Exit Rich Maloney Comment Count

Brian May 23rd, 2012 at 12:10 PM


Where have you gone, Zach Putnam? [Via Roar of the Tigers.]

Michigan fired baseball coach Rich Maloney yesterday,  a precipitous fall for a guy who was being heavily courted by SEC schools a couple years ago. Tennessee interviewed him five years back, whereupon Maloney signed the contract that just expired. Back then there were a number of future major-leaguers on the roster. Now not so much.

What happened? I have a little inside baseball (HAIKM) on this one: when his assistant Jake Boss was hired at Eastern Michigan this crippled his recruiting. Reports from guys being recruited at the time say it was Boss who was the face of the program and that Maloney did not have a boots-on-the-ground approach to recruiting. It's kind of like what would happen to Red if he lost both of his assistants, played in a mid-major league, and was not Red Berenson.

Boss was boss enough for Michigan State to pick him up after just one year and the turnaround in their fortunes has been obvious:

Year Michigan MSU
2005 42-19, NCAA bid 22-31
2006 43-21, Big Ten double, NCAA bid 24-29
2007 42-19, Big Ten title, reach super-regionals 25-26
Boss leaves for EMU
2008 46-14, Big Ten tourney title, NCAA bid 26-30
Boss joins MSU
2009 30-25 23-31
2010 35-22 34-19
2011 17-37 36-21, Big Ten champs
2012 22-34 35-19

MSU's coach before Boss left to be the pitching coach at LSU. They weren't going to get rid of the guy just for going .500. They loved that. The year before he arrived they were ninth in the league. That's the kind of program we're dealing with. Boss's title year was the sixth-most wins in the history of the program. Their 2011 title was their first since 1979. This is not quite as impressive as Purdue breaking its streak of not winning since 1909(!!!), but it's still pretty impressive.

Meanwhile Michigan cratered a year after Boss left, finishing tenth in the league the last two years. Wisconsin doesn't have a program, so that's last and second from last. It was time to let the guy go.

What's Next

I won't pretend to have my pulse on the beating heart of college baseball, but it's doubtful Michigan can recapture the magic they had in the middle of the last decade when a couple of local stars who both pitched and hit (Putnam, Abraham) decided to stay local. Their impact on the program was huge, especially Putnam. Unless the balance of college baseball recruiting changes drastically for no good reason, that's the kind of thing that has to happen for Michigan to be the kind of team that can host the charity northern regional.

Failing that, being one of the two or three or four (now that Nebraska is around) Big Ten teams in contention for the league's autobid year-in and year-out is something to shoot for. I doubt they'll make a run at Boss—that might ruin Brandon and Hollis's golf outing—but they probably should.

If they don't latch on to Boss they should hire someone who can make it warm in February. Nothing else is going to help the Big Ten other than leaving the NCAA entirely.



May 23rd, 2012 at 12:48 PM ^


I don't know if you were around or not, but that was basically the only topic of discussion, so it's not like Brian had to lay out RR's records, issues, accomplishments, ect. If you click the tags at the top of the post you can read other content Brian wrote about the whole topic.

Ignore if you were being sarcastic, but I already look like an idiot if that's the case.


May 23rd, 2012 at 12:52 PM ^

No posts that mentioned he was leaving, or considered his legacy, or how his assistant coaching hires might have affected his success, or speculated on a successor?  You couldn't find any? 

Like Justin, I assume you are trying to make a point with this post rather than actually telling the truth, but I guess I don't get the point that is being made.


May 24th, 2012 at 10:40 AM ^

While those threads are always amusing to go back and look over (*PANIC*), what's interesting is you can always take something new from them. More than once it was put out there that the idea should be to keep Rich, and if he fails, we could just go out and get a major candidate then...specifically Harbaugh or Meyer. Now, if Rich takes home games and turns negativity around it's moot, but for the speculation...if he stayed another year and was canned, you'd have Harbaugh firmly entrenched in the NFL...and have lost out on Meyer because of the unknown OSU implosion allowing them to coach hunt sooner (and the fact that his heart was probably in Ohio anyway), and you'd be left with....who...as a coaching candidate this year to take over the job? People would be saying by waiting we missed out on Harbaugh, and then "well if Meyer was coming back this soon, we should have gotten him" (for the wins, but ignoring the slimey feel).  And might still end up with Hoke, but with the program sliding another year in recruiting and everything else, and missed out on two good midwestern recruiting classes...that would have ended up at the MSU's and OSU's of the world.  

Hindsight and all that, but it's just interesting how Plan's B and C would have been gone a year later (a month later in one case). 


May 23rd, 2012 at 1:40 PM ^

I moved down to Georgia recently and my experience is they just are more dedicated to the sport. I work at an embroidery and in january and february we were mainly doing baseball stuff. The amount of money the parents invest in their kids playing far excess anything I experienced in Michigan. We kick their asses in our investment into hockey.


May 23rd, 2012 at 2:14 PM ^

The Boss story is nice, I remember him recruiting me at EMU and he did a great job helping them become a much improved program. I can't go along with losing him as the reason for Maloney's troubles. Maloney had outstanding recruiting at Ball-Freakin'-State before Boss was ever working with him. How did Maloney do all that? FWIW competing against M for the BTC in 2006 I heard a lot of gushing from players and parents about Maloney, never heard anything good or bad about Boss. In a year where I heard a lot of negativity from parents and players about their coaches across the BIG, Maloney stood out as one who was revered. Lastly, I know Putnam is homeboys with many here, but as players, we had far more respect for Brauer's abilities than Putnam. That could have been a function of age though.


May 23rd, 2012 at 8:56 PM ^

Check this. If a college baseball coach has a hate site, you know you should avoid it.

Or you know, the racism charges against him:

"In my knowledge of West Virginia baseball, there's not been many players of my race on his team," [former WVU quarterback Pat] White was quoted as saying of baseball coach Greg Van Zant. "He's not too high on it."



RIP Coach Maloney's career. He might not have had the on the field results, but the man was a great off the field influence. His work with charities in the Detroit/Ann Arbor/Chelsea areas is top notch. You'd be hard pressed to find someone who will say that Coach Maloney was anything short of a class act.

God speed, Coach. You'll always be one of my favorite personalities I met through this site. 



May 25th, 2012 at 6:49 PM ^

you've been posting here for how many years, and you don't know that

  • We had a thing a while back where we hired a couple prominent WVU coaches.  I don't know, you might have heard of them.
  • this site has a little bit of a thing for sarcasm?

Have fun back in the shadows, but next time you resurface, reacquaint yourself with humor and current events first.


May 23rd, 2012 at 4:12 PM ^

He could recruit with his connections, and should be fired soon. I know if I was giving the resources that he has been afforded, and failed at my job, my ass would be gone. No excuses! P.S. for those that are slow; I am joking about Leyland being a realistic option, but he should be unemployed soon.

Michigan Arrogance

May 23rd, 2012 at 5:22 PM ^

Injuries were an issue the last 2 (3?) years, but that could be a symptom of the struggles he's had developing pitching. Pitching is the key in college. ID talent and develop it. Putnam/Abrahams cannot be counted on: that talent level is too high for a B10 team to maintain.

Ive heard similar stuff about Boss, but probably from Brian. Echo chamber effect. But his performance at EMU and MSU speaks for itself. I'd love to get him back.


May 23rd, 2012 at 6:30 PM ^

if there are any Caleb Porter/Rico Blasi types out there we can grab.  Guys at small schools, who consistently put out great teams, who might be enticed to leave for a school with the name/prestige and money of Michigan, even though they were the BMOC at their old school and had built a powerhouse and (in Rico's case) are alumni of where they coach.  I don't think Michigan has ever/will ever have a shot at Porter or Blasi, but I feel like baseball has a small handful of guys like those, one of which might be convinced to come. 

The other thing is, if DB is going to be looking for somebody with prior HC experience, or if he might try to poach an assistant from a Florida/South Carolina/Florida State/LSU.  I also wonder if any of those assistants would come to Michigan.  As Brian pointed out, MSU's old coach left to be pitching coach at LSU and I feel like the Big Ten might be a place where baseball coaches come to die.  They come up here, have limited success, just because of all the obstacles and all of a sudden nobody wants them as a head coach anywhere else.  Whereas if they stay a highly-though-of assistant, they could still end up HC of a powerhouse. 

It's fair to say Michigan baseball won't ever be a powerhouse and list all the reasons why, but somehow there's still this part of my head that says "This is Michigan, fergodsakes!" and wants the team to make the CWS at least every once in a while.

Steve in PA

May 23rd, 2012 at 7:13 PM ^

I went to the series vs PSU and it was not good.  One thing I've always counted on was Michigan pounding PSU regardless of the sport.  The RR years saw that come to an end in football and the halfhearted effort I saw on the field at the baseball games told me Maloney was soon to exit.

By all accounts he's a really nice guy, but nice guys (or gals) that don't win in college sports are soon replaced.  I'm just hopeful in 4 years my son will be playing on that team regardless of how good it is.  When we sat in the first row by the dugout I saw him staring into it.  He said he was about 20 feet from his sports goal in life.



Wolverine Devotee

May 23rd, 2012 at 7:30 PM ^

The hell with the golf outing. I want this program back on top where it belongs.

If it means bringing Boss back to Michigan, so be it. He has a house in Ypsilanti so the transition would be easy. Plus I'm sure he enjoys his furniture not being lit on fire in riots, so he needs to come home.


May 23rd, 2012 at 9:18 PM ^

There is 0.0% chance Boss leaves MSU. As touched on earlier in the thread, his father was a legardary baseball coach at Lansing Catholic (Central) High School. Furthermore, you simply don't see coaches leave a position at one program for the same position at their rival school.


May 23rd, 2012 at 10:19 PM ^

Maloney was making about $333,000 per year, that is waaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyy too much for someone who was not really giving 100%. Davey Money Bags won't keep you if your are making more than market and not winning the big ten. A friend of mine who is the HC of a women's sport at UM told me in Febuary Maloney was on double secret probation at before the season started.

Michigan Arrogance

May 23rd, 2012 at 10:40 PM ^

Also, what pitch is trip throwing there? At 1st it looked like a change, but it's a stranger grip than i've seen. maybe a cut FB?


The pinky is extended,

the ring is knuckled

the thumb is 180 from the index and middle, which are aligned like a 4-seam FB WRT to the seams


May 25th, 2012 at 10:15 AM ^

Go get Strickland from Kent State!  Ohio State made the mistake of passing him over last selection.  UM is not going to get a National name and Strickland is a as close to that as they will get.  He knows the region, excellent recuiting and knows how to develop pitchers.