WKU Baseball: Hilltoppers Hire Next Head Coach - Report
Western Kentucky is taking a big swing with its next baseball hire and, frankly, what does the program have to lose?
Four weeks to the day it was announced that John Pawlowski would be stepping down as WKU’s head baseball coach, D1Baseball’s Kendall Rodgers reported a hire had been made on the Hill, having inked Iowa Western’s Marc Rardin as the next head man on the Hill.
While the school has not confirmed the hiring as of publication, Rardin did himself retweet his son who quote tweeted the report with a positive message.
Kendall Rogers @KendallRogers🚨BREAKING: @WKU_Baseball will hire Iowa Western head coach Marc Rardin as its next coach, sources tell @d1baseball. Rardin has been a successful JC head coach for the last 20 seasons. Now, he tries his hand at #WKU. I love this hire for the Toppers. https://t.co/iXDPdKS6pm https://t.co/8woRKNztas
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “A JUCO head coach? A JUCO lifer? What’s the plan here?”
Well, for starters, lets take a look at the record: Over 20 years with the Reivers, Rardin went 934-252, winning 40 or more games in every season since 2010. He also has 12 JUCO World Series appearances under his belt and took home three national championships.
Whatever level you want to look at, doing that against similar level of competition is rather impressive.
Let’s put it this way: In 20 years, Rardin lost 252 games. In seven years, Pawlowski lost 200.
While a seemingly out-of-left-field hire, there’s actually a quiet (as all things with WKU baseball seem to be) pipeline of Reivers to the Hill.
No doubt Radin’s familiarity with WKU made him interested in wanting to lead the program, much as I’m sure those within WKU liked what Radin did at Iowa Western from what they learned about the program from those transfers.
This hire has the opportunity to work but, make no mistake about it, it’s going to take some time for Rardin’s imprint to be felt and for things to turn around.
He walks into a pretty strong scenario: He’ll have one season with the C-USA we mostly know and love before the departures of such programs as UTSA (who was all but snubbed out of an NCAA Tournament spot this year), Charlotte, FAU (who were Top 25 programs not too long ago) and Rice (a proud program past its prime) while missing ODU (another program with a tourney snub case in 2022) and Southern Miss (who came one game away from Omaha) entirely.
Then, by the time New Mexico State, Liberty and Sam Houston State join the fray in 2023, the Tops may be in position to have some success, finally, in the conference.
My final conclusion, I’m happy with this hire until I’m given reason to not be and with all the changes happening around WKU, Rardin will get more than a fair shake to try and turn the Tops into a proud program once again.
Shortly after Rogers broke the news of Rardin’s hiring, he also said that his pitching coach with Iowa Western, Dillon Napolean, is coming to the Hill with him.
The Reivers posted a staff ERA of 3.29 last year, compared to the 5.99 that WKU posted. A former UAB pitcher, Napolean spent three years at Iowa Western in the same role.