ST. GEORGE – Dixie State College head baseball coach Mike Littlewood is getting a second chance at snagging his dream job.
Littlewood, who led the Red Storm to its first-ever NCAA West Regional appearance this season, will interview Thursday morning for the vacant Brigham Young University head coaching position.
Thirteen years ago, Littlewood was a finalist for the same job, but was passed over when the Cougars administration chose Vance Law.
In the interim, Littlewood won a junior college national championship at Dixie State (2004) and placed second in 2001 while amassing a 502-229 record (a .687 winning percentage). The veteran coach, known for running a disciplined program, guided Dixie State into its new era as an NCAA Division II program.
“It’s no secret that I’ve applied,” Littlewood said. “My athletic director knows, my players know. President (Stephen) Nadauld was even nice enough to be one of my references.”
Law was let go by BYU after compiling a 397-348 (.533) record. The Cougars recently joined the West Coast Conference, but struggled mightily in the new league. BYU was just 22-27 in 2012 and finished in seventh place in the WCC.
“I think you can win at the highest level at BYU,” Littlewood said. “There are a lot of great athletes who want to play there. I feel like if I put the time in, it is possible to be a great program. Just look at Stony Brook and Kent State and St. John’s. They are all cold weather schools with a lot of disadvantages. But they are playing at the highest level of Division I.”
One caveat in the whole affair is Littlewood’s “other” job. The 45-year old has found great success as a Division I college basketball referee, even officiating Final Four games in recent years. Would that end with a BYU job?
“I really don’t know,” he said. “If BYU wants me to, I will give it up. There’s a lot up in the air right now. If they are willing to commit to me, I would let that go.”
Littlewood, who played at BYU in the mid-1980s, said the Cougars administration has told him the decision would be made in a matter of weeks, not months.
“We’re out recruiting, looking for Division II kids for Dixie State, but thinking in the back of my mind ‘What if?’ for the BYU-type players,” he said. “Last time they drug it out a long time. I don’t think they will do that this time.”
Littlewood also coached the minor league Zion Pioneerzz to the Western Baseball League championship in 2001.
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Copyright 2012 St. George News.