The University of Florida introduced former Clemson pitching coach (and associate head coach) Kevin O'Sullivan as their new baseball coach yesterday in Gainesville.
After a two-week whirlwind that saw the saga of Billy Donovan, an Urban Meyer contract extension and the firing of Pat McMahon, it wouldn't have been too surprising to see UF AD Jeremy Foley relax a bit before he brought in a new baseball skipper. The truth, however, is that this relatively quick coaching search was just what the program needed.
Why? Because no teams in the state of Florida have advanced to the upcoming College World Series, meaning it is officially recruiting season in the Sunshine state. With so many programs trying to pluck out the multitudes of baseball talent you'll find in this state, getting a coaching staff in place ASAP was in the best interest.
And with O'Sullivan, the Gators are getting a guy who is looked at as one of the best baseball recruiters in the country, as he has headed up the process for Clemson over the last nine seasons.
But it's not only his ability to recruit -- he also has been known to develop the talent at Clemson, producing impressive results with the Tigers' pitching staff year in and year out. One of the complaints I heard repeatedly was that former Gator pitching coach Ross Jones was never able to develop our pitching talent to their full potential; Perhaps we will not be hearing this same gripe in the future about the staff.
From Andy Staples:
"The pitching thing [at Florida] is the one that I just don't have a lot of answers for right now. That's the big question," said O'Sullivan, who agreed to a five-year contract that will pay him $300,000 a year. "That's really where the heart of your program is built. ... If you can pitch, you've got a chance."
It sounds to me like Foley is trying to find gold once again from a coach that could be looked at as an "up-and-comer." But when you've seen the type of success this guy has at Clemson as an associate head coach, could you still consider this guy a fresh face on the coaching map? To me, it seems like we're getting ourselves a proven commodity here, despite the fact that he's never had a program all to himself.
A young coach with a proven ability to recruit -- It sounds pretty familiar to a certain guy from Marshall we got to run our basketball program a few years back.
I'm very impressed with the hire. Hopefully "Sully" can bring excitement to the Gator baseball program once again after a few down years in Gainesville. I'm really looking forward to it.