By Jay Coulter
After a longer than expected search for a new baseball coach, Auburn hired College of Charleston coach John Pawlowski on Friday afternoon. The move looks to be solid on all fronts.
Pawlowski has the pedigree and experience to win at Auburn. Give athletic director Jay Jacobs credit; he appears to have landed a winner. Pawlowski has one of the best resumes in college baseball.
The former Clemson pitcher has led Charleston to the Southern Conference title in four of the last five seasons. He was named conference coach of the year three times - 2004, 2005 and 2007.
"This is a tremendous opportunity and I'm looking forward to helping bring the Auburn baseball program back to national prominence," Pawlowski said. "There is a rich history and tradition here at Auburn and I plan on working tirelessly to make this a national contender."
The 44 year-old Pawlowski compiled a record of 338-192-1 while at Charleston, including three consecutive NCAA Regional appearances from 2004-2006. This past year, he posted a 39-20 record overall and 18-9 in the conference. During his nine year tenure he's had 26 players taken in the Major League draft, including a school record nine this year.
"We are very excited to have John Pawlowski as our next baseball coach at Auburn University," said Jacobs. "Coach Pawlowski has experienced a tremendous amount of success as a head coach and has led several championship ball clubs. We look forward to him returning the Auburn program to national prominence."
Prior to Charleston, Pawlowski served as pitching coach at Clemson and then Arizona State. He spent nine years pitching in the Majors, playing for the Chicago White Sox, California Angels and Baltimore Orioles.
There's never a sure thing when hiring a coach - we all know that. But it appears that Jacobs has taken his time and done his homework. This looks like a solid hire and probably the best available coach out there for the taking.
This is not Pawlowski's first rodeo and he should be able to compete right away. With the resources now available to him, there's no reason why Auburn can't become regulars again in Birmingham each spring.
Jay, I've got to give you credit. You've done well. I think.