The crucial recruiting month of June is just around the corner and Tennessee baseball needs to get a new coach in place to hit the trail running.
With the NCAA Tournament participants announced on Memorial Day there is new clarity to the timeframe that John Currie will follow as the search draws toward a close.
Two candidates that sources have told InsideTennessee are major players in the search survived the bubble and heard their names called in the field of 64.
The 2015 Baseball America assistant coach of the year, Brad Bohannon, will be coaching for Auburn in the Tallahassee Regional as a No. 3 seed. The Tigers will have to survive the field of No. 1-seed Florida State, No. 2 Central Florida and No. 4 Tennessee Tech if they are to reach a Super Regional. If they cannot, expect Bohannon to be on campus quickly after the Tigers have been eliminated for an official interview for the opening.
In what was somewhat of a surprise, the Maryland Terrapins were selected in the field of 64. John Szefc leads his team into Wake Forrest as the No. 3 seed in a regional with the Deacons as the No. 1 seed, No. 2 West Virginia and No. 4 University of Maryland Baltimore County. This marks the third trip for Maryland to an NCAA regional under Szefc in his five-year tenure. He has a done a remarkable job as the program’s previous NCAA trip came in 1971. It had been to just three NCAA Tournaments in 120 years of baseball prior to 2014.
Szefc’s teams won the previous two regionals, and he is certainly a candidate that Currie plans to bring to campus once the Terps’ season is complete. If Maryland reaches a third Super Regional in four years, look for the Tennessee coaching search to drag on longer.
Currie has made calls to Tennessee signees to assure them he is working in a timely fashion to hire the best coach available to lead the Big Orange in the future. However, that isn’t the only thing he has been doing.
He also has met with a number of candidates off campus in an unofficial capacity. Current SEC Network commentator and VFL Chris Burke, New York Yankees hitting coach Alan Cockrell as well as Bohannon and Szefc have been in contact with Tennessee officials sources told InsideTennessee.
Ash Lawson, who is the special assistant to the general manager of the New York Mets, is another candidate that continues to have some support around Knoxville.
South Alabama coach Mark Calvi is a candidate that certainly warrants following but with uncertainty swirling around the future of Chad Holbrook at South Carolina the former Gamecock assistant might have his sights elsewhere. His Sun Belt Conference champions are a No. 3 seed in the Southern Mississippi Regional with the No. 1-seeded Eagles, No. 2 Mississippi State and No. 4 Illinois-Chicago.
Other names could surface as the process draws into the June but at this time these are the names IT feels needs to be followed closely.