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Texas baseball coaching search: Still a mess

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With the news that Skip Johnson is departing and that Josh Holliday will remain at Oklahoma State, the Longhorns are looking to turn to Texas Tech's Tim Tadlock.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Now seems to be the time for some good news for Texas baseball. President Greg Fenves is back from China, the College World Series is winding down, and athletic director Mike Perrin has had 30 days to find the right coach to become Augie Garrido's successor. Yet, Texas lost their pitching coach Skip Johnson to rival Oklahoma yesterday, and at the moment, the search is still about who Texas isn't hiring rather than who they have signed.

Mike Perrin stated that he would like the search to be over by the end of June and the College World Series. Now, there are two-and-a-half days left of June and at most only two games left of the NCAA championship.

One reason Perrin has perhaps not pulled the trigger on someone like David Pierce is because he's waiting to interview Jay Johnson, who is the coach of likely champion Arizona. Johnson's contract is currently only for $160,000, but a hefty extension offer will surely be on the way. Texas could likely make Johnson an offer higher than Arizona can, but the question will be whether the 39-year old wants to leave his "dream job" after only one season of being the coach.

Here's a look at the candidates left for Texas:

David Pierce, Tulane

Age: 53

Status: Former dark horse for job, now one of the favorites for job.

Green Waves don't make for splash hires, but David Pierce is a great fit for the Longhorns, even if he isn't the biggest fish in the coaching candidate sea.

The accolades:

-Has been a division one head coach for five years and has never missed an NCAA tournament.

-Has been both a pitching and hitting coach and excelled at both.

-Coached under the legendary Wayne Graham at Rice and has plenty of ties to the state of Texas.

-His Tulane team hit 66 home runs last year.

Negatives:

- $1 million dollar buyout from Tulane could be taken into consideration.

- Has never made a Super Regional, hasn't shown his teams can take the step to become elite.

- His teams generally have poor batting averages (.246 in conference play in 2016).

Dan Heefner, Dallas Baptist University

Age: 38

Status: Somewhat low floor, very high ceiling pick.

Dan Heefner has only coached at one school in his life, but he has done a phenomenal job at Dallas Baptist. Will Heefner leave cozy DBU  for the other, burnt orange shaded, DBU?

Accolades:

- Took a former independent league baseball program and brought them to a Super Regional in 2014.

- Consistently makes the NCAA tournament.

- Antithesis of Augie Garrido's flaws -- has had aggressive teams that can hit the ball.

- Develops players both on and off the field.

Negatives:

- Is success at Dallas Baptist enough of a proven track record for Heefner to be a smart hire?

- Financial aid at Dallas Baptist makes it easier for Heefner to spread scholarships in an easier way than he could at Texas.

- Texas would be a totally environment than DBU -- this could be both a challenge for Heefner and an incentive not to leave Dallas Baptist.

Tim Tadlock, Texas Tech

Age: 47

Status: "Mutual interest" according to Kirk Bohls, but may not be a likely option to do non-compete clause.

Maybe Texas did shockingly run-rule the Red Raiders this year and take the three game series, but Tadlock would give the Longhorns many more wins as their coach rather than as an opposing skipper. Texas would welcome him with open arms, and open wallets.

Accolades:

- Made the College World Series in two out of his four years as a head coach -- the only two in Texas Tech's history.

- 2016 Big 12 Coach of the Year for leading a preseason unranked team into being one of the best in the country.

- Texas native, which offers a recruiting advantage in the state of Texas.

- Always has dominant pitching.

Negatives:

- Has a non-compete clause. Plus, poaching a head coach from a Big 12 rival is always a little frowned upon.

- Texas Tech has been his only head coaching job.

- Two of his four years at Tech were sub-par (combined 57-54 for 2013 and 2015 seasons).

EDIT: Tim Tadlock tweeted this after today's speculation.


Jay Johnson, Arizona

Age: 39

Status: A pipe dream, for now.

For a man who called Arizona his "dream job" being the head of a storied program like Texas may have seemed like pure fantasy a couple of years ago for Jay Johnson. However, it looks like he may be the Longhorns' dream, not the other way around.

Accolades:

- One win away from a national championship at Arizona, where he quickly improved a team that was 12-18 in the Pac-12 the year before. Would become the first coach to win a championship in his first year.

- Was also successful at Nevada in his two years there, amassing a 72-42 total record and winning Mountain West Coach of the Year in 2015.

- His teams have performed well at all levels. Had a No.6 ranked team in the NAIA when he coached at Point Loma Nazarene, and made six regional appearances in his eight years as an assistant at San Diego.

- Relentless recruiter with "top-shelf work ethic with integrity and intelligence," according to San Diego head coach, Rich Hill.

- Texas journalist Kevin Dunn really, really likes him.

Negatives:

- Arizona was only 15-14 in the Pac-12 this year. Was this just a miracle run?

- Nevada and Arizona were already decent programs before Johnson took over. Arizona won an NCAA championship in 2012.

- Will be hard to sway after only one year with the Wildcats.

* * *

For now, these appear to be the four leading candidates, but also keep an eye out for Houston's Todd Whitting. Whitting is one of the few coaches who was been confirmed to have had an interview for the head coaching job. However, he may behind the pecking order to David Pierce and Dan Heefner, who would both likely pounce on the opportunity to coach at Texas.

Much like the 2016 Texas baseball season, the coaching search has been a wild ride full of bizarre lows, and an uncertain outlook. However, unlike the baseball season, the search doesn't have to end with a lost to TCU, though the Horned Frogs did just confirm a massive extension to Jim Schlossnagle. The misses have piled on, but they will quickly be forgotten if Mike Perrin can find his man.