assistant coach

Mario Sategna, a longtime assistant coach for Texas men’s Track and Field, was named the head of Texas’ newly formed combined track and field program

“Mario is a great fit as we make the transition to combine our men’s and women’s programs” said men's athletics director Deloss Dodds on the decision. “We compiled a comprehensive list of potential candidates and after considering them all, are convinced Mario is the best choice for The University of Texas. He presented a great plan for the program going forward, is clearly very excited about the opportunity and is the right person for the job.”

Satenga quickly announced the program hired a new associate head coach in Tonja Buford-Bailey, who specializes in sprint, hurdles and relays. Sategna spoke highly of Buford-Bailey and asserts that she should be able to help both sprint teams be in position to compete for the top spot late at the NCAA Championships.

“She is a proven winner at the highest level. She is a former Olympic medalist in the hurdles as well as a World Championship team member,” Sategna said. “She is going to come in here and do some wonderful things. It will be great to build upon the strengths of Texas on the men’s and women’s side. I am very excited.”

With Sategna on the coaching staff, the Longhorns have finished in the top 10 in the NCAA indoor or outdoor championships 13 times. In the 2013 Outdoor Championship, two players he helped coach in field events won national titles, bringing his coaching total to 11 NCAA titles between seven athletes since 2003-2004.

The men’s team finished No. 3 in 2008, its highest finish ever, and in 2006 the outdoor team came in at No. 3. Sategna said he realized that after hiring the coach for sprints, continuing Texas’ high reputation in distance runs will be of the utmost importance if the Longhorns are to make a run at a team title.

“My number one thing that I wanted to do is come in and continue to build upon the strengths we’ve had and the distance has been a mainstay,” Sategna said. “We don’t ever want to get away from the things that made us great. We just need to add to those so that we can push for the limit and light the tower.”

Sategna will try to build off of a No. 6 finish at the men’s outdoor NCAA Championship and No. 15 finish at the women’s outdoor NCAA Championships and bounce back from a disappointing finish in the indoor championships with the 2014 NCAA Track and Field season beginning in September. 

Junior Taylor Thom signals an out to a teammate in left field during the Longhorns’ loss to rival OU in Sunday’s game. Thom went four for eight in the three game series tallying four RBIs. The infielder is now tied for second in program history for RBIs in a single season, with 50.

Photo Credit: Shweta Gulati | Daily Texan Staff

The No. 6 Longhorns dropped two of three to the No. 1 Sooners at packed Red and Charline McComb’s field this weekend.

After losing the opener 6-1, the Longhorns bounced back on Saturday to even the series with a 4-2 win, which left the series to be decided in the rubber match Sunday.

After playing with fire and getting through the first four innings of that rubber match with just two runs given, Blaire Luna finally allowed the big hit. With the Sooners up 2-1 in the fifth, Brittany Williams delivered the back-breaking two-out, two-run double to break the game open. One inning later, Shelby Pendley added her second homer of the game to take the air out of the crowd.

With a four-run lead and last year’s player of the year Keilani Ricketts dealing, it looked as though the game and the series were over.

But that’s not the way the Longhorns saw it.

“Our team gathered some momentum late in the game,” assistant coach Corrie Hill said. “The spark in our dugout was great. The chatter was great. There was talk about comebacks we had in the past.”

After one run in the sixth, the Longhorns staged a furious rally in the seventh against arguably the game’s best pitcher. Karina Scott got hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and Kim Bruins followed that with a single. After a fielder’s choice, Torie Schmidt singled in a run, cutting the deficit to two and chasing Ricketts for Michelle Gascoigne.

Pinch hitter Erin Shireman walked to load the bases for the team’s best hitter — Taylor Hoagland.

The players got out of the dugout and began leading the crowd in Texas Fight. The crowd was back into the game.

With a full count, Hoagland saw a pitched she liked, jumped on it and just missed.

“I have hit that ball 7 million times, and this time it wasn’t in my favor,” Hoagland said. “It’s an awful feeling, similar to that last year against Oregon.”

That left it all up to Brejae Washington.

But she struck out to the end the game in disappointing fashion.

“It’s always disappointing to lose a game like that,” Hoagland said. “But we can only learn from it.”

The loss sends the Longhorns to 39-6 overall and 9-2 in conference. Oklahoma has a full game lead in the division and owns the tiebreaker now, making it very difficult for the Longhorns to claim their first Big 12 championship since 2010.

However, the loss doesn’t crush the hopes for the Longhorns as they still plan on playing deep into the year.

“We plan on being in Oklahoma City for the World Series, standing right next to Oklahoma,” assistant coach Corrie Hill said.

Running back Malcolm Brown handles the ball at spring practice.  Brown will be guided in part by running backs Larry Porter, who brings seasoned experience to his first year at Texas.  

Photo Credit: Lawrence Peart | Daily Texan Staff

It was Darrell K Royal who said a football coach is nothing more than a teacher.

Lessons won’t be in short supply for Texas after a string of promotions, hires and new positions in its coaching staff. Among those with new job titles are co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Major Applewhite, co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach Darrell Wyatt and assistant coach/running backs coach Larry Porter.

The relevancy of their brag-worthy resumes is undeniable. But the burning question is what the impact of those changes in staff will be on the Longhorns.  

After taking the reins just before the Valero Alamo Bowl, Applewhite will have a bit more time this spring to get a handle on things, particularly the up-tempo offense head coach Mack Brown has been emphasizing. Applewhite is more suited to the quick offensive strategy than former co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin, Brown said at a press conference before the start of spring practice.

“I think it’s probably easier for Major to do it, because it had not been a huge part of Bryan’s background and it’s been what Major likes and what he does and it’s been what Darrell Wyatt likes,” Brown said.  

Applewhite will bring his expertise as a former Longhorn quarterback to implement the up-tempo offense and smooth any rumples as the team adjusts to the strategy.  

Like Applewhite, Wyatt also received his promotion just before the Alamo Bowl. He has worked with Texas wide receivers since his hire in January 2011, with two of them, Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley, posting more than 50 receptions.  

Wyatt has a history of getting results. As co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach at Kansas in 2010, Wyatt helped rebuild a team that had lost a quarterback and two wide receivers. He also guided the University of Southern Mississippi to a school record of 428 points in 2009. 

“Texas is the type of place where the sky’s the limit on what you can accomplish,” Wyatt said in a press conference following his hire. “The level of expectations are extremely high and that’s something I will definitely embrace.” 

With returners Davis and Shipley, plus the additions of Jake Oliver, Jacorey Warrick and Montrel Meander, Wyatt has an impressive batch on his hands, and his vision and determination could help propel Texas’ wide receivers to smoother play in the up-tempo offense.  

For Porter, burnt orange is a new color. 

The assistant coach/running backs coach embarks upon his first season at Texas after being hired in January. After graduating from Memphis as a four-year letterer, Porter had coaching stints at Arizona State, LSU, Oklahoma State as well as his alma mater. The running game of his Sun Devils ranked 24th in the nation last season. Four of his running backs were selected in the first three rounds of the NFL draft in three years, from 2004 to 2007. 

“He brings a wealth of experience and has a reputation as one of the best coaches and recruiters in our game,” Brown said after Porter’s hire.  

Porter’s expertise in developing players could be just what the Longhorns need to capitalize on a strong group of backs that has tremendous potential. With the influx of an up-tempo offense, the speed of Malcolm Brown, Johnathan Gray and Daje Johnson will surely be utilized.

The impacts of these new coaching positions will unmask themselves as play begins to pan out, but for now, Texas coaches have plenty to teach. And the Longhorns have plenty to learn.

Published on March 6, 2013 as "Coaching shifts impact play". 

Men's Cross Country

If Texas continues the trend set by assistant coach John Hayes, a Big 12 Championship should be more or less guaranteed for the next cross-country season.

Since coach John Hayes’s arrival with the team in 2009, Texas has upgraded sequentially in the conference meet each season — fifth in 2009, fourth in 2010, third in 2011, second in 2012 this past Saturday and if the trend continues, first in 2013.

“We didn’t accomplish what our goal was, but it was a solid performance, just wasn’t quite what we were looking for. When OSU made a move, psychologically that gets in guys’ heads and we weren’t able to cover that move like I thought we should have been able to,” Hayes said.

Although the Longhorns were not able to secure a first place victory, they managed to cause an upset in their defeat of Oklahoma. Yet many of the Longhorn runners expressed they were not completely satisfied with their performance and with the fact that Oklahoma State was able to pull off the win for the fifth consecutive season.

“We still have yet to have a meet where we have everybody running 100 percent, and [OSU] put in a stronger move than we were prepared to cover,” sophomore Craig Lutz said. “All in all they are probably a better 8k team, but when the championship stuff moves to a 10k, we’re going to have a better shot,”

The Longhorns look hopeful for the future as they prepare for the NCAA South Central Regional Championships on Friday, Nov. 9.

Although Texas placed fifth out of 31 teams in the Greater Louisville Classic this past Saturday, assistant coach John Hayes said that their main objective was not necessarily to win.

“It is important that we are out there and we get a sense of what we will see in two months [at nationals] ... That’s the whole purpose of going — we are not going to worry about the results,” Hayes said.

The fifth place finish was earned with two of Texas’s top runners, Kyle Merber and Ryan Dohner, resting on the sidelines.

Despite finishing fifth, the Greater Louisville Classic was a race of firsts for the Longhorns. For the first time in his collegiate career, Craig Lutz, who finished 22nd overall, didn’t lead the team in a race; instead, it was Rory Tunningley leading the Longhorns, surpassing his personal best in the 8k for an 11th place finish. Additionally, Trevor Van Ackeren ran in his first cross-country race since the 2009 season and managed to take home a 49th place finish. Finally sophomore Blake Williams pulled off an 85th place finish in his debut as a Longhorn.

Longhorns hire new hitting coach

After declining to renew Tommy Harmon's contract, Texas announced on Friday that former volunteer assistant coach Tommy Nicholson has been hired as new hitting coach and recruiting coordinator.

 

A three-year letterwinner at UT, Nicholson had previously served as an assistant at Sacramento State.

 

"Tommy will be our recruiting coordinator and is a very bright guy," said head coach Augie Garrido, whose Longhorns failed t o make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998. "He will build a network on a national level as well as the state."

 

Finding, and nabbing high-profile players wasn't a problem for Harmon, but high selections kept many of those players from actually getting to campus. To wit: Dylan Bundy (4th overall), Blake Swihart (26th) and Josh Bell (61), among others, spurned the Longhorns for professional riches in 2011, decimating what was previously ranked as the top recruiting class in the nation.

 

The 11.7 scholarships allotted to teams in college baseball means each team must capitalize on each scholarship offered. If a player -- Josh Bell, for instance -- informs Texas in August of the coming school year that he'll be playing pro ball instead, the team is left scrambling.

 

Reinforcements -- other options, in case a signee forgoes college -- are in place, but by that late period in time, most have already signed with another school.

 

"He and [pitching coach] Skip Johnson will be dynamic recruiters," Garrido said.

 

When Harmon was at his best, it wasn't because he was signing the top kids in the state -- the Texas brand can do that on its own. It was when he was unearthing diamonds-in-the-rough, then developing them. Texas' best hitter the last two years, Erich Weiss, wasn't drafted out of Brenham High School but will likely be a first- or second-round pick in next summer's MLB Draft. Credit Harmon for that find.

 

Sacramento State hit .298 as a team last year. The Longhorns hit 263. Improvement would be welcomed in that regard. But Texas is never, with the exception of 2010, going to be a heavy-hitting team. Offensive philosophy falls under Garrido's hands, anyways.

 

What Texas needs Nicholson to be, most of all, is an ace recruiter.

 

Here's the full press release, courtesy of the UT Athletics department:

AUSTIN, Texas – Tommy Nicholson, a three-year letterwinner and former volunteer assistant coach with the Longhorns, has been named assistant baseball coach at The University of Texas, head coach Augie Garrido announced today. 


“I’m really excited to be able to put the Longhorn uniform on again,” said Nicholson. “I’m excited to come back to Austin, a city that I loved. I loved my time coaching and playing there and can’t wait to get back.”

Nicholson spent the last two seasons (2011-12) as an assistant coach at Sacramento State, serving as the team’s infield and hitting coach. In 2012, the Hornets batted .298 as a team with 30 home runs. Nicholson helped outfielder Rhys Hoskins earn freshman All-America honors this past season, as Hoskins hit .353 with 10 home runs, 44 runs scored and 53 RBI.

After compiling a 19-39 mark in 2011, Sacramento State improved its win total by 12 and registered a 31-28 record in 2012. Under Nicholson’s direction, the Hornets finished the 2012 season with a school single-season record .979 fielding percentage. Sacramento State committed just 47 errors in 59 games this past season. The 2011 squad finished with a .969 fielding mark, the third-best in school history.

“Tommy will be our recruiting coordinator and he is a very bright guy,” said Garrido. “He will quickly build a network on a national level as well as the state of Texas with (UT assistant coach) Skip (Johnson). The two of them will be dynamic recruiters. In addition to that, in one year at Sacramento State, he improved their batting average to .298 as the hitting coach. That was 50 points higher than the year before. Defensively, our fans should remember when he was here as the volunteer coach, our team in 2010 led the nation with a .980 fielding percentage. This year, his Sacramento State team finished tied for fifth nationally in fielding percentage. He has a magical touch everywhere he goes, and that’s been the case since his days in high school. He is a very unique person and one of the young coaching geniuses in this country.”

Prior to his stint at Sacramento State, Nicholson spent two seasons (2009-10) as a volunteer assistant coach at Texas where he worked with the infielders while serving as the first base coach for the Longhorns. The Longhorns posted a 50-16-1 mark and finished as runner-up at the College World Series in 2009, before registering a 50-13 record and advancing to NCAA Super Regional play in 2010. The Longhorns batted .286 in 2010 with 87 stolen bases and recorded a .980 fielding percentage, while the 2009 squad batted .288 as a team with 74 stolen bases and boasted a .976 fielding clip.

Nicholson was selected in the 11th round of the 2000 Major League Baseball draft by the Chicago White Sox. He reached the AAA level during his professional playing career from 2000-05 during his time with Chicago and the Colorado Rockies.

For his collegiate playing career, he missed only three starts as a second baseman during his three seasons (1998-2000) at Texas. Nicholson compiled a .327 career average at UT with 147 runs scored, 223 hits, 37 doubles, four triples, nine home runs, 114 RBI and 20 stolen bases. He was named the team’s most valuable player in 1999 and 2000.

Nicholson was an integral part of UT’s College World Series squad as a junior in 2000. He hit a team-best .500 (4-for-8) during CWS play in Omaha. He was named to the NCAA Tempe Regional All-Tournament team and ranked as the top fielding (.974) and hitting (.367) second baseman in the Big 12 Conference. Nicholson earned All-Big 12 First Team honors after batting .367 with 60 runs scored, 99 hits, 18 doubles, two triples, three home runs, 43 RBI and 12 stolen bases.
In 1999, Nicholson hit .315 with 55 runs, 73 hits, 14 doubles, one triple, three home runs, 42 RBI and seven stolen bases while earning All-Big 12 Honorable Mention recognition. As a freshman in 1998, he batted .282 with 32 runs, 51 hits, five doubles, one triple, three home runs and 29 RBI.

The Tommy Nicholson File
Full Name Thomas Blair Nicholson
Date of Birth August 23, 1979
Hometown Anaheim, Calif.
High School Esperanza
College Texas 2006

NCAA Tournament Experience

2010 Volunteer Assistant Coach Texas NCAA Austin Super Regional
2009 Volunteer Assistant Coach Texas College World Series

Previous Coaching Experience
2011-12 Assistant Coach Sacramento State
2009-10 Volunteer Assistant Coach Texas

College Playing Experience
1998-2000 Texas

Former Longhorn Tommy Nicholson returns to Texas as assistant head coach. Nicholson played under Texas head coach Augie Garrido from 1998-2000.

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

The Texas baseball program is defined by success, pride and tradition, and very few know of or exemplify those points better than Tommy Nicholson.

At the end of June, Nicholson was named the new Texas assistant baseball coach to replace Tommy Harmon after Harmon’s 23-year tenure came to end after being fired.

“Right now, I can’t wait to get started,” Nicholson said. “I’m really excited to start coaching and get my feet on the ground. Austin and the baseball program here feel like home.”

Nicohlson, 32, is 31 years younger than Harmon, but has been around the game a long time.

Nicholson played at the 40 Acres for three years under current head coach Augie Garrido from 1998 to 2000. He was a three-year letterwinner that played second base, and was part of the program’s 27th appearance in the College World Series in Omaha in 2000.

After a brief period of playing professional baseball, Nicholson came back to Disch-Falk Field and spent two years as a volunteer assistant coach during the 2009 and 2010 seasons.

He then spent the two most recent college baseball seasons (2011-2012) at Sacramento State, where he served as the team’s infield and hitting coach. Under Nicholson’s guidance, the Hornets finished the 2012 season with a single-season record .979 fielding percentage, and committed only 47 errors in 59 games.

Though he has had much success over the past two seasons, Nicholson still has much to build on in Harmon’s offense at Texas. The Longhorns have finished no better than seventh in batting in the Big 12 over the past four years, including finishing last in 2010.

“I can be tough when I need to be, and I can also be fun and energetic when I need to be, but I think every player is a little different, and so I hope to teach each of them differently to get the best out of them,” Nicholson said. “I hope each player can get better and reach their full potential at the plate.”

While Nicholson has made coaching leaps of his own, he also stated that he looks forward to working with Garrido again.

“I honestly can’t wait to be under his guidance again. He truly is the best in the game,” Nicholson said. “I learned a lot from him while I was under him as a player, and again as a volunteer assistant, and now I’m looking forward to learning more.”

Garrido welcomes back his former student, and believes he will bring much to the table, especially in the recruiting field.

“Tommy will be our recruiting coordinator and he is a very bright guy,” Garrido said. “He has a magical touch everywhere he goes, and that’s been the case since his days in high school. He is a very unique person and one of the young coaching geniuses in this country.”

This weekend, two Texas alumni return to Red and Charline McCombs Field. However, neither will be wearing burnt orange and white and neither will be rooting for the Longhorns. Olympic gold medalist and former star pitcher Cat Osterman and former NCAA all-American Lindsay Gardner will be watching the Longhorns from the visitor dugout as recently named coaches for the St. Edwards University softball team.

Prior to the start of the fall exhibition season, the Hilltoppers named Gardner as their head coach and Osterman as their assistant coach. Gardner was the assistant coach at St. Edwards from 2007-2008 before she left for a job as a private instructor. Osterman returns to Austin after serving as the assistant coach at DePaul University from 2008-2010.

Coincidentally, this Friday the Longhorns are hosting Alumni Weekend on the 40 Acres, a fitting setting for Gardner and Osterman’s visit.

The Longhorns are coming off of two commanding performances against Temple College and St. Mary’s College, winning by a combined score of 35-1. St. Edwards recently competed in the Spring Klein College Classic, finishing in a tie for first with Baylor.

Senior Courtney Craig and junior Taylor Hoagland are having a productive fall season and will lead the potent Texas offense this weekend. Junior all-American Blaire Luna will take command of the circle along with sophomore Rachel Fox, junior Kim Bruins and freshman Gabby Smith.

Printed on Friday, October 14, 2011 as: Former alumni coach St. Edwards

Rory Tunningley led the Longhorns with a time of 25:43, which was good for fifth at the Grass Routes Grand Prix on Friday. The junior runner helped Texas to a third place finish at the event despite the difficulty of the course. 

“I think our team just wanted to come out here and put in a good effort before our next meet in Wisconsin,” Tunningley said.

The hilly course combined with the 8:15 a.m. starting time presented some challenges to
the field.

“I thought it was fantastic. The atmosphere out here was really nice,” Texas assistant coach John Hayes said. “It’s early in the season, but it was a great atmosphere. We had some teams and some great individuals that were running hard, and I hope it’s a tradition that we can continue.”

Printed on Monday, October 3, 2011 as: Longhorns finish third at tough Austin meet

TULSA, Okla. — Every time the video montage is played prior to a Texas home game, someone will either glance over at assistant coach Kenton Paulino and smile or give him a little nudge.

One of the highlights that plays on the Frank Erwin Center screen is Paulino’s game winning buzzer-beater against West Virginia to send Texas to the Elite Eight in the 2006 NCAA Tournament.

“I can watch it over and over again,” Paulino said. “I don’t think it will ever get old.”

Junior Alexis Wangmene remembers that moment like it was yesterday.

“That was my favorite tournament memory,” Wangmene said.

Jai Lucas’ favorite tournament memory came in 2004 when his brother John Lucas III hit a 3-pointer in the Elite Eight with six seconds left to beat top-seeded St. Joseph’s in New Jersey.

“That’s a moment I will remember for the rest of my life,” Lucas said.

Every player on the team has his favorite memory from watching when they were younger. Cory Joseph and his entire family would gather around the TV every March and just watch basketball. Matt Hill would always try to find a TV in between classes in junior high and high school. Lucas remembers showing off his baby blue North Carolina t-shirt in the hallways of Bellaire High School after the Tar Heels won the National Championship.

Tristan Thompson’s favorite game was when Virginia Commonwealth upset Duke in the first round of the 2007 tournament because he would always love to see upsets.

“But now that I’m playing in the tournament I don’t want to see the underdog win,” Thompson said.

Staying out of the Pool

The Longhorns have no interest in taking part in a bracket pool. Lucas used to always pick the winner with his friends, but that tradition stopped when he got to college.

The team won’t even watch any of the analysis or predictions made.

“It’s just people’s opinions,” Hill said. “You never know what’s going to happen. Whatever everyone picks usually doesn’t happen anyways.”

Even Thompson, who said he never turns his TV off ESPN, can’t watch it. They do however watch as many of the actual games as they can.

Staying off the Beach

This is the Longhorns’ 13th consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. That also means 13 straight years without a spring break for Rick Barnes’ squads as the opening rounds of NCAA Tournament usually coincide with the week off a school that most students get.

Every year, Hill has to hear from his friends about their trip to Mexico. Sometimes he wishes he could join them, but he is always content with his trip.

“I think I get the better end of the deal,” Hill said.

Lucas noted that the team actually gets two spring breaks including the Big 12 Championship week which they miss most of school from. He’s not complaining.

“I think I’d rather experience this any day,” Lucas said.

Basketball players know what they are getting themselves into when they choose to play in college. Sometimes that means sacrificing a relaxing week at the beach for a chance at a NCAA title.

“This is our fun time,” Wangmene said. “I don’t have any problem with that.”