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Simmons Field Hot List: Dark Horse candidates for the Mizzou Baseball job

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We've taken a close look at four of the most likely and most talked about candidates for Tim Jamieson's job. Now lets take a quick look at a few of the others.

Jayce Tingler
Jayce Tingler
Len Laskowski

#MizzouMade

Jayce Tingler

If the timing were different, Jayce Tingler would be in the top two on my Hot List . He's still my top choice among all the people not named Dan Heefner, but Tingler, after 8 years working his way through various coaching jobs in the Texas Rangers' organization, finally made it to The Show in 2015, as the Major League Field Coordinator. It seems unlikely he's going to choose this point in his career to jump from coaching in MLB to coaching in the SEC.

But MU AD Mack Rhoades should definitely give him a call, just in case.That RMN article I posted when he got the MLB job lists a lot of details about his experience and his approach to the game. He'd bring a pro ball perspective, like Torre Tyson (who we already profiled), and also a breadth of experience in developing young players that is hard to match among any of the other candidates.

If his approach to the game as a coach is similar to when he played, he'd be a small ball wizard, emphasizing getting on base, bunting, base running, defense, and manufacturing runs, which is the name of the game in college baseball these days.

He was a star CF at Mizzou, and he's originally from Smithville, MO, where his parents were both high school sports coaches, so his Missouri roots go deep.If he were to take this job, it would very likely be a destination job for him.Except, of course, it appears his career track is taking him in a different destination. Maybe he'll be the Royals' manager someday.

Matt Hobbs

Hobbs has just completed his second season as pitching coach for Wake Forest (see his WF bio). Prior to that he was the Mizzou Pitching Coach from 2011 to 2014 ), University of San Francisco Pitching Coach in 2010, UC-San Diego Associate Head Coach (07-09), and Santa Barbara City College Pitching Coach (05-06).

I've not heard one negative thing about Hobbs' handling of the pitching staff from any of the pitchers' parents or former pitchers. That's actually unusual, in my experience. He seems to have a good rapport with his pitchers and has shown an ability to motivate and teach. Among the pitchers he played a part in recruiting and/or developing are Matt Stites, now in the majors with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Blake Holovach, Rob Zastryzny, Keaton Steele, and Brett Graves, all in the minor leagues.

At USF he played a part in turning Kyle Zimmer from an infielder into a pitcher, a successful transformation that lead to Zimmer's current career with the Kansas City Royals.

As a former Mizzou player and assistant, Hobbs could very well see the Tigers as a destination job, even though his original roots are in California.

His primary experience is in pitching and recruiting, but many a great head coach has come up through the ranks of pitching coaches.

Kerrick Jackson

Jackson has been everywhere, man, and done just about everything related to baseball coaching:

Mizzou Assistant Coach, Recruiting Coordinator (11-15 ); Washington Nationals Area Scouting Supervisor (07-10); ; SLCC-Meramec (MO), Graduate Assistant (08); Nicholls State (LA), Pitching Coach, 06-07; Jefferson College (MO), Assistant Coach; Coffeyville Community College; Emporia State (KS), Graduate Assistant; Fairfield University (CT), Assistant Coach; Kansas City Sluggers, Associate Head Coach, 02-03; Kansas City Barnstormers KC Scout League coach; Jackson spent a couple of years coaching in the Cape Cod League, with the Falmouth Commodores.

His widely varied background has given him the experience and contacts to recruit nationally, as well as the ability to find and judge talent and skills, with a mindset toward finding professional baseball prospects. Since he arrived at Mizzou he has focused strongly on "locking down the state" as much as possible, pulling in top prospects from St. Louis, Kansas City, other parts of the state, and even students just a ways beyond the state border.

Kerrick Jackson is a baseball jack-of-all-trades. His experience in the game would serve him well in all aspects of coaching, especially in the area of recruiting.

From what I hear, Jackson is good with one-on-one coaching of the players. Whether or not he's the right person to coach MU in the SEC, he'd be a great assistant and recruiter for whoever does get hired.

Jackson left the Mizzou program, for family reasons, after the 2015 season. I believe he was being totally honest about his intentions as he told the Columbia Tribune:

Jackson said he plans to be a stay-at-home dad for at least a year. "I can go back to being in high school, the one thing I knew I wanted to be able to do was have kids and be a father," Jackson said. "When you have it and it’s there in front of you and it’s real — I keep going back to the premise that the decision wasn’t a difficult decision, it’s just executing it. Pulling away and those types of things will be difficult."

Kerrick is currently working with the Boras Corporation, and appeared to be quite happy about it the last few times I've spoken to him

Other Hot Names

Tony Robichaux

Robichaux has been the head coach at Louisiana-Lafayette for 20 years, since 1995. Previously he was the head Coach at McNeese State (1986-1994), which is where he played college ball.

From Robichaux's bio:

Louisiana head coach Tony Robichaux,one of the youngest head coaches in NCAA Division I history to reach 500 career victories, is in his 20th season at the helm of the Ragin' Cajuns baseball program - which is arguably one of the best in the South - since 1995. Robichaux launched his head coaching career in 1987 at McNeese State. During his tenure with the Cajuns, Robichaux has guided Louisiana to nine NCAA Regional appearances, two NCAA Super Regional appearances and the 2000 College World Series. His teams have also clinched four Sun Belt Conference regular season crowns and one Sun Belt Conference Tournament title.

Robichaux is frequently mentioned for top coaching openings, and yet he stays at "La-La." If he ever were to decide to move up to an SEC team, it seems more likely he'd want to stay in the south, where his roots and connections are.

John Szefc

John Szefc (pronounced 'Chef') has been the head coach at Maryland (bio) for three years after many years as an assistant at Louisiana-Lafayette, Kansas, and Kansas State. From 1996 to 2002 he was the head coach at Marist.

Szefc's teams have always done well, building up to his 2015 Terrapin team that made it to a Super Regional. He's shown an ability to contribute to great success at teams outside the usual power footprint for college baseball.

His roots are in New York, which probably made Maryland seem like the ideal destination job in a major conference, the ACC. Problem is, Maryland switched from the ACC to the B1G 10 prior to the 2015 season, moving Szefc from being head coach of an up-and-coming team in a power conference to being head coach of a team in what is a mid-major conference for baseball.

Given the way his Maryland job has shifted beneath his feet, Szefc may be interested in a change to a power conference. His career has taken him all over the place, from new York to Louisiana to Kansas and to Maryland, so his geographical target may be wide enough to include Missouri. Or he may be satisfied to be a big fish in the middling pond of the B1G until another ACC job opens up along the mid-Atlantic coast.

Steve Bieser

Steve Bieser has built the Southeast Missouri Redhawks into a strong competitor in the Ohio Valley Conference during his four years as head coach there. He was the pitching coach at SEMO for two years prior to assuming the top job. Before returning to SEMO, his alma mater, Bieser was the head coach at St. John Vianney High School in Kirkwood, Missouri, an experience that gives him ties in the St. Louis area for recruiting. He played professional ball for 13 years, including parts of two years with the Major League Mets and Pirates.

Bieser grabbed the attention of of many in college baseball when his Redhawks beat two SEC opponents (Arkansas and Missouri) during the 2015 season. They also split a two-game series with Mizzou in 2016.

Bieser's Redhawks have won the regular season championship in the Ohio Valley each of his three years as head coach. In 2016 they also won the OVC Tournament, making their first appearance in an NCAA Regional since 2002.

Bieser's Missouri roots (he's originally from Ste. Genevieve, MO) and St. Louis connections make him the type of coach who could see Mizzou as a destination job. The real question regarding Bieser is whether four years of success at a mid-major conference makes him better suited for an SEC head coaching job than the other candidates.

Rob Walton

Rob Walton has been mentioned by a number of people as an excellent candidate for the Mizzou job.

Walton led the Oral Roberts University baseball program for nine years prior to leaving ORU to become an assistant coach under Josh Holliday at Oklahoma State (Walton's alma mater).

In his nine seasons at the helm of ORU, Walton compiled a 367-167 (.687) record and was named the Summit League Coach of the Year five times. Under his direction, the Golden Eagles were an NCAA Tournament team each year and produced five seasons with 40 or more wins, including a 50-win campaign in 2004. (from Walton's OSU bio)

Walton was ORU's pitching coach for five years prior to assuming the head coach duties. One big question has been why Walton gave up a head coaching job to be an assistant to a newly hired head coach at OSU. Part of it seemed to have been Walton's close relationship with Holliday. It's uncertain whether Walton would be interested in returning to being a head coach, having given it up.It's also true that he has no experience as a head coach in a top tier conference.

NewsOK.com: OSU baseball: Rob Walton would not go to any other place than Oklahoma State (June 18, 2012)

As a four-year starter at OSU, Walton was 20-3 with a 3.74 ERA, pitching for Tom and Dave Holliday, Josh's father and uncle. "It was just a really unique opportunity to reconnect with a friend and a baseball person that I share a lot of common history with," Josh Holliday said. "And we share something bigger than that, and that's a love for Oklahoma State baseball." A love that finally brought Walton back to Stillwater, a place he says he would like to end his storied career.


Mark Calvi

Just within the past few days I've been seeing the name of South Alabama's Mark Calvi tossed around as a legitimate contender for the job.

Calvi just finished his fourth season as head coach of the USA Jaguars, leading them to a 42-22 record, a Sun BElt Conference championship, and an invitation to an NCAA Regional, where they played through to the final game against eventual winner Florida State. IT ws South Alabama's second NCAA Regional in Calvi's four years at the helm.

Prior to coming to USA, Calvi spent six seasons as the Gamecocks' pitching coach, a tenure that saw six NCAA Regionals, three Super Regionals, and a College World Series championship. Prior to USC, Calvi was an assistant at Florida International for 11 years.

As a Florida native and alumnus of Florida's Nova Southeastern, Calvi's roots are far from Missouri. While he might see Mizzou as an opportunity to make his mark in the SEC, it could also be a stepping stone to a more prestigious elite school nearer Florida.

His resume is certainly impressive and Mack Rhoades may be impressed with his recruiting connections throughout the south. He could be great for Missouri Baseball.. for however long he would stay.