All has been quiet since Donnie Marbut was fired as coach of WSU baseball last week -- not at all unusual in a coaching search led by WSU director of athletics Bill Moos -- but a name finally surfaced in connection with the vacancy: Oklahoma State assistant Marty Lees.
This, from Aaron Fitt, a national college baseball analyst with d1baseball.com:
Expecting a big day in the coaching carousel. One thing I'm hearing buzz about is OK State assistant Marty Lees as a frontrunner for Wazzu.— Aaron Fitt (@aaronfitt) June 2, 2015
Aside from hiring away an established, successful head coach, landing Lees would be about the very best scenario one could hope for at Washington State. Since assistant college baseball coaches aren't exactly celebrities in the mainstream consciousness, you're almost certainly unfamiliar with Lees. Here's what you need to know.
Lees spent 11 years at Oregon State helping Pat Casey build a powerhouse in Corvallis that included a pair of national championships before deciding to leave for Oklahoma State in 2012. He was widely considered to be the coach-in-waiting had he stayed and Casey retired, something that's been seemingly on the table for years. Rather than wait, Lees -- a Northwest lifer -- surprisingly left to join his friend, Josh Holliday, who had just been hired as the coach in Stillwater.
Lees is credited with being the driving force behind the talent infusion at Oregon State that led to the Beavers' surge nationally. According to the Oregonian, Oregon State put together 10 top-25 recruiting classes in his 11 seasons, and that has continued in Stillwater -- the Cowboys' first two recruiting classes were rated in the top five nationally.
Of course, recruiting to both Corvallis and Stillwater is easier than recruiting to Pullman -- Oregon State had built first class facilities for Lees to recruit to as the Beavers' ascended, and the Cowboys have been a powerhouse in college baseball for decades.
Can Lees inject life into WSU baseball? If anyone can, it's probably him. He's from the Northwest, already has deep recruiting ties in this part of the country, and would more or less have a keen handle on exactly what he's getting himself into at WSU. Of all the candidates who could hit the ground running -- and keep together what is believed to be an excellent recruiting class at WSU -- Lees might be the best.