Boyd's World-> Breadcrumbs Back to Omaha-> The Begats About the author, Boyd Nation

The Begats

Publication Date: February 6, 2001

Who's Teaching Who?

Miami of Ohio bills itself as "The Cradle of Coaches". That's based on football history, and I've never bothered to see if it's actually accurate, but that and a recent article in Baseball America about current assistants considered prime prospects for head coaching jobs points out the notion that many people consider one of the duties of a head coach to be to teach his players and assistants in ways that further the game as a whole on down the road.

It's not, of course, the sole consideration in evaluating a coach, or even the primary one, but I thought it might be worth a look to see who had done the best job of preparing those under them for future coaching positions.

In order to try to get a full perspective on this, I ran through the Web pages of all of the schools and looked at the coaches' bios listed on them. This doesn't give a comprehensive study, of course; not every school has a coach's bio on their Web page (for that matter, a couple still don't have a Web page at all for baseball), but most of the schools that don't have bios are in the lower end of the budget and support range, and my anecdotal analysis based on their counterparts is that coaches at those schools tend to come either from within or from area high schools, so I don't think I missed too many.

There are four schools that have at least five Division I head coaches (not counting their own) that have either played or coached there. I don't claim that this proves that these are the best coaches in the game or any hyperbole like that, but it is interesting that three of the four match up with the coaches' reputation as an educator, and the fourth is an interesting surprise, so I'll give you the list and let you decide what to do with it:

3T. Western Carolina

Jack Leggett, Clemson, head coach, 1983-1991
Keith LeClair, East Carolina, player, 1986-1988, head coach 1992-1997
Rodney Hennon, Georgia Southern, player, 1990-1993, assistant coach, 1994-1997, head coach, 1998-1999
Keith Shumate, North Carolina A&T, player, 1985-1988
Bill Currier, Vermont, assistant coach, 1986

Obviously, this one was a bit of a surprise. Leggett probably gets most of the credit, but it's interesting to see how good a springboard this position has been.

3T. Arizona State

John Pawlowski, College of Charleston, assistant coach, 1999
Tom Holliday, Oklahoma State, assistant coach, 1977
Doug Schreiber, Purdue, assistant coach, 1994-1997
Lew Kent, Radford, player, 1982-1983
Tim Esmay, Utah, player, 1986-1987, assistant coach, 1987-1991, 1994

ASU coach Pat Murphy gets a great bit of credit here. Although Holliday didn't coach under him, Pawlowski and Schreiber are both listed in the Baseball America article as current mid-level school coaches likely to make the move to large programs, along with Brian Cleary of Cincinnati, a Murphy assistant from his Notre Dame days.

2. Florida State

Brian Rhees, Arkansas-Little Rock, assistant coach, 1985
Terry Alexander, Jacksonville, player, 1975-1977
Spanky McFarland, James Madison, assistant coach, 1982
Jim Morris, Miami (FL), assistant coach, 1980-1981
Rod Delmonico, Tennessee, assistant coach, 1984-1989
Roy Mewbourne, Vanderbilt, assistant coach, 1969-1971

Mike Martin has put together a solid list of progeny here, which speaks pretty well for itself.

1. Mississippi State

Steve Smith, Baylor, assistant coach, 1990-1994
Ron Polk, Georgia, head coach, 1974-1997
Jeff Stewart, Illinois State, assistant coach, 1985
John Cohen, Northwestern State, player, 1987-1990
Tim Parenton, Samford, player, 1982-1984
Mark Johnson, Texas A&M, assistant coach, 1977-1982
Joe Hudak, Winthrop, assistant coach, 1989-1990

Ron Polk's reputation has always been best in the areas of education and promotion of the game, so this comes as no shock. In the interests of fairness, I'll point out that this list is one longer than the FSU list because Polk himself is on it. On the other hand, I'm omitting Birmingham Southern's Brian Shoop, although BSC may or may not be in Division I this year, depending on how you count their transitional status. In the interests of full disclosure, I'll point out that I'm an MSU alumnus, although I think this is an impartial study.

Boyd's World-> Breadcrumbs Back to Omaha-> The Begats About the author, Boyd Nation