Former LSU slugger Blake Dean named interim baseball coach at UNO _lowres

Photo provided by UNO athletics -- Blake Dean

UNO decided to stick to whom it knows when it came to replacing former baseball coach Ron Maestri.

After naming Blake Dean the team’s interim coach following Maestri’s decision to retire at the end of the 2015 season, UNO decided to remove the interim tag and make the 27-year-old the team’s full-time head coach Monday, several outlets reported.

Late Monday night, UNO announced it would hold a 1 p.m. Tuesday news conference to introduce its new coach. WDSU’s Fletcher Mackel was the first to report Dean landed the job.

Dean, an outfielder for LSU’s College World Series champion team in 2009, spent the previous two seasons as the Privateers’ hitting coach, and 2015 was Dean’s first year as a full-time assistant under Maestri. He was a volunteer assistant in 2014.

“I understand the administration has to do their job and find the best candidate for the job,” Dean said in May after he was announced as interim coach. “Of course, my ultimate goal is to become a head coach, and I would love to do it here.”

LSU assistant Will Davis also interviewed for the job. D1Baseball.com reported Alabama State’s Mervyl Melendez turned down the job.

Dean, just five years removed from his playing days with the Tigers, will become one of the youngest coaches in college baseball.

He finished his playing career with the second-most total bases (575), RBIs (260) and hits (332) in LSU history. He ranked third in doubles (63) and fourth in home runs (56) and runs (223).

The Privateers finished 2015 with a 14-40 record and were a combined 25-78 over the past two seasons in Maestri’s second stint head coach. The past two seasons were Maestri’s first losing campaigns as a head coach after he lifted the Privateers to prominence from 1972-85.