Kaline's grandson to coach at Oakland University

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Florida Southern assistant coach Colin Kaline talks with his grandfather, Al Kaline, during spring training in Lakeland, Florida.

Oakland University baseball is set to become a rare Division I program to name co-head coaches, and one of them will be Colin Kaline, the 27-year-old grandson of legendary Tigers Hall-of-Famer Al Kaline, according to a source with knowledge of the hirings.

The source requested anonymity because the contracts aren't yet finalized. They are expected to be finalized within the next two or three days.

Kaline will be a co-head coach along with 28-year-old Jacke Healey, who has served as Oakland's interim head coach since John Musachio was informed last month his contract wasn't being renewed.

"The administration within the athletic department is still in the process of selecting and finalizing a coach," Healey said in a text message to The Detroit News. "That's really all I know."

Musachio was head coach for nine seasons, and had a 169-294 record. His best season was 2012, when OU was 15-6 in the Summit League for a runner-up finish. He never had a winning overall record for a season.

Colin Kaline declined to comment when reached by The Detroit News.

Kaline comes back to Metro Detroit after spending the past two seasons as an assistant at Florida Southern College, in Lakeland, Florida, where he played his four-year college career.

He was a 26th-round pick by the Tigers in 2011 and played two years in the organization before joining the Gulf Coast League Tigers rookie-ball coaching staff.

The Tigers also drafted him in the 25th round out of Birmingham Groves High School, where, as a senior, he batted .535 with just three strikeouts in 187 at-bats.

He chose to go to Florida Southern, where he led the team in walks his last three seasons, batting .287 his senior year.
The Kaline name would bring instant cache to a program that's never won a league championship since joining the ranks of Division I.

It should help in recruiting, especially if Al Kaline would be willing to become a volunteer assistant, which would allow him to talk to recruits, too.

Healey has been on Oakland's staff since fall of 2013, working primarily with infielders and hitters — similar to Kaline's role at Florida Southern.

His first season, he was credited with helping the Golden Grizzlies raise their batting average more than 30 points, his biggest success being Robby Enslen, who hit .378 with 38 RBIs and was named Oakland's first all-region selection since 2000.

Healey came to Oakland from the University of Pittsburgh, where he spent one season on staff, when Pitt won a school-record 42 games largely behind a dynamic offense.

Like Kaline, he also played two seasons of professional baseball, after being drafted in the 27th round by the Houston Astros. That came after a fine two-year run at Youngstown State, where he holds single-season records for homers (12), RBIs (59) and runs (63), after two years at Potomac State College in West Virginia.

Naming co-head coaches is extremely rare, and folks at Oakland aren't sure if it's ever been done in a Division I setting. There are sure to be some growing pains, like figuring out who'll make the in-game calls, like whether to steal or whether to change pitchers.

But Oakland has time to figure things out, given it's been since 1997, or 19 years, since it's had a winning overall record.

With two co-head coaches, the baseball program is likely to carry on with one less assistant. Kaline and Healey are expected to agree to terms on contracts worth between $50,000 and $60,000 per season, according to the source.

tpaul@detroitnews.com
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