Following former coach Mark Kingston’s departure to South Carolina, USF acted promptly to hire from within.
Billy Mohl, USF’s pitching coach of three years, was promoted to head coach by athletic director Mark Harlan hours after Kingston’s departure June 30.
“We are very excited to be able to continue the tremendous momentum of our baseball program with Billy Mohl as our head coach,” Harlan said. “He has a tremendous track record of recruiting and developing high-caliber student-athletes, did a tremendous job with our pitching staff over the past three seasons.”
Kingston gave Mohl his first coaching job in 2010 as the pitching coach at Illinois State. Mohl then took the same position at USF when Kingston was hired in 2014. The State (Columbia, South Carolina) previously reported him as a potential candidate to follow Kingston to South Carolina as the Gamecocks' pitching coach.
Pitching led the way for USF’s 41-win season in 2017, with its pitchers average ERA ranking 10th in the nation, while its strikeout per nine innings ratio was No. 1 overall. Pitchers Phoenix Sanders, Joe Cavallaro and Ryan Valdes were all drafted two weeks after the Bulls’ season ended in the Gainesville regional.
Last season was no fluke for a pitching staff led by Mohl.
Since Mohl’s transition to Tampa in 2014, Bulls pitchers have posted 500-plus strikeout seasons each year. In that same time, eight USF pitchers were selected in the MLB draft, while only three non-pitchers were selected.
In his five-year tenure at Illinois State, nine pitchers were drafted, and the Red Birds won their first ever Missouri Valley Conference title.
“Many thanks go to Mark Kingston,” Mohl said in a statement. “I couldn’t be more appreciative of everything he has done for me throughout our time together. I’m excited to continue to build on the foundation and successes he has laid here.
“The players in this program are the most important thing to me. I am proud to be their coach, mentoring and leading them both on and off the field as players and men.”
Many of those players voiced their support of the decision to hire Mohl via social media.
“Billy’s Bulls to Omaha baby #Gobulls,” starting pitcher Shane McClanahan said in one tweet the day of Mohl’s hiring.
“LETS GO!!!!! @USF_CoachMohl,” he said in another.
Along with current Bulls, former players have shown their support of the hiring also.
“Can’t express how great of a hire @USF_CoachMohl is for @USFBaseball,” tweeted Austin Adams, a former Bull and current pitcher in the Nationals' organization.
USF will be Mohl’s first head coaching job, but there’s no lack of post-season experience for Mohl, who’s been to the NCAA Tournament both as a player at Tulane and twice as a coach at USF.
Kingston made $140,000 annually in his three years at USF, and will now make $475,000 a year in base salary at South Carolina, with the possibility to make $600,000 per year with incentives.
Mohl will be officially introduced this afternoon at the Sun Dome.