baseball head coach

Men's basketball coach Rick Barnes, entering his 17th season in Austin, recently earned an extension through 2019.

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

After bounce back years for men’s basketball head coach Rick Barnes and baseball head coach Augie Garrido, the two were awarded two-year contract extensions Thursday from the Board of Regents.

Ten months ago, though, it seemed as if the two were on their way out. 

Last November, football head coach Mack Brown was near the end of another mediocre season — his fourth in a row, urging many fans to call for his firing.

At the same time, Barnes — coming off the first losing season for Texas since 1997, snapping a streak of 14 straight appearances in the NCAA tournament — watched exciting young forward Ioannis Papapetrou walk away early after watching Myck Kabongo, Julien Lewis, Sheldon McClellan and Jaylen Bond do the same a few months earlier. Texas men’s basketball was poised for, possibly, an even worse season.

And Garrido, 74, watched his team sputter to a 7-17 record in the Big 12, failing to make the Big 12 tournament, where only one team gets left out. It looked as though he was losing it.

And to cap it all off, the loyal DeLoss Dodds had stepped down as athletic director, and Steve Patterson took over. It seemed as if he would bring in his own men and start fresh in what was a low point in all three major programs. So, when Brown officially resigned just over a month later, it was only a matter of time before the search for a new baseball and basketball coach began.

However, things changed.

Garrido, beginning his 19th season at the helm, transformed a last place Big 12 team into the No. 3 team in the country and was one infield single away from an NCAA championship appearance. He carries on a legacy of long-tenured baseball coaches. He will be the fourth Texas baseball coach to reach 20 years by the end of his contract, joining Billy Disch (28), Bibb Falk (25) and Cliff Gustafson (29).

Garrido’s extension runs through the 2017 season at $1.04 million per year.

On the court, Barnes led a group of young, unsung Longhorns to a shocking 24-11 record and a thrilling NCAA tournament win. In addition, he now has a strong platform upon which to build. Barnes won’t lose a single player and adds superstar forward recruit Myles Turner, one of the biggest additions in the history of the program.

Barnes, entering his 17th year, will now earn $2.5 million annually through the 2018-2019 season. He is already the longest tenured coach in the history of the Texas program.

These extensions don’t guarantee both coaches will be around to see the end of the contracts. After the 2011 season, Brown was extended until 2020, but he never even got to see the midpoint of that contract after resigning under pressure.

The extensions do, though, give the two coaches security and, maybe even more importantly, reveal Patterson’s confidence in them.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

Texas baseball head coach Augie Garrido is a rarity for a manager — he likes to entertain. 

Couple that with his constant ability to produce winners, and it puts him in the conversation as one of the top college baseball coaches of all time.

Perhaps the most endearing, or notable, aspect of Garrido is his quick wit and matching personality. Garrido delivers one-liners with the best of them. Here are five quotes, or “Augieisms,” from Garrido this season that best define him.  

Age

“I used to have the body of a Greek God. Now, I’ve got the body of a goddamn Greek.” 

Garrido isn’t a youngster anymore. He turned 75 on Feb. 6 and is in his 46th season as a head coach. That’s 48 years removed from his playing days at Fresno State and in the Cleveland Indians minor league system. 

Time may melt, but it has been kind to Garrido. He owns the college baseball wins record, five National Championships and six National Coach of the Year honors.  

“The only thing 1,894 wins proves is that you’re old,” Garrido said after setting the mark in a win against Texas State on March 25.

Garrido knows he’s old, but he isn’t ready to give up the game.

“I like what I do,” Garrido said. “I look forward to doing it. That’s where the reward lies.” 

Wit

Reporter at opening press conference: “How are you doing?”

Garrido: “I’m not telling you anything.”

Most of the time, Garrido enjoys speaking with the media. It is often tough to get coaches to open up, but not Garrido. He talks. And talks. And talks.

But ask questions carefully. He’s always ready to deliver a clever retort. 

“Tell me about Lubbock,” a reporter asked before the Texas Tech series. Garrido responded: “I hear they have a lot of good restaurants.”

When asked at the first practice how the team looks, he said, “Good so far, unscored upon.”

Augie Ball

“There are three parts to our game: get on base, advance runner, score runners.”

That defines “Augie Ball.” 

He developed the philosophy early in his coaching career at Sierra High School, a team that struggled to hit.

“I had to find some way to get the ball in play,” Garrido said. “You can bunt for a base hit to advance runners and to score runners.” 

He references 2013 national champion UCLA and World Series champion Boston Red Sox as models for his team this year. Both won it all with low batting averages but took advantage of
their opportunities.

“Runs determine the outcome of the game, not hits,” Garrido said.

As of April 20, Texas leads the nation with 63 sacrifice bunts.

“[You] got to get the bunt down anytime,” Garrido said. “The scope of our offensive game is good enough to beat anyone. We just have to execute. We aren’t anxious to make a lot of changes.”

Mental Toughness

“It’s the players’ minds and their ability to use them. That’s what makes the use of a bat, a ball and a glove, brilliant.”

This offseason, Texas did not spend much time as a team in the cages or working on its defense. Rather, Garrido had them work on a bigger issue.

“We spent all fall attacking our biggest problem from last year: the word ‘entitlement.’”

Garrido is adamant about the importance of the mental side of the game. 

“They’ve been tested and the weaker and self-centered mentalities are gone,” Garrido said. 

For a group that finished 27-24-1 last season, it may not have been what they wanted to hear. But they embraced Garrido’s methods.  

“[He’s helped us on] being mentally tough,” sophomore outfielder Ben Johnson said. “He is also very inspiring. He can convince you to run through a brick wall.”

After mastering what Garrido calls “the art of losing the one-run game” last season, Texas baseball is 8-2 in those games this year and 3-0 in games that go into extra innings.

Life

“Baseball is nothing more than another classroom in the educational process. Really, baseball is a metaphor for life.”

Garrido has developed 119 major league players and 16 of them were selected in the first round of the draft.

He has coached 52 All-Americans, four national players of the year, six College World Series MVPs, one Rhodes Scholar and four academic All-Americans at Texas.

But Garrido says baseball is more than laying down bunts and hitting the cutoff man. He wants his players to develop skills for life. 

“Baseball offers the opportunity to communicate on how to solve problems,” Garrido said. “That’s what matters. Baseball is a game of failure. Some of that is in life too.”

Not only does Garrido teach life lessons, but he says he builds relationships with his players. 

“I recognize realities of where we are, what we are doing, problems they have,” Garrido said. “It’s about keeping the game fun. There is so much failure in baseball, you have to help
them release.”