AUBURN | The hiring process went about exactly how Butch Thompson expected.
Just one week after the end of Auburn’s season, Thompson tabbed Karl Nonemaker as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. Nonemaker, who was an assistant with Thompson at Auburn from 2005-07, was the top choice from the beginning.
“He had me at hello,” Thompson joked. “Being with Karl here a decade ago, I saw a man that's as sharp as a tack, Vanderbilt grad, led the SEC in hitting. I just knew he was going to be a great coach.
“You just know those things when somebody's got it. They've got all these intangibles that you know they're going to be good at whatever they decide to do. He made a mark on me from when I was first with him.”
Nonemaker spent the previous six seasons as an assistant and recruiting coordinator at Old Dominion, which was 37-21 this past season and had three Freshman All-Americans. The Monarchs had three players drafted last week.
“What he's done at Ole Dominion, I think he knows what a real player is,” Thompson said. “You can see how many players they had drafted, for them to finish second in Conference USA. Now I've seen him grow and build a resume where I feel like he can be an unbelievable recruiter. I think he's the next best recruiter to be identified, and the next best coach.”
Thompson made sure his players had a voice in the hiring process.
“I interviewed every player on the way back from Tallahassee on our bus and they wanted energy and they wanted a great recruiter,” Thompson said. “This isn't about press conference or anything else but what's the best fit for Auburn baseball and what will continue to help us get better.
“He's the best fit for us. It's a huge piece and there's an excitement. He's going to do great things for the program.”
Thompson said he received interest from more than 40 candidates for the position but only talked to four or five including former Auburn shortstop Chuck Jeroloman, who could be in line for the next staff opening.
Jeroloman, who has been an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Jacksonville University for the past four seasons, was a three-year starter at Auburn from 2002-04. He spent the first two years of his coaching career as an assistant at TCU.
“Chuck Jeroloman is the next rising star,” Thompson said. “He's probably two or three or four years younger than Karl but you can already see him doing good things. He's already been with (Jim) Schlossnagle at TCU, he's at Jacksonville, loves Auburn and put it on the line here. He's that next guy that just impressed me so much.”