With Notre Dame now officially eliminated from the College World Series and a couple of coaching hirings having taken place, it is time to take another look at how Florida State could land Link Jarrett to be its head baseball coach.
There is no hotter name in coaching right now than the former Seminole infielder who has taken the Fighting Irish to the CWS for the first time since 2002 and only the third time in program history. The accomplishment from this Notre Dame team is even more impressive considering they had to go on the road at Tennessee, defeating a team that spent most of the year as the best team in the nation and had one of the most dominant regular seasons in recent memory.
Jarrett spoke on the FSU opening after Fighting Irish’s loss:
Q. I know you said that you’re not letting your mind go to Florida State, but you also said that it has been out there for a little bit. How difficult has that been to make this about them and get to the College World Series and do all this for Notre Dame while that is still kind of out there?
LINK JARRETT: Yeah, the constant questions on it, whether it was Clemson or FSU, whatever, trying to completely keep my routine and my focus and leave the other people and the other questions that I get as far out of this as I can.
When we were in Knoxville whatever day that was, Friday, they made that maneuver, the focus to try to redirect because you’re getting question after question on it.
And I’m sitting there with these guys that are the best. These guys are the best. They’re unique species of student-athlete.
You can forget that out there, I mean that’s why we’re here. But remove the baseball part. These are exceptional guys. Like, these are global leaders that are in the making, in the world of finance and whatever field they will be in, that’s where they will end up. To have that group of guys, my focus was on them and not the other stuff.
And you know what, I had to deal with it last year. When your program’s doing the right thing, you’re going to have those distractions whether it’s baseball, basketball, football. And I tried with all I had not to go there in my mind. And it was difficult. But I wanted to know, when this thing either ended with a trophy or not, that they were the focus of what I was doing. And they’re just phenomenal. Like, they’re phenomenal human beings.
The Clemson Tigers found their coach earlier this week as they picked up Erik Bakich from Michigan and were one of a few teams in the college baseball landscape that could compete for Jarrett.
There are currently thirteen coaching vacancies in college baseball, and only five of those openings are at power five schools; the Michigan Wolverines, Northwestern Wildcats , USC Trojans, Washington Huskies, and of course, Florida State.
The only school that would be an upgrade from Notre Dame outside of Florida State would be the University of Southern California. It would seem improbable for someone with strong ties to the east coast to relocate in such a drastic fashion, especially given the disfunction within the athletic department over the past few years. USC is showing signs of having its house in order with the hiring of Lincoln Riley along with a strong NLI offering but it would seem that the Trojans would likely covet somebody with strong ties to their locale.
Link’s current employer, Notre Dame, could also hold onto their coach. The Irish certainly have more resources than FSU and the recruiting in the mid-west is a bit undervalued and undermined, unlike in the southeast.
However, no baseball coach wants to start their season on the road and deal with canceled games due to early-season rain and snow. It also cuts into a team’s ability to practice throughout the year, something the Seminoles do not suffer from. How interested is Notre Dame in baseball though? A post-season run to Omaha could ignite interest in South Bend but will it be enough for Notre Dame to offer competitive compensation?
That leaves Tallahassee, the university where Jarrett earned All-American honors, the place where he met his current wife, and the city in which his extended family currently lives. Current AD, Michael Alford, made what would seem a very calculated decision in firing Mike Martin, Jr., knowing what other programs would be looking for a new head coach. It is now up to Alford to show that this gamble will pay off because Florida State’s competition is now very limited.
The newly hired Erik Bakich reportedly signed a five-year deal that will pay him approximately one million dollars per year. According to D1Baseball’s Kendall Rodgers, it would take a similar financial obligation for Jarrett to leave Notre Dame and take on a new role as the Seminoles’ new skipper. Another issue that needs to be addressed is the outdated facilities of Dick Howser, which is in desperate need of upgrades to compete in the ACC and is woefully inadequate when compared to Jarrett’s current situation in South Bend.
One would hope that Florida State made the correct decision in parting with its former manager and setting sights on returning Florida State baseball to the standard that fans are accustomed to. For now, we should all be keeping a close eye on Link Jarrett’s success and Omaha, and when his run is over, hope that the Seminoles can lure him home where he can repeat the success that he has cultivated at Notre Dame.