Scott Foxhall is moving on after four seasons as NC State’s pitching coach. The 22-year veteran coach will join new Mississippi State coach Chris Lemonis, who was hired by the Bulldogs after a successful stint at Indiana. Foxhall is familiar with the SEC, having served in the capacity of pitching coach at Auburn.
Whether it was warranted or not, Foxhall often seemed to serve as a scapegoat for fans of the Pack 9 as State disappointed in the postseason under his and Elliott Avent’s direction. While Foxhall struggled to keep a healthy and effective weekend rotation in his time in Raleigh, his staffs did post some impressive numbers. State finished second in ERA in the ACC twice in his four years, and Foxhall’s first season saw the Pack hurlers lead the nation in hits allowed per nine innings while finishing second in strikeouts. That staff had the 15th best ERA in the nation, and the 2018 team ERA was 33rd nationally.
Ten of Foxhall’s pitchers have been drafted in just four seasons, and Brian Brown and Reid Johnston earned freshman All-American honors under his tutelage. Brown went on to garner ACC Pitcher of the Year honors as a senior. In all, Foxhall has seen 45 pitchers drafted in 22 seasons. He was known as an excellent recruiter at Auburn and that continued at NC State, where he helped lure MLB prospects like Dalton Feeney to campus rather than pro ball.
Foxhall’s voluntary departure has to fuel speculation about Avent’s future in Raleigh. Unless there are auto-renewals built in to Avent’s contract for making the NCAA tournament—and I don’t believe that to be the case—2018 should have been the last year on his deal, yet there has been no news about whether he will be returning to Raleigh for a 23 rd season in the dugout. With August approaching, it’s awfully late to begin a coaching search, though if Avent isn’t going to be retained, one has likely been ongoing already for months. The most likely outcome is a short extension that will carry Avent into the tenure of the next AD, as Dr. Debbie Yow has made public her intent to retire in July of 2019. The one thing that is certain: if Avent is back in 2019, he’ll have a new pitching coach.
UPDATE: Thank you to Senior Associate AD Fred Demarest for reaching out to BTP and noting that Avent’s original contract did in fact expire in 2018, BUT a year was tacked on back in 2016. Thus, Avent’s deal did not expire after this season. He’ll definitely be back for one more year in the dugout. Now we can spend our speculative thoughts on whether having just one year left on his deal will hamper him in his search for a new pitching coach; and we can wonder if he and Dr. Yow will both ride off into the sunset next summer.