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Originally published July 27, 2009 at 2:25 PM | Page modified July 27, 2009 at 9:16 PM

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Familiar situation for new Washington baseball coach Lindsay Meggs

Former Indiana State coach also followed a longtime coach at his previous job.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Lindsay Meggs has stepped into this shadow before. Three years ago, Indiana State hired Meggs to replace the most successful baseball coach in school history, an institution whose final years had faded into mediocrity.

So as Meggs spoke to the Washington players Monday morning, less than 24 hours after accepting the job as the Huskies' coach, Meggs could confidently say, "I've been through this."

At Washington, Meggs replaces Ken Knutson, who won the most games in Washington history with a record of 584-399-2 in 17 seasons. But the Huskies had not finished above .500 in the Pac-10 since 2004, and Knutson was fired June 22. Washington's search for a replacement reportedly included offers to Virginia Tech coach Pete Hughes and San Diego coach Rich Hill before ending with Meggs, who last season was named the Missouri Valley Conference coach of the year.

"We found a guy who I think is a treasure," Washington athletic director Scott Woodward said.

The revival Meggs led at Indiana State, where he replaced Bob Warn, helped the university break ground on a new baseball stadium in May. Washington has similar hopes to build permanent grandstands at Husky Ballpark.

"Part of that is on coach," Woodward said. "He has to win ballgames and get our fan base excited, and I told him I would be a partner with him in doing that."

Meggs, 46, went 77-79 in his three years at Indiana State; he was 33-21 in his most recent season and Indiana State finished second in the MVC. Before he went to Indiana State, Meggs coached for 13 seasons at Chico State, where he won two NCAA Division II championships, made the D-II World Series seven times and was selected as the national Division II coach of the year twice. A UCLA graduate, he had spent his entire career coaching in California before taking the Indiana State job in 2006.

"We really felt like there wasn't a whole lot left to do there," Meggs said. "My goal is to get to Omaha" — home of the Division I College World Series — "and it wasn't going to happen through Chico."

Meggs met with returning Washington players and held a conference call with the Huskies' incoming freshmen Monday morning. He said he is quickly assembling a coaching staff, and he hopes to add at least one assistant coach from the Northwest to assist in recruiting the region.

Most baseball prospects are recruited during the summer and sign in the fall, so Meggs will have to make up lost time.

"I would love to get out of this coat and tie, and get a uniform on," Meggs said.

Tom Wyrwich: 206-515-5653 or twyrwich@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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