Report: Kent State baseball assistant turns down offer to come to UGA

Scott Stricklin’s top assistant at Kent State will stay at Kent State.

Mike Birkbeck turned down an offer to join Stricklin at Georgia as the Bulldogs’ pitching coach, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.

“Keeping Mike is a relief and a tremendous thing for Kent baseball,” Kent State athletic director Joel Nielsen told the Plain Dealer. “From the moment Scott left for Georgia, our first priority was keeping Mike in whatever role that he felt best.”

Birkbeck has been at Kent State for 17 years and cited family as a major reason for staying. His son is a pitcher at Kent State. The Plain Dealer also said that Birkbeck declined Kent State’s still-vacant head coaching job and signed a five-year contract to remain as pitching coach and associate head coach.

“But Kent is my nerve center,” Birkbeck told the Plain Dealer. “I love it here. Part of the decision [to stay] was about my family, our extended family and our Kent family. That is a big part of life.”

Stricklin has already hired one of his assistants at Kent State. On Tuesday, the program announced that Scott Daeley will join his staff at Georgia as the hitting coach and recruiting coordinator. Daeley had been at Kent State since 2005 and is a former Wake Forest player.

Georgia hired Stricklin last week after he had spent nine seasons at Kent State. Stricklin stands to make between $800,000 to $1 million a season from Georgia, the Plain Dealer reported. Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity has said his base salary is $575,000 annually with a longevity bonus at the end of the six-year contract.

Nielsen also told the Plain Dealer that Georgia will pay a significant amount of Stricklin’s buyout but declined to specify how much. McGarity said last week the schools were still negotiating over the details. Stricklin signed a six-year extension worth about $300,000 a year after leading Kent State to the College World Series in 2012.

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