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Making excuses isn't in Scott Stricklin's DNA.
Perhaps that's what makes him a perfect fit for the University of Georgia, which looks to rejoin the block of the relevant in the Southeastern Conference.
Former Georgia head coach Dave Perno did some great things with the program and was an admirable man and coach on and off the field. However, the UGA administration decided during the offseason it was time to part ways with the coach, who not only guided the program to the CWS Championship Series in 2008, but also played and won a national title with the Bulldogs.
No matter your thoughts on what Perno did or didn't accomplish during his tenure at Georgia, he was a long-standing figure who could be hard to replace. The Bulldogs, though, made precisely the best hire possible by reeling in Stricklin from Kent State.
Stricklin's track record is impressive. He developed a very good reputation as an assistant coach for Danny Hall at nearby Georgia Tech, while he turned Kent State into one of the best and most consistent mid-major programs in college baseball, making his biggest splash in 2012 with a trip to the College World Series.
Georgia has better players, recruits and certainly a stronger financial commitment with Stricklin accumulating over $600K a year as an annual salary. But with that type of commitment comes very high expectations, something Stricklin only embraces.
The Bulldogs finished the last two seasons with unimpressive marks. They went 31-26 two seasons ago, before hitting rock-bottom last season with a dismal 21-32 overall record. In essence, turning the Bulldogs into an immediate contender seems like a pipe dream at this point. But don't tell that to the serious-minded Stricklin, who strongly believes the Bulldogs can make an immediate splash with the talent they have returning in the spring.
"I don't think there's any reason not to have expectations of being in the NCAA postseason in my first season. It's going to be tough because of our schedule, but I think this is an NCAA Regional team from a talent standpoint," Stricklin said. "Our goal right now is to get into the postseason, and I think we can do that right now."
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