U baseball coach recommended for S. Carolina job

Matthew Cross

Gophers baseball coach John Anderson confirmed Tuesday that he was recommended for the head coaching vacancy at South Carolina by former coach and Minnesota alumnus Jerry Kindall.
Anderson said, however, that South Carolina athletics director Mike McGee, who is a former assistant coach with the Gophers football program, has not yet contacted him.
There are also coaching jobs open at Arizona, Georgia and Mississippi, but Anderson said he has not heard from any of the schools.
But if one of them called, Anderson said he would listen.
“If I felt I would have the opportunity to compete better than I do here, I would have to seriously consider it,” Anderson said. “But (Minnesota) is a good program, a good job, so it would have to be a special opportunity.”
Anderson has been a vocal leader in the Big Ten and remains adamant that northern schools are falling further behind in development, mostly because of weather restrictions.
He noted that Missouri and Wichita (Kansas) were the two schools located farthest north in the College World Series tournament last week, and the two northernmost schools that were in the Top 25 at the end of the season.
Indeed the South is the place to be for a baseball coach. And Anderson admits the Southeastern Conference has the best baseball teams in the country, especially after Louisiana State won the national championship.
Since Anderson took over the Gophers’ program in 1982, he has directed Minnesota to eight NCAA tournament berths and a 530-345-3 record overall.

Huls signs with the Twins
When shortstop Steve Huls was drafted by the Minnesota Twins last week and met with team officials Friday, Anderson was concerned he might lose his team’s home run champion.
Then he found out Huls met with the Twins again Sunday and knew his worst thoughts would come true. Huls signed with the Twins.
The team offered the Cold Spring, Minn., native a bonus of $25,000 and another $10,000 for skipping his senior year with the Gophers.
Anderson said losing players to the majors is a common occurrence during this time of year, and of the players drafted, he thought Huls would be the first to go.
“Knowing him and how strong he wanted this, I anticipated that he would sign,” Anderson said. “We would like to have a senior back at shortstop, but we’ve got to move on.”
Anderson is left without a proven shortstop and no time to find one, so he will have to move players to unfamiliar positions in the field.
He said searching for a high school senior this late in the season at the state tournament would be a waste of time. Instead he will look to his current roster to fill the hole in the middle infield.
Some possibilities to play shortstop are freshman Mark Devore, who redshirted last season, left fielder Robb Quinlan and second baseman Eric Welter.
Anderson said he is glad he didn’t lose a pitcher to the major leagues, especially when right-hander Justin Pederson was drafted. But Pederson’s position in the draft was not high enough, Anderson said, and he was not offered enough money to leave Minnesota.

Players find summer leagues
Many Gophers stars are playing baseball this summer in collegiate leagues, which are sanctioned by the NCAA and set up much like the minor leagues.
The teams are directed by college coaches around the country and cannot feature more than four players from the same college. Athletes sign contracts to play on a team, but cannot be paid, according to NCAA rules.
Minnesota players are centralized in two leagues: the Northwoods Collegiate Baseball League and the Ohio Valley League.
In the NCBL, four teams have Gophers players: Rochester (Minn.) has pitchers Tony Felling and Mike Diebolt, Dubuque (Iowa) has outfielders Craig Selander and Quinlan, Wausau (Wisc.) has pitcher Bob DeWitt, and Manitowoc (Wisc.) has right-hander Kai Freeman.
Also, catcher Bryan Guse, Pederson and outfielder Troy Stein are playing in the OVL for Grand Lake (Ohio).
Sophomore Jason Dobis planned to play in the league but suffered a stress fracture in his lower back and will be out of action this summer.
Anderson said Dobis’ injury started to bother him during the second half of the Gophers’ season, but doctors didn’t find the injury until recently.
Dobis will not be able to throw for six to eight weeks but should be able to compete in fall practice.