getting to know Todd Whitting
Todd Whitting was hired away from TCU by Mack Rhoades to take over the head coach job at Houston. Will Rhoades be inclined to go for a coach he already knows well? And would Whitting be tempted to leave his alma mater for the chance to coach in the SEC?
- Houston (2010-current) Head Coach (205-150-1 record)
- TCU (04-10) Associate/Asst Coach - Hitting coach and Head Recruiter
- Houston (96-03) Assistant Coach
At Houston, Whitting's Cougars won the AAC championship twice, and went to two NCAA Regionals (14 & 15) and a Super Regional (14); at TCU the Frogs won 5 conference championships, plus went to the College World Series in 2010.
In 2016 the Cougars finished in 5th place in the AAC.
Whitting's primary link with Mizzou appears to be his relationship with the man who hired him for his current head coaching job, Mack Rhoades. Whitting's hometown was Dalhart, Texas. He played college ball at Houston (plus one year at Navarro JC), and received a degree in Kinesiology from UH.
Can he coach?
He played a key role in building the TCU program to the level where they reached the CWS and have maintained a generally higher level of success in the years since. He also has taken over the Houston program from a long-time coach and has built it steadily toward being a Regional and Super Regional level competitor. The jury is still out on whether he can maintain that pattern of growth.
Can he recruit?
One of the main reasons Mack Rhoades hired Whitting for the Houston job was because of his reputation - and success - as a recruiter with TCU.
From Whitting's UH bio:
Whitting has quickly developed a reputation as one of the nation's top recruiters at both TCU and Houston. He was instrumental in bringing three signing classes to TCU that ranked among the nation's top 10 by Baseball America magazine, including the No. 3 class in 2010. As a Cougar, he assembled Houston's 2000 signing class that was ranked No. 13 by Collegiate Baseball magazine.
Does he see Mizzou as a destination job?
Maybe. Mizzou is probably not the school he has had foremost in his mind throughout his career. But you'd have to think that coaching in the SEC or Big 12 might indeed be a career goal, which would make Mizzou more interesting to him, especially since his old boss is now the one in charge at Missouri.
Then again, he might see a move to Mizzou as a stepping stone to one of the top tier teams in one of those conferences.
There is also a strong possibility he won't want to move on to a higher tier until he has brought a College World Series to his alma mater (see below, Noes & Links).
Has he been to Omaha?
Yes. He went to the CWS in his final year as an assistant with TCU, where they went 3-2, making it to the final game of their bracket before losing out to UCLA.
Is he the coach to take Mizzou to a higher level in the SEC?
His coaching resume features one shining moment, that 2010 trip to Omaha, plus playing a part in building a mediocre program at TCU into a perennial post-season competitor. His record at Houston shows his program-building abilities, but has yet to show sustained growth and success.
The only reason he's on my hot list at all is because of his relationship to Mizzou AD Mack Rhoades. If Rhoades has confidence in Whitting's abilities at program-building, he could be the one who gets the job.
Notes & Links
New deal makes UH's Todd Whitting highest-paid baseball coach in AAC (Houson Chronicle, 7/6/15)
Todd Whitting, who has led the University of Houston baseball team to two straight NCAA postseason appearances, received a $50,000 pay increase as part of a reworked contract he signed recently. Whitting's annual base salary increased to $300,000, making him the highest-paid baseball coach in the American Athletic Conference.
"The reason I left the University of Houston seven years ago was to better prepare myself to be the head baseball coach at the University of Houston," Whitting said. "Other than the birth of my son (Matthew), this is absolute the biggest day in my life. And Omaha is hard to top." . . . "Our program was on a national level," Whitting said. "But I really felt like there was unfinished business here. When we clinched to go to Omaha at TCU, a lot of the thoughts on my mind were the former players on the 2000, 2002 and 2003 teams. A big motivation for me to take this job is to finish up business we didn’t take care of then. "I want the University of Houston people to have the Omaha experience. It’s something that will change your life forever. As an alumni here, as a former coach here, now the head coach here, I want these people to experience what it’s like to drive to Omaha. When you land in Omaha and those people are waiting for you, and you get in the bus and you have that police escort to the field every day, and the kids with the autographs, the cameras in your face, and your kids feel like they’re rock stars. It’s the pinnacle."
The need for speed in baseball (Inside Pitch Online, 5/28/15)
"I think our game is played the way it needs to be played. It’s a traditional game and I’m not a real big fan of clocks and gimmicks to speed it up. I think sometimes from an administrative and officiating standpoint we get in too big of a hurry to get the game over with. I think we need to let the game play its course and whether it’s two hours or four hours, it is what it is." –Todd Whitting, head coach, University of Houston