TCU pitching coach and lead recruiter Kirk Saarloos is a candidate for the head job at Rice, according to a report from a Houston television station.
Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston reported an unnamed source at Rice said the Owls would prefer to complete their search before the College World Series begins on June 16.
Saarloos, who turned 39 last week, has been with TCU since 2012. He has been the recruiting coordinator since 2014. He's helped TCU pull in top 20 recruiting classes, including the No. 5 in 2016 and No. 14 in 2017, according to BaseballAmerica.com.
TCU has been among the nation's earned-run average leaders under Saarloos, including 24th in 2018, 16th in 2016, tied for 2nd in 2015 and No. 1 in 2014.
The Saarloos news just days after TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle acknowledged that he's a candidate for the head job at Mississippi State. Saarloos would figure to be the leading candidate to take over at TCU if Schlossnagle left.
Wayne Graham, 82, has been at Rice since 1992 and is the Owls' all-time winningest coach with over 1,170 wins and 21 conference titles. It was announced in April that Rice was not renewing his contract.
Graham led Rice to seven College World Series, including a CWS title in 2003. The Owls last reached the CWS in 2008. Rice did not earn a postseason berth in 2018 after 23 consecutive trips since 1995.
Graham was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012.