Are Some South Alabama Fans Calling For A Coaching Change?

May 30, 2010 · Filed Under Athletic Department, Baseball · Comment 

In this mornings Sound Off in the Mobile Press-Register, a reader wrote in criticizing the Jaguar baseball coaching staff. This is rightly so, the team has not performed well since 2006 and the ERA lately has been over 6. So, what is the Athletics Department to do?

With Coach Kitrell’s past success and general likability in the community, it would be a hard sell to fire him. It doesn’t seem like Coach K wants to retire either. However, they might be able to convince him that this would be the best for the program. Either way, what do you do?

Probably the most likely to happen is a shake-up in the staff. Pitching is definitely an area where the bullseye would probably fall. Another area where things could change would be the position of recruiting coordinator.
Recruiting is definitely a tough area for College Baseball. When good high school players graduate, their first inclination is to try to make it in the Minor Leagues. This is the shorter route to possibly making it to the Major Leagues. If they go to college, they may get drafted early in their collegiant career and go play in the Minors. But again, because it’s the shortest route, you don’t go from College to the Majors.

South Alabama and the other programs must have top notch recruiters in order to convince these kids to come to their program. Currently, pitching is at a premium. Which is why you see major league pitchers receiving high paying deals while clubs are scouring minor league teams for the next pitching prospect.

So what is the answer for the South Alabama baseball program? I think it’s too early after the major letdown at the end of the season to determine that. This may be the first major decision the new Athletic Director Joel Erdmann will have to face at South Alabama.

Would Luis Gonzalez like to become a college baseball coach? It could be a big boom in recruiting and his alma mater might be searching.

South Alabama Sports Update 2009-09-18

September 18, 2009 · Filed Under Baseball, Basketball, Men's, Soccer, Volleyball, Women's · Comment 

Baseball

Due to wet field conditions South Alabama head baseball coach Steve Kittrell has been forced to postpone the start of fall practice until Sunday afternoon at the earliest. The Jags were expected to start their 45-day practice period Thursday afternoon. Kittrell made the decision to postpone due to NCAA rules that only allow 45 days for team workouts during the fall, and those begin with the teams first official practice.

Depending on the weather, the Jags may start practice on Sunday at 2pm.

Basketball

Men’s

The matchups have been announced for the second annual South Alabama Thanksgiving Classic. Coach Ronnie Arrow announced that Utah Valley, Georgia State and Alcorn State will play in the tournament on November 25 and 26 at the Mitchell Center.

Wednesday, Georgia State and Utah Valley will begin the tournament at 5pm followed by South Alabama and Alcorn State at 7pm. On Thursday, the consolation game will start at 2pm and the Championship game will begin at 4pm.

Women’s

Dr. Joel Erdmann, South Alabama’s Athletic Director, announced on Tuesday that Lady Jag coach Rick Pietri has received a contract extension through the 2013 season. Last season the Lady Jags finished 21-11, which is the first back to back 20-win season by the Lady Jags in 21 years. They also advanced to the semifinal round of the conference tournament for the first time since 2003 and only the second time since 1989.

On February 14th, Pietri grabbed his 150th career win at the collegiant level and ranks second in overall wins in South Alabama’s all-time coaching chart with 154 and ranks first in Sun Belt victories with 75.

Soccer

Kickoff of Friday’s soccer match between USA and Georgia State has been moved up from 6pm to 3:30pm due to a change in venue. Originally scheduled for a 6pm kickoff at GSU’s home field, they have moved to Atlanta Silverback’s Park due to unplayable conditions. Siverback’s Park has synthetic turf similar to USA’s football practice field.

Coach Varga was very grateful to head football coach Joey Jones for allowing the Soccer team to also use the football practice field to practice this week. He said, “We were very fortunate Coach Jones allowed us to practice on their field this week. I’m very grateful he allowed us that opportunity.”

Volleyball

This weekend will be the final tournament of the regular season for the Lady Jaguars before they begin their Sun Belt schedule. They are traveling to Prairie View A&M for the Lady Panther Invitational and will take on Nicholls State at 1pm on Friday then will take on Prairie View A&M and Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday.

Dr. Joel Erdmann Named To Replace Gottfried As Athletic Director

July 20, 2009 · Filed Under Athletic Department, News · Comment 

On Sunday afternoon, university president Gordon Moulton, introduced Dr. Joel Erdmann as the next athletic director for the University of South Alabama. Dr. Erdmann was one of over 50 applicants for the position after Joe Gottfried announced his upcoming retirement on August 1st.

Dr. Erdmann is 46 years old and has served as athletic director at Southeastern Louisiana University Hammond, Louisiana for the previous two years. Previous to that he served in the same capacity at Division II North Alabama for five years between 2002 and 2007. During his time at UNA, the football team won two Gulf South Conference Championships (2003, 2006) and Division II Regional Championship (2003). While at Southeastern Louisiana the school captured its first ever Southland Conference Men’s All-Sports Trophy and also captured two conference championships while also playing an instrumental role in facility upgrades.

Three candidates were interviewed on campus in the previous few weeks, Erdmann, Brian Wickstrom from UTEP and Derrick Ramsey from Coppin State. President Moulton phoned Erdmann over the weekend and offered the job to him.

Erdmann has previous ties to the university. He held several positions at USA where he received his master’s degree in physical education. He was a graduate assistant coach for the baseball team, assistant to the athletics director, executive director of the Jaguar Athletic Club and other capacities including handling compliance issues, game operations and special projects. He was also a tenured associate professor in the College of Education.

Dr. Erdmann is a native of South Dakota where he graduated from South Dakota State . He earned his doctorate from Florida State University in Sports Managament and Athletic Administration in 1995.

President Moulton spoke about Dr. Erdmann at the press conference on Sunday by saying, “Joel Erdmann brings to the University of South Alabama the experience that comes from having led other athletic programs, as well as a familiarity with and appreciation for USA athletics stemming from his earlier leadership position here. Dr. Erdmann is the right person to take the torch from Joe Gottfried and lead University of South Alabama athletics to the next level.”

Following are Dr. Erdmann’s remarks about his selection to be USA’s fourth Athletic Director since the school was founded in 1963. “I appreciate President Moulton and everyone who was involved in the selection process. I am honored to have the opportunity to lead this tradition-filled department and look forward to capitalizing on the addition of football while maintaining a high level of excellence throughout all sport programs. It is truly a privilege to be a member of the University of South Alabama and a memorable time to be a Jaguar.”

I hope this is the right hire for the position. I thought this would be a good time to hire a solid name to further strengthen the athletics department, however its also nice to have someone that seems to truly appreciate the University and has the excitement and energy to help lead it along. With Football set to kick off its first season in a mere 46 days, that enthusiasm and energy will definitely be tested quickly.

The funniest line to end the statement was from the usajaguars.com press release. The last line says, “A native of Bismarck, N.D., Erdmann is married to the former Tina Milton. The couple has three dogs and a cat.”

Go Jags!

South Alabama Sports Round-Up 2009-06-16

June 20, 2009 · Filed Under Football, News · Comment 

Football

South Alabama’s Head Coach Joey Jones announced on June 1st that Brennan Sim, quarterback from Oregon State, has decided to transfer to USA and will have two years of eligibility for the Jaguars. He has spent the last three years at Oregon State University, spending his freshmen season as a redshirt.

Coach Jones commented about the quarterback situation by saying, “The most important thing is that we are going to play the best quarterback, I expect there to be great competition in preseason camp.” He further stated, “We were looking for someone with a little bit more experience to come in and lead the team. If Brennan can come in and do that then he will be the guy. With his experience being part of a Division I program for three years, I think Brennan will have a maturity level that would be higher than most newcomers. He throws the ball very well and is a good leader, we know from his visit here that he’s a great kid. We’re very excited about the possibility of Brennan coming in and helping us out immediately.”

Athletic Director

The search is still on for someone to fill the Athletic Director position come August 1st when Joe Gottfried will retire from the position. Many names have been thrown around from Phil Savage who was just named the color commentator for the Alabama Crimson Tide Radio Network (replacing Kenny Stabler), Roger Schultz, Joe Dean Jr. (who is favored by Coach Joey Jones) and Joel Erdmann.

Most close to the search are staying very tight lipped about it so far. They still have about six weeks to find and hire one before he leaves the position. While they don’t necessarily have to have someone in the position when he leaves, it would be better to have someone in place sooner than later with the first ever football season set to kick off on September 5th.