Hansen's Sunday Notebook: Reward for paying dues

UA pitching coach Shaun Cole, left, seen here working with Kurt Heyer in 2012, has left the program to accept a job with USA Baseball.  


Andy Lopez has some more recruiting to do.

On top of scouring the junior college ranks and talking to high school coaches this summer about replenishing his roster, Lopez now has to find a new pitching coach.

USA Baseball announced this morning that Shaun Cole is the new director of its 18U national teams. Cole, the 2012 Collegiate Baseball National Pitching Coach of the Year, joined the UA program in 2009 as the director of operations. He was named the team's pitching coach prior to the 2010 season and has served in that role since. 

Cole helped the Wildcats to the 2012 national championship, tutoring a pitching staff that was led by weekend starters Kurt Heyer, Konner Wade and James Farris. The trio combined for a 31-8 record with a 3.30 ERA and a remarkable 16 complete games on the season. The three starters struck out 291 batters and walked just 85.

In the two seasons since the national championship, Cole has seen his pitching staff struggle. The Wildcats have searched for a Sunday starter the past two seasons and have struggled with production. The Wildcats were second to last in team ERA this season at 4.49 and didn't have a pitcher finish in the top 10 in individual ERA.

Lopez will fill the position this summer. Cole was one of two full-time assistants on Lopez's staff. The other, Matt Siegel, who works with the team's position players, is expected to return next season.