The Washington State Cougars’ next baseball coach will be Brian Green, who is currently the coach at New Mexico State, the school announced this afternoon. The move was first reported by Kendall Rogers at D1Baseball.com.
Green, who will be introduced at a news conference on Wednesday from Pullman, led the Aggies to a WAC championship this season and the NCAA tournament in 2018, engineering a spectacular turnaround in his five years at his alma mater. His first season took a step back — NMSU won just 11 games — but the trajectory was upward from there: 34 wins in his second season, then 35, then 40 (for only the second time in school history), then 38 this season.
The Cougars won just 27 games in the last two seasons combined, and haven’t won as many as 34 since 2010 — the last time WSU appeared in an NCAA regional.
“Coach Green is an exact fit for Washington State baseball,” WSU athletics director Pat Chun said via news release. “He is focused on family, recruits to his core values, develops the entire student-athlete and has proven to be an extraordinary builder of teams. We welcome the Green Family to the WSU Family and are ecstatic to work together to add to our storied history.”
Contract details haven’t been revealed by WSU, but the Las Cruces Sun News is reporting that the contract is for five years at $315,000 per year. If accurate, that would be $65,000 more a year than his predecessor, Marty Lees, and about 2.5 times what he was making at NMSU.
That contract also ensures that Green will be around for the completion of the construction of the new baseball facility to be located at Bailey-Brayton Field.
“Washington State hasn’t had a lot of success, but there is a tremendous history of college baseball,” Green told the Sun News. “There is nowhere to go but up. It’s tough to make massive jumps in the Pac 12, but we will go in and try to do the same thing we did at New Mexico State. Nothing is more exciting than flipping a program around.”
Green is an alumnus of New Mexico State, which meant he was inclined to stay where he was — he recently signed an extension. But the allure of the Pac-12 was too much.
New @Cougbaseball coach Brian Green told me in March that it would take a Pac-12 or an SEC school to get him to leave NM State. He had no intentions of leaving Las Cruces, but when Washington State called, it was too good to pass up. @bbgreens5 said today it's a dream come true. pic.twitter.com/kcKaKaXd77— Colin Deaver (@ColinDeaverTV) June 3, 2019
“I’m not going anywhere unless maybe those two types of conferences call,” Green told Deaver. “We were very comfortable, we were looking forward to the hitting facility at New Mexico State, with having (Kevin) Jimenez, (Nick) Gonzales and (Tristan) Peterson coming back, and then Washington State called. It’s a dream come true. It is. And now it’s an opportunity to prove we can do it again.”
Green is no stranger to the Pac-12 and top flight college baseball. Prior to taking over at NMSU, he was an assistant at Kentucky for six years and an assistant at UCLA for four seasons before that.
A major component of the success of any baseball coach at WSU is the need to identify talent and develop it, and that is perhaps where Green excels the most: In each of the last four MLB drafts, Green has had a player drafted in the top six rounds, including a fourth rounder each of the last two seasons. WSU’s last four players drafted that high were Jason Monda (6th round, 2013), Adam Conley (2nd, 2011), Matt Way (5th, 2009), and Bryce Chamberlin (6th, 2004).
The hire seems to be going over well in college baseball circles.