Brian Green arrived in Las Cruces five years ago with a goal of turning around the NMSU baseball program. It did not take long to achieve his goal.
The Aggies won at least 34 games over the last four seasons, including a trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2018. After 184 wins and back-to-back WAC regular season titles, Green is taking over the Washington State baseball program, signing a five-year contract with a $300,000 annual salary – more than double his salary at NMSU.
Green was considered one of the best mid-major coaches in the country, and now will coach in the Pac 12. He spent four seasons as an assistant coach with UCLA, where he doubled as recruiting coordinator. Former Chihuahuas player Cody Decker, who played his college ball at UCLA, was excited for his friend and former assistant coach.
“Washington State just got one of if not the best college coach in the country,” Decker tweeted. “I’m extremely happy for you bbgreens5. The Cougars will be a force in the PAC 12 in no time!”
This season, Green built the Aggies into one of the best offensive teams in all of college baseball. They led the country in eight different categories, including batting average, runs, runs per game, hits, triples, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and hit by pitch. Their .356 team batting average and 34 triples are new school records. Despite 38 regular season wins, NMSU was upset in the WAC Tournament by Sacramento State. Still, the team is full of stars and some of them – like Nick Gonzalez, Tristan Peterson and Joey Ortiz – will have the chance to play pro ball.
Green looks forward to bringing similar results to the Cougars.
“Washington State hasn’t had a lot of success, but there is a tremendous history of college baseball,” Green told the Las Cruces Sun News. “There is nowhere to go but up. It’s tough to make massive jumps in the Pac 12, but we will go in and try to do the same thing we did at New Mexico State. Nothing is more exciting than flipping a program around.”
It will be interesting to see how Mario Moccia handles hiring Green’s replacement. This is the first time that he will be hiring a baseball coach since he arrived back in Las Cruces as athletic director. Moccia and Green both played baseball at NMSU, and there will be plenty of excellent candidates interested in the Aggies head coaching position. Two obvious names are NMSU assistant coaches Anthony Claggett and Terry Davis.
Regardless of who takes over the program, Aggies baseball is in a much better position than when Green returned to Las Cruces.
Since 1997, Steve Kaplowitz has hosted “Sportstalk” from 4 to 7 p.m. weekdays on 600 ESPN El Paso. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.