BASEBALL: Collins looking for a coach who fits Beals' mold

Ball State will open fifth coaching search in last year

As Ohio State University officially announced Greg Beals as its next baseball coach Thursday morning, Ball State University athletic director Tom Collins said he would hire someone similar to Beals.

Beals' move to the Buckeyes was reported by The Ball State Daily News and other media outlets Wednesday night. He leaves Ball State after eight seasons to replace Bob Todd, who retired after 23 years at Ohio State. Beals had a record of 243-202 with the Cardinals and one Mid-American Conference Tournament championship in 2006. That team upset the University of Kentucky in Regionals, before being eliminated.

Ball State athletic director Tom Collins said Beals informed him Wednesday night of his decision to accept the position.

"I told him ‘Congratulations,'" Collins said. "I'm happy for Greg and his family. It's something he earned."

Now Collins will begin his fifth coaching search in the past year. He said he hopes to hire Beals' replacement in the next few weeks and is looking for another young, energetic coach like Beals.

"We'll look for someone with the same profile," Collins said. "We want someone who will be a good fit and take us to our next MAC Championship."

Collins said Beals did not tell him if he would take any assistant coaches with him to Ohio State. However, sources close to the Cardinals told The Ball State Daily News that pitching coach and former Buckeyes' ace Mike Stafford would join Beals in Columbus. Assistant coach Alex Marconi's fate is unknown.

Collins expects to involve Beals in the search for his replacement.

"We talked a little bit about people," Collins said. "As the process moves forward, I'll probably call him."

Beals was one of the last coaches at Ball State not hired by Collins. Former athletic director Bubba Cunningham found Beals when he was an assistant coach at Kent State University.

Collins could go in the same direction and tab a top MAC assistant coach like Josh Bradford from the University of Toledo. Marconi could be interested in the job, as well as former University of Notre Dame coach Dave Schrage, who was fired this week after four mediocre seasons.

Whoever Collins picks will inherit one of Ball State's top programs and a job that has become a stepping stone. Beals was hired when Rich Maloney left Ball State for the University of Michigan. With back-to-back coaches leaving for the Big Ten and dozens of players drafted in the last 15 years, the job is a good one.

"It's a wonderful opportunity for Greg," Collins said. "But it's sad for us that we have to find a new coach."