Eastern New Mexico University athletic director Jeff Geiser left no doubt about the most important factor in narrowing the search for a new baseball coach to three finalists.
“Recruiting is the lifeblood of any program,” Geiser said.
Veteran West Texas high school baseball coach Jimmy Webster, Culver-Stockton College (Mo.) head coach Chris Terry and Clarendon College (Texas) head coach Mike Silva were selected as the finalists Wednesday from an original candidate list of more than 100.
Phil Clabaugh retired this spring after 20 years as Greyhounds head coach.
“The (finalist) candidates had the best recruiting plans,” Geiser said. “We believe they’re capable of recruiting in New Mexico and they have a recruiting plan for the other areas we are marketable in.”
Webster spent eight years at Lubbock Coronado High School as the head baseball coach and an assistant coach for the Mustangs, and served as the director of baseball operations at Texas Tech this year.
Terry has been at Culver-Stockton, an NAIA school in northeastern Missouri, since 2007, and has registered three seasons with at least 30 wins.
Silva has spent the last three seasons at Clarendon, a two-year college in the Texas Panhandle, posting a pair of 30-win seasons, including a 38-17 mark during the 2010 season.
The finalists are scheduled for campus visits next week.
Geiser said coaches at Eastern at expected to win games and graduate players.
“They’ve won in previous locations where they did not have the same resources as their opponents and we believe they can do that here,” Geiser said.
All three finalists agreed with the selection committee that ENMU needed to do a better job of recruiting in New Mexico.
“We’ve got to get back to winning New Mexico,” Geiser said. “There’s not a plethora of Division II players in New Mexico, but we have to be more visible and have a better presence in the state.”
Division II baseball programs have the equivalent of nine scholarships to offer.
Geiser said he would like a new coach in place by June 16.