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Committee aims to fill vacant post by mid-July

Although the College World Series is nearing its conclusion, Duke’s search for a new baseball coach is just heating up.

The search committee, which had hoped to have a new head coach in place by July 1, has been forced to push back its target date but has made progress, said Chris Kennedy, the senior associate athletic director and chair of the committee.

“It’s going well,” Kennedy said. “This is a tough time of year to hire somebody with a committee because people on the committee keep leaving town.”

The committee, comprised of athletic administrators, former players and faculty members, is looking for a replacement for former head coach Bill Hillier, who resigned May 25.

More than 100 applicants contacted the athletic department about the job opening, Kennedy said, and the pool has been narrowed to six or seven finalists. He expected interviews to begin some time next week and still hopes to have a candidate in place by July 15.

“I’d kind of heard they were looking toward the middle of the month,” senior Adam Murray said. “Obviously the sooner the better not only for recruiting purposes, but also for the current guys on the team.”

Kennedy said he has already received approval from the athletic directors at the candidates’ respective schools about contacting the coaches for interviews.

The committee is seeking a replacement who will be able to recruit effectively, cultivate talent, stress academics and promote an environment in which the student-athletes will mature. These same qualities have been at the heart of the search since its outset, and Kennedy said the finalists are men who exhibit these traits.

“When a high school recruit is looking at this situation we want a coach that gives them confidence to get better,” Kennedy said. He added that the committee is looking for a candidate that will prepare players for the major-league level.

Duke finished 14-39 this past season and failed to win a single road game.

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