ASU should start search in Tucson to replace Clint Myers

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                </div>Arizona State is ready to embark on a national coaching search to replace its head softball coach, Clint Myers, who just resigned to accept a similar position at Auburn. So […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
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Arizona State is ready to embark on a national coaching search to replace its head softball coach, Clint Myers, who just resigned to accept a similar position at Auburn.

So what does it cost these days to bring in a recruiting firm to do the national search?  Not sure, but it’s definitely not cheap.

So here’s some food for thought for the ASU brass, a suggestion that could save thousands.

Myers is leaving a huge legacy at the Tempe school, where he took the Sun Devils to the Women’s College World Series seven of the last eight years – and won two national titles during that time.  Although he will be making more money at Auburn, the real motivation for the move was to be closer to family in Alabama and to have a chance to bring his two sons on board as part of his coaching staff.

ASU has a good candidate for the job in associate head coach Chuck D’Arcy, but for a job with a nationally-prominent program, it’s likely the school will spread the net across the country to try and snag a coach with top-drawer credentials.

Which takes us to Tucson.

A couple of years ago, Mike Candrea, the head coach for the University of Arizona softball program, hired Stacy Iveson away from Yavapai College in Prescott to fill the void on his staff left when Teresa Wilson departed.

It was a huge hiring coup for Candrea since Iveson was recognized as one of the premier coaches in the junior college game.  She won two national championships while directing the Pima Community College program and then moved to Yavapai College, another two-year program, and won two more national titles.

She was likely brought on board to be in place when Candrea decides to to hang it up; he’s been Arizona’s head coach for the past 28 years.

But Candrea is only 57 years old and could easily be in the dugout for another 10 years.  Is Iveson, who is 45, willing to wait that long for her shot at the job?

Enter Arizona State.

It would be a long-shot, but why not take a flier on trying to lure Iveson to the other side of the state?  That’s what it takes sometimes to get the best talent – a little vision and a lot of effort.

“Because of his (Myers) efforts, the Sun Devil head coaching position is one of the best in the nation and we will proceed to hire a great fit for Arizona State that continues the Sun Devil tradition at the highest level.”  That’s what ASU Vice President for Athletics Steve Patterson said when commenting on Myers decision to leave.

The ‘great fit’ could be just down the road in the Old Pueblo.

Iveson has proven her ability on the national stage, although it was with two-year colleges and not a Division I school.  But don’t forget that Myers came to ASU after 19 years at Central Arizona College, a JUCO program in Coolidge (and also coached at Yavapai).

But Iveson does have the D-I experience.  In addition to the two years she just put in with the Wildcats, she was also on the Arizona staff from 1996 – 2001 before taking the head coaching job at Pima CC.

And her specialty is working with pitchers.  During her first tour with the Cats, she worked with pitchers like Jenny Finch, who posted a 30-0 record in 2001 and went on to Olympic fame.   At Yavapai she turned Estela Pinon from Sunnyside High in Tucson into one of the best pitchers in the junior-college ranks.  Pinon went 30-3 to take the Roughriders to the national title the year before Iveson departed for UofA.

Which brings us back to ASU, which will feature two of the best pitchers in Division I softball – seniors Dallas Escobedo and  Mackenzie Popescue – in next year’s line-up.  With a little additional polish applied by Iveson, they could take the Sun Devils back to the WCWS and a chance for a third title.

The only problem with this scenario is that Iveson is a died-in-the-wool Wildcat.  She attended high school in Tucson, taught school in Tucson, was an All-Conference catcher for Arizona in her college playing days, and has twice been hired by Candrea as an assistant coach.

But the draw of being a head coach is always strong, especially for someone who has had a taste of the experience in the past.  And then there’s the issue of money, generally a significant motivating factor.

For Steve Patterson, it should be a challenge worth undertaking.

And, as far as the loyalty thing goes… the athletic director at UofA, Greg Byrne, is an ASU grad.

Hey, anything is possible.