Tulane turned to college baseball’s most prolific private school to find its next coach.
Vanderbilt associate head coach Travis Jewett has an agreement in principle to replace David Pierce at the helm of the Green Wave baseball program, though no contract has been formally signed, sources confirmed to The Advocate on Friday night.
Pierce left Tulane for Texas on June 28, forcing Green Wave athletic director Troy Dannen to lead a coaching search. During that search, he spoke with a pair of Tulane alumni and local standouts — LSU assistant Andy Cannizaro and Southeastern Louisiana head coach Matt Riser — before choosing Jewett.
Tulane sources expected Jewett to be introduced at a news conference Monday or Tuesday. Jewett interviewed for the position and visited the Green Wave’s facilities Thursday.
Tulane officials could not confirm the decision Friday night.
This will be Jewett’s first head coach position since 1998, when he was named Junior College Coach of the Year at Edmonds (Washington) Community College.
Since then, the hitting coach and recruiting coordinator has been an assistant at a variety of spots, most notably for the past four seasons at Vanderbilt. Jewett served under coach Tim Corbin, helping the Commodores to a pair of College World Series appearances, including the 2014 national championship.
Under Jewett’s tutelage, Vanderbilt’s offense swelled to nearly historic levels for the program. In 2015, the Commodores smashed 69 home runs (the school’s most since 1998) and hit .290.
Jewett also helped reel in a series of highly rated recruiting classes at the Southeastern Conference’s only private school, becoming a mainstay in the first few rounds of the Major League Baseball draft. Multiple sources within the coaching industry described Jewett as having a “big personality” who is known as an excellent recruiter and is well connected with the upper levels of MLB.
But industry sources noted that recruiting at Vanderbilt and at Tulane are different, given the amount of financial aid available from the university.
Before joining Corbin, Jewett spent 10 seasons as an assistant at western schools, starting with three years at Gonzaga, then three more at Washington, before a five-year tenure at Washington State. His final Pac-12 stint was as associate head coach at Arizona State from 2010-12.
Both Riser and Cannizaro were favorites locally and interviewed on Wednesday.
Cannizaro gained attention and affection throughout the state for his All-America play as the Green Wave’s shortstop from 1998-2001, as well as his work in building LSU’s hitting as an assistant coach for the past two seasons. Riser was a Green Wave captain in 2006 and became the nation’s youngest Division I head coach three years ago, before earning two NCAA tournament berths with the Lions.