Washington coaching search full of drama

Kendall Rogers

Washington and organized don't seem to go together too well.

The Huskies surprised no one at the end of June when they announced the removal of 17-year veteran coach Ken Knutson. Though he accomplished a lot in his career, there's no question the program failed to make a splash the past few seasons.

But judging by how the search process at UW has been handled in the past month, perhaps the Huskies would've been better off holding on to Knutson. After all, part of the reason he had trouble winning was because of sub-par facilities. UW officials, of course, claim the facilities issue will be rectified in the near future. We'll see if that actually happens.

You know the old saying, though: be careful what you wish for.

In most searches, institutions devise a plan on potential candidates, budgets and what type of coach they want to lead their program.

Instead of organization and deep knowledge of the situation, Washington's search initially seemed like a group of kids sitting around throwing darts at a board, just hoping that a great coach would fall into their laps.

That hasn't and probably won't happen.

Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso was rumored to be a candidate for the position from the start, but Washington didn't seem too interested in him. Trapasso might not be making a huge splash at Hawaii, but considering how difficult it is to recruit to the islands, he's doing a decent job. Still, he's someone Washington should consider.

Then the names of Pepperdine coach Steve Rodriguez and LSU assistant David Grewe entered the conversation.

Sources close to the situation say Grewe never was a serious candidate. Rodriguez, though, was a serious candidate at one point. The Huskies and Rodriguez were in constant contact for a couple weeks, but Rodriguez decided that leaving Pepperdine for Washington didn't make sense. Good choice.

In the most surprising development, the name of Virginia Tech's Pete Hughes entered the conversation early last week.

Hughes eventually was offered the job and turned it down to stay with the Hokies.

Again, the Huskies had everyone scratching their heads. Hughes played on the East Coast and is a Northeast guy. He coached at Boston College before Virginia Tech, and a stint at Trinity University in Texas is the farthest west he has been. Hughes is a good coach, but the fact Washington targeted someone with absolutely zero ties to the region is telling to me.

Someone didn't do their homework on Hughes.

In the latest development of the Washington coaching search saga, long-time San Diego coach Rich Hill entered the mix. It took nearly a month for the Huskies to figure out Hill was worth pursuing, but hey, at least they finally did it. Hill is one of the more successful coaches in Southern California.

Hill was enticed to take a last-second trip to Seattle and sources close to the situation say he was impressed by Washington's future financial commitment to the program. But the long-time coach of the Toreros left the UW campus without accepting the job and went on vacation to Jamaica.

It never looked like Hill had any intention of taking the job, and he turned it down a few days ago. Hill can use the trip to Seattle as a bargaining chip to speed up renovations at Cunningham Field in San Diego. The ploy, if it pans out, will end up working to his advantage.

With another coach out of the Washington sweepstakes, the Huskies have a few more options to explore.

San Francisco coach Nino Giarratano has had his name in the hat throughout the process, but until now the Huskies hadn't shown a lot of interest. Sources say the Huskies are warming up to the idea, but we'll see if that interest materializes into substantial news.

Kansas coach Ritch Price’s name was mentioned for the opening in a few coaching circles, but Price leaving Kansas for Washington would come as a surprise to many, and at least one source told me there's no way it would happen.

There's also Trapasso, who likely would jump at an opportunity to move back to the continental United States.

With many coaches around the country on the road and recruiting season in full force, Washington continues to lose valuable recruiting time with each day it takes to hire a new coach.

The Huskies finally appear to be grasping what it takes to hire a new baseball coach. Unfortunately it took them too many weeks to come to that realization.

Being unorganized will cost the Huskies in more ways than one.