A national search for Miami University’s next head baseball coach began Monday morning.
Dan Simonds, the RedHawks’ leader for the past eight seasons, accepted the associate head coach position at Indiana, reuniting him with former MU coach Tracy Smith.
“It’s sad to see Dan go because he’s been tied to Miami for so long,” Miami athletic director David Sayler said. “He really cared about this place, but I certainly understand his decision.”
Simonds posted a 232-222 record and failed to win a Mid-American Conference championship during his tenure as head coach. The RedHawks’ last MAC title came in 2005 under Smith, who took IU to the College World Series last month.
Simonds was one of Smith’s assistants for five seasons (2000-04) in Oxford. An Indiana spokesman said Monday that Simonds wouldn’t be available for comment until Tuesday.
Sayler praised Simonds for his teams’ competitiveness on the field, grade point average and community service, but said eight years without a championship is too long.
Simonds, whose squad was 26-30 this spring, had one year remaining on his contract.
“There certainly wasn’t a forced change,” Sayler said. “We talked at the end of the year, and there were lofty expectations laid out. This is a highly competitive institution. That’s what we teach here, that’s the kind of kids we bring in here, and that’s what we want to see on the field.
“I think Dan understood and felt like he could accomplish those things. But we were going to have to see it on the field next year and then make a decision about the future.”
Sayler said the job is expected to draw considerable interest, in part because of McKie Field’s quality and the fact that fundraising is in progress to make the complex even better.
“We’re about $500,000 away from finishing off the fundraising to go ahead and begin construction,” said Sayler, noting that the project includes a locker room and coaches offices. “As we continue to make progress toward an indoor facility, that will also be something that benefits baseball greatly.”
Sayler said head coaching experience will not be mandatory in this search. He hopes to have a new coach in place by the end of the month.
“I think this is a plum job in the league,” Sayler said. “It is our belief that we can have a national presence in baseball. We have all the tools in place. We’re completely funding it from a scholarship perspective, we have the full amount of coaches, and giving our kids places to work out in the winter remains a priority for me.”