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.