Tech’s Hall calls Kinkelaar dismissal difficult but necessary

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

24 comments Add your comment

JacketFan49

June 26th, 2012
1:39 pm

A good move by Coach Hall. It is obvious that, over the last few years, recruiting has slipped some. He’s right. Sometimes you just need a fresh look and a new direction. The ACC is a great baseball conference and is getting even better. Tech has to step up its recruiting if it wants to be an annual contender for the league title and the CWS title.

juvenal

June 26th, 2012
2:55 pm

tough call, but we need more depth…..

5150 UOAD

June 26th, 2012
3:13 pm

Hard to fire a friend.
Richt can’t do it to Bobo at UGa
I hope they stay friends and tech can get better.

showmekid

June 26th, 2012
3:38 pm

In the past, when the going gets rough, Coach Hall fires the assistants. When is the fire going to reach the head coach’s office?

Hall calls dismisal difficult

June 26th, 2012
3:43 pm

Taylor Wooten

June 26th, 2012
4:42 pm

Lets get real…That’s what Coaches do to cover their own butts for their own shortcomings, and the heat they are feeling. Makes it look like they are doing something

www

June 26th, 2012
5:23 pm

unless kinkelaar was responsible for recruiting and developing batters, i don’t see how this move improves the yellow jackets. it seems to me that kinkelaar was one of the better things this program had going for it.

www

June 26th, 2012
5:24 pm

i meant to say – unless kinkelaar was responsible for recruiting and developing batters, i don’t see how this move improves the yellow jackets. it seems to me that pitching (as developed by kinkelaar) was one of the better things this program had going for it.

fan

June 26th, 2012
5:26 pm

yeah, when you get 15,20 runs hung on you like Florida did I’d say you make a change.

Bill

June 26th, 2012
5:33 pm

Tech has suffered from pitching injury problems in recent years. I have no way of knowing if Kinkelaar was responsible in any way, but it makes sense to change. I applaud Danny for making what had to be a terrible decision – remember he only gets two paid assistants. Those of you who think Hall should somehow be fired must be on something. Do you think winning years – every year – is something that just happens? Ask Perno at Athens how hard it is to be consistent.

AGTFan53

June 26th, 2012
5:45 pm

I wish Coach Kinkelaar the best. I agree with Bill. Those who think Hall should be fired need to share what their smoking with everyone.

Jim 70

June 26th, 2012
6:38 pm

After hiring and firing many people in my career, you quickly learn not to hire friends. Not because they may not be qualified, but because it is difficult to fire them.

More power to coach hall.

Paul in NH

June 26th, 2012
7:18 pm

Obviously a difficult decision for Coach Hall but now he needs to make a good hire and see improvements in the team in the next couple of years. Otherwise it will be D-Rad saying
“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.”

Great guy

June 26th, 2012
7:42 pm

Coach Kink will find his place and excel. What a great guy! Baseball is business and I’m sure as difficult as it was for both men, it is also understood. Best of luck to you coach! Looking forward to reading about your success with another team soon.

Buzzer

June 26th, 2012
8:46 pm

Would have to be a real insider to know if there was any correlation between Kinkelaar’s coaching and the pitching injuries, but I can see one problem that whole staff seems to have — recruiting position players. Tech started at least two, often three, and even four walk-on position players in games during the second half of the season — including two infielders at all times. Doesn’t speak well about the guys they gave scholarship money to as touted November signings the last couple of years..

Biff Pocoroba

June 26th, 2012
8:46 pm

I’ve been saying they needed a change for a few years. Kink was coaching high school girls basketball and then his buddy Hall decided to give him a job. He had a good pitching staff in April every year but they always seemed to wear down and get injured in May. Hall is safe since DRad decided to give him a 5 year contract extension after he choked at home in the regionals last year. Some people are satisfied with having a top 10 team fall apart due to poor fielding and base running at the end of the season, but Tech could do much better with all of the talent in Georgia and the ability to use the Hope scholarship to give out 1/2 scholarships. When Hall was interviewed for the Texas A & M job a few years ago, their fans were upset because they didn’t want a guy who underachieves in the post season year after year, so they were forced to back off and not offer him the job. If the season ended in April, Hall would be the greatest coach ever. Instead, he is the Bobby Cox of college baseball.

gt4ever

June 26th, 2012
9:23 pm

“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.”

Hmmmmmm, What in the world does that really mean! I mean, we must be snake bitten at GT…. When will it end…

tellitlikeitis

June 27th, 2012
7:22 am

coach is right, we need a young, entergetic coach and recruiter, not a complacement friend of the boss.

Crazy Robert

June 27th, 2012
9:09 am

What was the problem before Tom was part of the team?

OptionBee

June 27th, 2012
3:37 pm

Danny Hall is indeed the “Bobby Cox” of college baseball. He has not got a clue when it comes to playoff baseball! Cox did it with 3 hall of fame pitchers on the same staff. Ever see a Cox or Danny Hall team that could bunt successfully? He is very weak in coaching fundamentals. Players coming in bring their own fundamentals-good or bad. Jim Morris had a philosophy of recruiting 2-3 shortstops per year- saying that they were usually the best player on the team, and the most versatile. Not Danny! Also, stop spending recruiting budget money on recruiting trips to Ohio. These are only paid vacations for Danny and his family!! Starting to wonder about DRad as well, as he gave the new contract extension, and he was a guilty party in the football penalties. But I guess, as he would say, it is what it is!

OptionBee

June 27th, 2012
3:57 pm

Speaking of hiring friends that can’t recruit, PJ should take note! Spending more money on recruiting (3rd highest behind Ala,Auburn-recent article) does not make your staff better recruiters! Recruiting is selling, and some people couldn’t sell hookers on a troop train! Enough said….

THWG

June 27th, 2012
5:17 pm

DRad and his staff are a bit underwhelming. They don’t listen to the fan and ignore the small stuff. Neither have a Tech connection and are oblivious to the things that seem minor but make the fan happy. Coach Hall is good but he needs to reinforce his weaknesses. Bunting has been an issue for the last decade. I’ll still support the team though. Good luck to the Jackets!

GTGreg

June 27th, 2012
8:25 pm

OptionBee… DRad should just hire you! You could probably do the job waaaay better, and likely for much cheaper, too!

Bill

June 28th, 2012
2:15 pm

It doesn’t appear that the Kinkelaar firing has cost Tech any 2012 or 2013 recruits. I suppose it still could, but all those kids have heard the news by now.