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Auburn's Search For A New Baseball Coach Takes Another Turn

By Jay Coulter

The search for the next Auburn baseball coach has taken more twists than 24 hours at LeMans.  It appeared for awhile that North Carolina State coach Elliott Avent was heating up as a prime candidate to replace Tom Slater.

Those rumors were quickly squashed when Avent released a statement saying that he'd agreed in principle on a contract extension with the Wolfpack.

"They showed interest, but my heart's with N.C. State," Avent told The Raleigh News and Observer. "It's a nice situation there, but we feel so good about all the things happening with our program. There's so much excitement and so many positives. Now is not the time to walk away.

Here we go again. Most of those close to the program believed a head coach would be announced no later than Saturday. Now it appears that may not happen.

The flavor of the day is current Oklahoma State coach Frank Andersen. He is believed to have spoken with athletic director Jay Jacobs this week. He's quickly built the Cowboys into a Big 12 power.

During his first season at OSU in 2004, he led State to the Big 12 Tournament title. In 2006, Andersen led the Cowboys to its best-ever finish in the Big 12 (second) and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

There's a lot of speculation on the various Auburn message boards about why the search is continuing to drag on. We thought yesterday that Jacobs was close on an offer. Why he's being continually turned down is open for discussion.

This is starting to look like an Alabama football coaching search. There have been plenty of people willing to talk with Auburn, but not many wanting to take the bait. Auburn has some of the very best facilities in the country. Everything is in place to win with the exception of Alabama not being a lottery state, which hurts on the scholarship count. A lot of questions are starting to be asked by fans.

The next week will be telling for the future of Auburn's baseball program.