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The Scope: New hire breaks storied Ohio tradition

Since being hired as Ohio’s Director of Athletics in April 2007, Jim Schaus has accomplished enough to cement a legacy in Athens.

He led the Bobcats to their most successful athletic season to date in 2011-12, and steered the fundraising charge for an $11 million multipurpose center that is likely to break ground by Fall Semester.

But arguably his biggest mark has come in the coaching realm, where he has hauled in big-name hires to fill each coaching vacancy.

Only months ago, Schaus introduced former Texas Christian University coach Jim Christian, filling the shoes left by outgoing coach John Groce, another of his coaching hires.

He also nabbed women’s basketball coach Semeka Randall from Michigan State in 2008, after the Spartans made NCAA Tournament runs in each of her three years as an assistant there.  

The Ohio baseball coaching opening proved to be no different, as Ohio Athletics announced Monday it would introduce new coach Rob Smith Tuesday at a 2 p.m. press conference.

Smith, who previously served six years as an associate coach with Creighton, will be the first coach to break the mold of skippers that have an Ohio University tie since long before the Bobcats made the move to Bob Wren Stadium in 1998.

And it goes well beyond Wren himself, who began coaching in 1949.

The legacy began in 1924, when Don Peden took the helm for the green and white.

He coached for 25 years before being succeeded by Wren, who led the program for the next 24 years.

Wren's tenure was highlighted by a trip to the College World Series in 1970, when Joe Carbone was a senior second baseman.

Before Carbone returned to Athens to coach the Bobcats for 24 seasons ending in 2012, Jerry France was in charge for 16 years.

Smith’s hire breaks an 89-year tradition.

Many associated with the program were pulling for Ohio associate coach Andrew See to take over the head position.

He played three years for the Bobcats, and gathered all-Mid-American Conference and Mideast Region honors in 2001, his senior season.

See was named a graduate assistant in 2003, and filled the late Bill Toadvine’s position as associate coach in 2006 after he passed away because of lung cancer the previous fall.

“(Carbone) felt such a great responsibility to coach Toadvine and coach Bob Wren, and that tradition is why Andrew See needs to be the next coach,” said former player and 2002 graduate Mike Florak, in a previous interview with The Post.

It is not outlandish to say See was Carbone’s natural successor. The former skipper made it known he was pulling for his See to fill his position.

“I’ve recommended (See) for the head job, but we don’t know,” Carbone said, in a February interview with The Post. “He’s sold the university and the baseball program to a number of young men who are really outstanding players, and they have committed to come here.”

See handled the Bobcats’ recruiting this season, bringing in at least six recruits, according to a previous Post story.

Seth Streich, who was one of the Bobcats’ two captains in 2012, was surprised by Schaus’ hire, and thinks See will explore other job opportunities.

“I think with how long he’s been an assistant, he would have loved to be Ohio’s head coach, but he will probably find a position elsewhere,” Streich said.

Streich was picked 199th by the Oakland Athletics in this year’s MLB Draft. He will ink his professional deal in Phoenix this week, and will play for the short season Class-A Vermont Lake Monsters this summer. 

“I decided earlier in the past couple days that I would sign, but now it’s a 100 percent decision,” Streich said.

See did not return an immediate request for comment. 

Jim Ryan is a sophomore studying journalism and assistant sports editor of The Post. Think the coaching hire is Schaus' best move yet? Let him know at jr992810@ohiou.edu.

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