When Mike Gillespie “stepped” down in 2006 you knew there was more to the story. Mike Garrett got what he wanted in removing a pretty successful baseball coach and USC alum. Many thought that it was time for Gillespie to go, as twenty years is a long time coaching in one place and maybe it was time for a change. The outrage came when Garrett hired Gillespie’s son-in-law Chad Kreuter to take over USC baseball without having any Division I head coaching experience.
Anyway, while SC tries to the right the ship Gillespie is taking UC Irvine to the post season in his first year at the helm .
He has too much class and dignity to say it, but wouldn’t you like to hear first-year UC Irvine baseball coach Mike Gillespie tell USC athletic director Mike Garrett to enjoy watching this year’s NCAA Tournament from home?
Gillespie would never do that, of course, especially considering his son-in-law, Chad Kreuter — who is married to his daughter, Kelly — is the man who was hired to succeed him after 20 years of unqualified coaching success at Troy
So you won’t hear Gillespie gloat about USC, his alma mater, failing to make the 64-team NCAA field in 2008, now that his Anteaters are headed to the NCAA regional in Lincoln, Neb.
Publicly, you won’t even hear him say he was forced to step down at USC after the 2006 season. He supposedly resigned or retired, at age 65, after 10 Pac-10 championships, 15 NCAA appearances, four College World Series berths and one national championship.
With his glittering resume, Gillespie certainly should have been allowed to leave on his own terms. Garrett, however, didn’t allow that to happen.
A storied baseball program like USC’s should not be a place for an untested unproven coach Kreuter to make his start in the coaching ranks.
Again, I can see why Garrett made the switch but where he really blundered is who he hired to replace Gillespie. Mike Garrett has done wonders with the athletic department no question about it but this situation has a lot of people scratching their heads.