KENT: Just two hours before the doors opened for the university and community-wide celebration Thursday evening honoring the postseason achievements of the Kent State baseball team, university officials reached a tentative contract agreement with coach Scott Stricklin.
The news was not a surprise — both sides had all but guaranteed a deal was eminent earlier in the week. But it does allow the baseball program to officially move forward in its recruiting as it builds on the excitement generated by the Golden Flashes’ history-making run to the College World Series.
“We expect to do it again,” said Stricklin, 40, of the Flashes’ first CWS appearance during a packed Season of Champions celebration at the KSU Student Center Ballroom. “I’m proud to say I’m staying at Kent State.”
Although details of the extension are still being worked out and might not be finalized for another week or two, extensions for pitching coach Mike Birkbeck and assistant coach Scott Daeley are also in the works in an effort to keep the coaching staff intact for years to come.
Neither Birkbeck nor Daeley were able to be at the special celebration. Both are on the road recruiting.
In addition to Stricklin’s big news, Thursday was a memorable day for junior infielder Nick Hamilton. The son of Indians radio play-by-play man Tom Hamilton signed with the Tribe after becoming the team’s 35th-round draft pick earlier in the month.
“I waited until after the College Word Series to start thinking about it,” said Hamilton, a double major in business management and finance with a minor in marketing. “I went back and forth on it a little bit, but a lot of it had to do with me being so close to finishing up my major and I’m only a year away total. Luckily, I was able to make a choice where I’m able to take care of my education and follow my dream of playing pro ball.”
Former Flashes basketball player Justin Greene worked out for the Cavaliers on the eve of the NBA Draft on Wednesday.
“It was fun, went really well,” said the 6-foot-8, 230-pound Greene, the 11th KSU player in the past 10 years to work out for an NBA team or participate in a pre-draft event. “I thought I held my own against some other pretty talented players and that gives me confidence as I look to continue my basketball career.”
What the next step will be for Greene will begin to take shape following Thursday’s draft. Greene, the Mid-American Conference Player of the Year as a junior, ranks fourth all time at KSU with 1,545 career points and second with 814 rebounds and 120 blocks. He is not likely to be drafted, but still has plenty of options, including playing overseas.
Track and field
Kent State graduates Kim Kreiner and Kim Hamilton have their sights set on London this summer. They are two of just 24 track and field athletes competing today for a spot on the 2012 U.S. Olympic team during the women’s javelin preliminary at the University of Oregon.
Kreiner, an Akron native, is a 2000 KSU graduate and is hoping to return to the Olympics after representing the U.S. in 2004 in Sydney and 2008 in Beijing.
Stephanie Storm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Aeros blog at http://www.ohio.com/aeros. Follow her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SStormABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.