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When it became obvious that the Texas Longhorns were moving on from legendary baseball coach Augie Garrido (who possesses the most wins on the diamond in college baseball history), Florida Gators head coach Kevin O’Sullivan shot to the top of the list as his replacement.
Whether those were lists made by fans, media or actual Texas athletic department officials remains to be seen, but no one has been discussed more than O’Sullivan as Garrido’s successor.
If Texas is to bring in a new baseball coach, the name that I keep hearing is Florida's Kevin O'Sullivan.
— Ryan Autullo (@AutulloAAS) May 27, 2016
“At Texas, he would be stepping into better facilities and better fan support,” wrote Ryan Autullo of the Austin-American Statesman. Plus, he’d get a bump in pay from the roughly $600,000 he’s making in Gainesville. Keep in mind, Garrido has made at least $1 million every season for several years.”
Autullo is not wrong. O’Sullivan’s tremendous success and repeated College World Series appearances makes him underpaid by today’s standards, especially considering Louisville on Wednesday signed its coach, Dan McDonnell, to a 10-year extension with a base salary of $1 million per year.
Florida’s baseball facilities are indeed lacking, too. While athletic director Jeremy Foley has promised they’re on a list of soon-to-come improvements, the Gators have sunk a ton of coin into football, basketball, gymnastics and lacrosse in recent years.
This brings us to Wednesday at the 2016 SEC Spring Meetings when Foley was asked point-blank by the gathered reporters whether he thinks UF is in danger of losing O’Sullivan to UT or another program.
“I expect him to be our baseball coach for a long time,” Foley said Wednesday, according to the Orlando Sentinel‘s Edgar Thompson.
Foley expanded on this sentiment further, via 247Sports‘ Thomas Goldkamp.
“I’m very confident knowing his makeup, knowing how he feels about this program, obviously he knows about all the kids he recruited, all the success he can have here, why would he leave?” Foley said. “I assure you we will never take him — and we’ve got a bunch of coaches over there — we don’t take their situations for granted, because it’s hard to find guys that good and obviously it’s our responsibility to make sure we keep them.”
Foley further stressed his amazement that “everybody kind of thinks that Florida’s a stepping stone job” and that the Gators will not step up to pay coaches what they deserve. He promised that would not be the reason O’Sullivan leaves, should he choose to do so for whatever reason, and also noted that improving baseball facilities are indeed in the plan going forward.
All that said, Foley does not take offense to the interest — perceived or otherwise — in O’Sullivan’s services from other programs.
“When Billy was around here, he was mentioned for every job that ever came open, because he was really good. Sully’s the same way,” Foley said, per the Sentinel.
Should Texas actually target and acquire O’Sullivan, he would become the third major-sport coach at the university to have worked at Florida, joining head football coach Charlie Strong (defensive coordinator) and head basketball coach Shaka Smart (assistant under Billy Donovan).