Georgia Tech baseball coach Danny Hall called the dismissal of pitching coach Tom Kinkelaar extremely difficult and gut-wrenching, but in his opinion necessary for the future of the team.
“Tom is a great friend, a very good coach and was a key part of our staff at Georgia Tech,” Hall said in an e-mail Monday. “Sometimes you just need a fresh start, a change in philosophy both on the field and in recruiting. It doesn’t mean you’re necessarily doing anything wrong, you just need a change in direction. We had reached that point.”
Kinkelaar and Hall were roommates and teammates at Miami (Ohio) in the mid-70’s. Kinkelaar joined Tech’s staff as director of baseball operations in Nov. 2004, serving three seasons before being promoted to pitching coach for the 2008 season.
Pitchers Jed Bradley and Deck McGuire were some of Kinkelaar’s best work. Neither was drafted out of high school, and both were eventually selected in the top 15 of the Major League Baseball draft in 2011 and 2010, respectively.
In 2009, McGuire also became Tech’s first ACC pitcher of the year and its first pitcher to make first-team All-America since 1998.
In 2011, Tech pitchers record a 2.76 team ERA, the second lowest in school history. Bradley, Mark Pope and Buck Farmer all made All-ACC.
With Luke Bard and Farmer getting selected this year – Bard in the supplemental first round – 12 of his pitchers were taken in the draft.
“It was an extremely difficult decision professionally, and a gut-wrenching decision to make personally,” Hall said. “Tom and I have been lifelong friends. … I have the utmost confidence that he will have success in his next position.”
Kinkelaar declined an interview request Monday.
Hall likely was motivated to make a move in part by the decisive defeats meted out to the Jackets by Florida in the NCAA regionals Jun. 1-3. The superiority of Florida’s team, which was top-ranked in the country and advanced to the College World Series for the third consecutive season, caught Hall’s attention.
“We’ve got to look at Florida and say, ‘That is the standard that we have to get to,’” Hall said several days following the end of the season. “So you see that, and it’s one thing to say that and it’s another thing to realize that. When I say ‘we,’ I mean me, too. We’ve got to recruit better, we’ve got to stay healthy, we’ve got to put together a team together like Florida had for us to get to Omaha.”
Tech missed out on two local products who beat Tech this season and helped their teams to get to the CWS. Florida State freshman Brandon Leibrandt (Marist) held Tech to one run over 7.1 innings in a 2-1 regular-season win and Florida junior Hudson Randall (Dunwoody) outdueled Farmer in the NCAA regional.
Hall did not have a titled recruiting coordinator on his staff, sharing recruiting responsibilities with Kinkelaar and assistant Bryan Prince.
Regarding the job search, Hall credited Kinkelaar for raising the profile of the job and said he will “target candidates who will be tireless recruiters, especially in the state of Georgia, that bring in student-athletes that fit the Georgia Tech mold both athletically and academically. The development of our pitchers into those that will help us compete for a national championship, and that will be successful at the next level, is also a very important consideration into the decision.”
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog