Auburn baseball coaching search: Is UCF's Terry Rooney a candidate?

Associated Press

Based on his recent social media activity and our wild speculation, yes.

The search for a new Auburn baseball coach is underway, and it will probably take some time to wrap up. We gave an extensive list of potential candidates shortly after John Pawlowski was fired, but one name that wasn't there, UCF head coach Terry Rooney, maybe should be added.

It could be pure coincidence, but Rooney recently followed a few Auburn-related accounts on Twitter, including the official College and Magnolia account and a couple of writers for this blog, beat writer Brandon Marcello, and a pay-site stalwart Phillip Marshall:

Photo_medium

At the time of this post, those are the five most recent accounts Rooney has followed. It's unknown how serious a candidate he may be -- or even if he's a candidate at all -- but his timing for following a bunch of Auburn folks two days after Pawlowski's firing does raise an eyebrow.

Rooney has been head coach at Central Florida for five years, compiling a 168-124 record, and he led the Knights to regional appearances in 2011 and 2012. UCF fell off a bit this season, finishing the regular season at 29-30 and 13-11 in C-USA play, but the team was squarely in rebuilding mode, having lost several players to graduation and the MLB Draft.

In addition to his time as a head coach, Rooney has an nice pedigree as an assistant. He served as pitching coach under Paul Mainieri at Notre Dame from 2004-06 and made the move to LSU with Mainieri in 2007. During LSU's College World Series run in 2008, Rooney's staff ranked in the top 25 nationally in team ERA and walks per game, per his bio on the official UCF site.

In 2011 and '12, the Knights' pitching was solid, posting back-to-back team ERAs of 3.54.

Would Rooney be a good hire? He wouldn't be the home run name for which many are hoping, and for those wanting an offensive-minded coach, he's not that guy, either. However, he's young -- 39 years old -- has a proven track record as an assistant and has done a fine job of building the program at UCF. Plus, he's a first-rate recruiter. As LSU's recruiting coordinator, he assembled the country's top-ranked class in '08. His 2013 class at UCF was ranked 30th, and he brought top-20 classes to Orlando in the three previous cycles.

Rooney may or may not be a candidate, but according to some close to the program and in the know, two names that appear to be receiving serious interest are -- not much of a surprise here -- Samford head coach/former Auburn catcher Casey Dunn and Mississippi State pitching coach/former Auburn assistant Butch Thompson. The search is expected to take a while because of some candidates' postseason obligations, and Thompson fits into that group. His Bulldogs are set to host a regional this weekend.

Speaking of Dunn, legendary Auburn coach Hal Baird went on Cole Cubelic's radio show Tuesday to sing his former player's praises:

There's a long way to go, but the search for a new baseball coach is beginning to take shape.

Share on Fancred

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join College and Magnolia

You must be a member of College and Magnolia to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at College and Magnolia. You should read them.

Join College and Magnolia

You must be a member of College and Magnolia to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at College and Magnolia. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker