Notre Dame baseball coach Link Jarrett may be sought-after once this season ends
The deeper a college baseball team ventures through postseason, the more distractions can become, well, distractions.
A potential big one surfaced for Notre Dame about three hours before Friday's super-regional opener against top-seeded Tennessee. That's when a fellow Atlantic Coast Conference school, Florida State, announced that head coach Mike Martin, Jr., would not return for a fourth season.
Martin went 34-25 this season, 77-54 over three.
The ties that third-year Irish head coach Link Jarrett has to that team and that town run deep.
The 50-year-old Jarrett was born in Tallahassee, Florida. He attended Florida State, and was a shortstop on a Seminoles team that advanced to three College World Series during his playing days. He served as an assistant coach for legendary Seminoles head coach Mike Martin. While in college. Jarrett roomed with Martin's son, Mike.
It's natural, and maybe too easy, to draw the conclusion that Jarrett would certainly be on Florida State's short list. Maybe the only one on that list.
Following Friday's 8-6 victory by Notre Dame, which pushed the Irish to within one win of their second College World Series in program history, Jarrett was asked how he addressed the Florida State situation with his squad.
"I mentioned it (to the team) today. I said, 'I love you guys. We're here to win this. I'm not talking about this coaching stuff," Jarrett said. "I'm talking about Notre Dame and the University of Tennessee,' and that goes in here, too. There are distractions. That's a unique one, and I wanted them to know that because it is out there."
It's out there, and Jarrett planned to leave it out there, for however long he remains the Notre Dame coach. This week, next week, next month.
"I have no idea what's going on down there," he said. " That coach (Mike Martin Jr) was my roommate and a good friend of mine. My focus is 100% on this and this team and trying to find a way to win one of these last two games. That's it."
That's it, at least for now. But whenever the Notre Dame season ends, Jarrett's name will likely be, sorry, linked to other job openings.
No team has a better win percentage in the ACC the last two seasons than Notre Dame (.734, 80-24). The Irish are in the super regionals for the second straight season for the first time in school history. Only one team — ironically, Tennessee — has a better win percentage the last two seasons than Notre Dame.
"I love the way these guys play," Jarrett said.
A lot of what Notre Dame has accomplished the last two years are because of Jarrett, the 2021 ACC coach of the year. He's won where a lot of people said you can't win. Will he continue to do so next season? The following season?
Follow South Bend Tribune and NDInsider columnist Tom Noie on Twitter: @tnoieNDI. Contact: (574) 235-6153.