Iowa baseball coach search continues

BY CODY GOODWIN | JUNE 13, 2013 5:00 AM

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It didn’t come as a shock to the Iowa baseball team when its head coach, Jack Dahm, was relieved of his duties.

“We knew he had been on the hot seat for a couple years now, and we didn’t make the Big Ten Tournament,” former Hawkeye pitcher Matt Dermody said. “I think everybody was kind of expecting that.”

Dahm spent 10 years as the Hawkeye head coach, compiling an overall record of 235-302 — including a 116-161 mark in conference play. Athletics Director Gary Barta chose not to renew Dahm’s contract after the two met on May 23, following the spring season.

The search for a new coach began immediately, and, Barta said, it is still ongoing.

“Based upon the expressed interest, I’m confident we’ll be able to find a coach who has a demonstrated track record of winning, someone who has shown his commitment to academic success, and someone who truly wants to lead this program and do it the right way,” Barta wrote to The Daily Iowan in an email.

“As is always the case, I won’t comment on specific candidates or timelines until we are ready to introduce the new coach,” the AD wrote.

The statistics from this past season show that Iowa, which finished 22-27 this past year, could benefit from a coach who has a successful background in hitting. The Black and Gold’s bats ranked near the bottom of the conference in most offensive statistics in the spring.

Iowa ranked dead last in the Big Ten with a .308 slugging percentage, second-to-last in runs scored, hits, and runs batted in — 228, 443, and 194, respectively. The Hawkeyes also finished last in the conference in doubles (53) and home runs (2).

Only three members of the Black and Gold managed to hit over the .300 threshold that’s commonly seen as benchmark for success. Eric Toole was the only one of the three who played more than 32 games — Toole was also the team’s only All-Big Ten selection from this past season, earning second-team honors.

The offensive woes were apparent during a 10-14 conference campaign. The bright side, though, is that Iowa lost six of those games by 2 runs or fewer.

The Hawkeyes also managed at least one victory in every Big Ten series they played with the exception of Indiana, which isn’t particularly something to hang their heads about — the Hoosiers topped the conference with a 17-7 mark in league play. They went on to win the Big Ten Tournament, and they will begin play in the College World Series in Omaha this weekend, the first Big Ten team in the World Series since 1984.

“I think a coach who will come in and gain the respect of the players will really do well,” Dermody said when asked what kind of coach will succeed with the returning squad.

The team itself ended the season on a high note, sweeping Purdue to close the 2013 campaign and winning five of the last six games.

The optimism that shone at the end of the season could perhaps be a sign that the tides are shifting for the Iowa baseball team.

“We lead the team,” then-senior Iowa pitcher Ricky Sandquist told The Daily Iowan on May 16 before sweeping the Boilermakers. “The younger guys see us go out there, compete, and lay it on the line, then they follow us.”

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