MORGANTOWN - A pair of highly successful former Division I coaches who were fired from their most recent jobs are among the top candidates to fill West Virginia's open baseball coaching position, according to sources.
Rod Delmonico was the head coach at Tennessee for 18 years and is one win shy of 700 for his career. Pat Murphy coached at both Notre Dame and Arizona and won 947 game in 22 seasons at those schools.
Those are not the only candidates in the pool, but they are likely the most accomplished. Several Division I assistant coaches are also believed to be on WVU's short list.
Athletic director Oliver Luck Thursday refused to talk about any specific candidates, but said he hoped the process would not drag out.
"We'll probably try to move as quickly as we can,'' Luck said.
Delmonico, 54, was the head coach at Tennessee from 1990 through 2007. He took a Vols program that had not been to the College World Series since 1951 and got it there three times, in 1995, 2001 and 2005. In 1995 he was named the national coach of the year by Baseball America.
But after posting a 699-396 record, Delmonico was fired after the 2007 season. The stated reason was that athletic director Mike Hamilton believed the team "lacked the consistency in Southeastern Conference regular-season and NCAA postseason play that is expected of all of our programs.''
Delmonico's teams were 263-255 in SEC play. Following the Vols' 2005 CWS appearance, they posted back-to-back losing records in the SEC. But since Delmonico's firing, Tennessee has not finished higher than fifth in the SEC's East Division and three times posted a losing record overall.
Murphy, 53, was successful at both Notre Dame (318-116-1 from 1988-94) and Arizona (629-284-1, 1995-2007). But he was fired at Arizona in December of 2009 amid an NCAA investigation. The Sun Devils were ultimately found to have committed two "major'' violations of NCAA rules involving payment for work performed by players and tasks performed by student managers.
Arizona's penalties included three years of probation, an NCAA postseason ban, scholarship reductions and some wins were vacated.
Murphy is currently the manager of the Eugene (Ore.) Emeralds, a short-season Class A affiliate of the San Diego Padres. Delmonico worked for Major League Baseball International after his firing, as well as at Florida State and Florida International. He was also the manager of The Netherlands national team in the 2009 World Baseball Classic when that team upset the Dominican Republic.