HOUSTON - TCU pitching coach Kirk Saarloos is a candidate to become the next head baseball coach at Rice.
According to college baseball sources, Rice received permission from TCU to interview Saarloos.
Saarloos joined the Horned Frogs staff as pitching coach in 2012 after two seasons in the same position with Cal State Fullerton, where he played college baseball.
A year later Saarloos added the title of recruiting coordinator.
On Saarloos’ watch TCU led the nation in ERA (2.22) in 2014.
He was the D1Baseball.com National Assistant of the Year in 2016.
Saarloos has helped head coach Jim Schlossnagle lead the Horned Frogs to the College World Series the last four years.
Schlossnagle has high praise for Saarloos in an interview on the TCU website.
“Kirk is one of the most talented coaches that I have been around,” Schlossnagle said. “He is ridiculously intelligent and knowledgeable in all areas of pitching, but at the same time is constantly looking to learn more and improve.
“Obviously, his playing career provided him the opportunity to compete at the Major League level for (seven) years, and that experience really helps all of our players, not just our pitchers.”
Saarloos pitched for the Houston Astros for two years, 2002-03.
Saarloos was one of six Astros pitchers who combined to no-hit the Yankees in the Bronx on June 11, 2003.
Rice is replacing Wayne Graham who was not offered a contract extension.
A source with knowledge of the process said Rice would like to complete its search by the time the College World Series opens, which is June 16.
Rice officials have not been available for comment.