Pat Haden isn't messing around. In just his second week as the school's athletic director, the former Trojan quarterback took decisive action toward fixing the once proud USC baseball program by firing its inept leader - Chad Kreuter, sources told Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times earlier this afternoon. An official announcement is expected to come later today, which will likely read as:
"Chad Kreuter is not a very good baseball coach, and we aren't going to employ individuals who aren't competent at their so-called professions."
Yes, it's about time. Granted, it's about two years too late, but at the very least, the man responsible for turning the USC baseball program into a perennial Pac-10 bottom dweller is no longer on the school's payroll.
Since Mike Gillespie, who led the Trojans to a College World Series title in 1998, was forced to retire by then-athletic director Mike Garrett following the 2006 season, Kreuter has gone on to compile a 111-117 record as manager at USC - a far cry from the days when the Trojans had arguably the best program in the country under legendary coach Rod Dedeaux.
And to make matters even worse for Kreuter, his predecessor, Gillespie, has led the Anteaters to three consecutive NCAA regionals and even one super regional in just three years as the manager at UC Irvine.
But in all likelihood, it was the 2010 season that proved to be most damaging to Kreuter's coaching career. Despite featuring a competent collection of pitchers and one of the top power hitters nationally in sophomore first baseman Ricky Oropesa, the Trojans finished last in the Pac-10, compiling a mark of 7-20 in conference play. In short, the team that had one of the fielding percentages in the country and seemed incompetent at fielding the most routine double plays, wasn't very good. In fact, they were awful.
Luckily, the Trojans now have an athletic director, who isn't simply going to accept 10th place finishes.
"I said one one of my goals was to return the USC baseball program to national prominence," noted Haden. "No reason we shouldn't be there."
I couldn't agree more.
In the meanwhile, volunteer assistant Frank Cruz, who served as the head coach at Loyola Marymount for 12 seasons before being let go in 2008, will serve as interim manager.
UPDATE below the fold...
Anyone who thinks that 'SC isn't the job check this out...
One very prominent coach in college baseball: "USC has ALWAYS been THE job in college baseball and out here in California. Period." #usc
Here is another...
Another very prominent coach: "USC has great advantages because of weather, etc.. But 12 national titles is all you need to know." #usc
'SC will be fine...we will get the right guy.