3 Things To Know About New Alabama Baseball Coach Greg Goff
Alabama Athletic Director Bill Battle was tasked with finding a baseball coach that could help usher in a new era of Alabama baseball and he found his man on Friday.
This coaching search was not as publicized as the university's search for a basketball coach a year ago or a football coach 10 years ago. We get that. However, Battle was still under pressure to make a splash when searching for a coach who could win games in a stadium that just had $42 million dollars worth of renovations done to it.
Battle knows that Tide fans want to see the same success the program had in the late 1990's. Realistically, that is a tough goal to accomplish with scholarship restrictions in one of the nation's best conferences. Mitch Gaspard realized the challenges, so he respectfully resigned.
After just over two weeks of searching, Battle chose Louisiana Tech head coach Greg Goff as the man he believes can carry the Tide to new heights. East Carolina's Cliff Godwin and Tulane's David Pierce were also in the running.
It is easy to get caught up in the excitement when a new hire is made on campus, so one must be careful not to get carried away with the hype that new face brings. Goff is going to have his back against the wall from day one; however, here are three reasons why we think he could be the man that puts Alabama back on the map:
One of Alabama's biggest downfalls the last two seasons has been their performance at the plate. This season, the Tide finished tied for last in the SEC with a team batting average of .249.
Louisiana Tech finished in the top three of almost every batting category in Conference USA, a conference that boasts powerful teams like Florida Atlantic and Rice. The Bulldogs outdid Alabama in a number of batting categories which include having: 149 more runs, 110 more hits, 20 more home runs, 121 more RBIs, 217 more total bases, and 100 less strikeouts.
Louisiana Tech did play in 62 games compared to the Tide's 58, but that does not drastically change the numbers. One could also argue that Alabama plays in a tougher conference. That person would be correct; however, conference disparity in baseball is much smaller than it is for a sport like football. In other words, Conference USA is also a very tough conference to play in.
Struggles at the plate will likely be the first thing Goff addresses when he arrives on campus. Improving in that area alone is grounds for him to become a fan favorite right off the bat (pun intended).
Scholarship limitations play a major role in why Alabama struggles to compete with the best teams in the SEC. Legendary baseball coach Ron Polk told Inside the Locker Room that scholarship complications hurt the Tide in recruiting.
“The coach at Alabama is going to have 11.7 (scholarships). Vanderbilt is going to have double that and it’s perfectly legal because they get tied in with the endowed scholarships. Mississippi State and Ole Miss can come into the state of Alabama and get out-of-state (tuition) waived. It’s creative financing and the lower your scholarship base, the tougher it gets, and 11.7 (scholarships) is as low as you can get with a roster of 35 (total players),” Polk said.
Goff's first head coaching gig was at Montevallo from 2004-2007. Although that does not translate into him being an excellent recruiter, knowing the territory is a still a big step in the right direction.
He also has coached in multiple states and has been successful at multiple schools. Recruiting is of the upmost importance to Alabama's fan base because Nick Saban has always preached that you cannot be successful on the field without being successful on the recruiting trail.
As we mentioned earlier, Greg Goff started his head coaching career at Montevallo. He amassed a 152-84 record which included winning 43 games in 2006 and 47 games in 2007. In 2006, he led Monetevallo to its first ever NCAA Division II College World Series and finished third.
Goff then spent seven seasons at Campbell where he finished with a 224-174 record. He coached three straight 40-win seasons from 2012-2014. Campbell was one of just eight Division I teams that won at least 40 games a season in that three year stretch. Prior to his arrival, the Camels had never won more than 40 games in a season.
In 2013, the Camels won 49 games and were crowned regular season Big South Champions. That squad was the only Division I team to rank in the top-10 nationally in both team batting average and team ERA. In 2014, Campbell won the Big South Tournament Championship and advanced to its first NCAA Regional in 24 years. They picked up their first Regional win when they defeated Old Dominion.
Goff went 25-27 in his first season with Louisiana Tech, which was 10 more wins than they had in the previous year. This season the Bulldogs went 42-20 and made it to a NCAA Regional for the first time since 1987. They lost in the NCAA Regional final to Mississippi State.
Goff is regarded as an upcoming coach that has turned around every program that he has ever coached. It may take him a while to do it in Tuscaloosa; however, Bill Battle may have found a diamond in the rough with this hire.