Joe Medley's In My Opinion: Three up, three down for Auburn baseball
by Joe Medley
jmedley@annistonstar.com
May 28, 2013 | 5165 views |  0 comments | 61 61 recommendations | email to a friend | print
John Pawlowski, arguing with an umpire, coached Auburn's baseball team for five years. (Photo by Todd Van Emst/Auburn University)
John Pawlowski, arguing with an umpire, coached Auburn's baseball team for five years. (Photo by Todd Van Emst/Auburn University)
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More than ever, we know the treasure Auburn had with Hal Baird. We know because three men have failed to replace him as Auburn’s baseball coach.

Steve Renfroe, Tommy Slater and, as of Monday, John Pawlowski were forced out after failing to win like Baird won at a naturally challenged program.

But appreciate Baird for more than winning in a non-lottery state, competing in a conference with mostly lottery-state schools and in a sport where coaches spread 11.7 scholarships among nearly 40 players.

Appreciate Baird because he was right in 2004. While serving as interim athletics director, he advised then-interim president Ed Richardson not to fire Renfroe.

Baird wasn’t batting for a long-time assistant. Months after “Jetgate” and amid the SACS probation, he knew Auburn was a hot potato in the coaching ranks. He knew Auburn would look even more hot in firing a baseball coach a year after he produced a No. 4 national seed in the NCAA tournament.

Now, in another year of house cleaning at Auburn, the baseball program appears locked in a cycle of swinging and missing.

Contact Sports Columnist Joe Medley at jmedley@annistonstar.com. Read “In My Opinion” in every Anniston Star sports section, written by Star staff members.

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