This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The news wasn't all that surprising, but BYU's timing certainly was. Late Friday night, the school announced that baseball coach Vance Law will not have his contract renewed for next season. Law's final game will be Saturday, May 26, when the Cougars play host to Gonzaga at Miller Field in the West Coast Conference regular-season finale. Law is 397-347-2 at BYU's head coach over a 13-year span. Law's situation was known to be tenuous entering the season, and it was believed that he needed a strong campaign after several subpar seasons at the helm. BYU's baseball program has performed worse than any other athletic program at the school, at least in the last half-dozen or so years under Law. The Cougars were blown out 13-1 by Gonzaga on Friday night, dropping to 10-13 in WCC play, 22-26 overall. Law has had to suspend several players this season for disciplinary reasons, and some costly injuries have also led to the lackluster season. Athletic director Tom Holmoe said assistant coaches Ryan Roberts and Wally Ritchie "will take over the program in the interim" while the school conducts a national search for a new head coach. BYU has not won a conference title since 2001, although it finished in second place in the Mountain West Conference four times under Law. He coached four All-Americans. BYU won the MWC tournament in 2002, the last time that it made the NCAA Tournament. Perhaps the leading candidate to succeed Law will be Dixie State College head coach Mike Littlewood, a former BYU baseball star. However, Liittlewood is also a high-level college basketball referee, and that most likely would not be able to continue that pursuit as head coach at a Division I baseball school. Salt Lake Community College coach D.G. Nelson is also a former BYU baseball standout, and will surely see some consideration as well. Like Littlewood, Nelson is also a college basketball referee.