Walla Walla product interim coach for Ala. A & M

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Former Walla Walla Community College and DeSales baseball star Michael Tompkins has been named the interim head baseball coach at NCAA Division I Alabama A & M University, the school announced Thursday.

Tompkins, an assistant coach at the school for the past year-and-a-half, replaces Ed McCann, who resigned Wednesday after one season due to health reasons. He played for McCann for two campaigns at Centenary before the two reunited at Alabama A & M.

"I didn't think it (being named head coach) would happen at 24 (years of age)," Tompkins said in a phone interview from the annual American Baseball Coaches Association convention in Anaheim, Calif. "We brought in a lot of kids from the (Huntsville) area. Our expectation is to do the best we can and win a title."

Tompkins' optimism comes despite a 2011 season in which the Bulldogs struggled to a 10-37 overall record and a 6-18 mark in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

"We're relishing the opportunity to show what the team is capable of and showing the administration what we've done," Tompkins said. "I'm looking forward to being there for several years."

During the local portion of his playing career, Tompkins helped lead WWCC to its last NWAACC tournament appearance in 2007 and was a part of four Class 2B state championship teams while at DeSales.

The interview process for Alabama A & M's head coaching position will unfold at the end of the season, Tompkins said.

The Bulldogs open 2012 against Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne on Feb. 17.

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