Ten years ago, there was zero talk of making any coaching changes in the major sports at Texas.
You had Mack Brown, fresh off a national championship in football.
Then there was Rick Barnes, who was two seasons removed from the Longhorns’ first Final Four appearance in more than half a century.
Texas also could boast the winningest coach in NCAA Division I baseball, one August Edmun Garrido, who had just led the Longhorns to their second College World Series title in four seasons.
To steal a line from Archie and Edith Bunker, those were the days.
These aren’t those days at Bellmont Hall.
Texas doesn’t scare anybody nationally anymore, and the administration has to know that, thus their efforts of trying like heck to get back to that point. To that end, former men’s athletic director Steve Patterson made two major hires — Charlie Strong in football and Shaka Smart in basketball. On Thursday, Patterson’s successor, Mike Perrin, stood before us and introduced David Pierce, who will presumably lead the baseball program back to Omaha.
One could say Pierce’s hiring represents the end of a tumultuous three years at the Forty Acres, defined by the departures of Brown, Barnes, Patterson and Garrido.
Sure, Pierce is a shiny new hire, but don’t be duped into believing the skies have cleared over UT. Perrin told us Pierce was the only coach to be offered the job, but what Perrin didn’t say was that he and the people working on his behalf reached out to a dozen or so coaches.
Pierce wasn’t the first choice, nor the second. Not even the third.
Perrin didn’t handle this search well, and that should be a real cause for concern for anyone who holds realistic dreams of Texas’ three biggest sports rejoining the national elite under his watch. When asked about the 31 days it took to hire a head coach for a baseball program that has made a record 36 apperances in the College World Series, Perrin said he wanted to wait until university President Gregory L. Fenves returned from a trip to Asia.
Question is, did he really want to wait or was he told to wait? It appears Perrin hasn’t convinced the higher-ups that he has the ability to do this job, a problem DeLoss Dodds and Steve Patterson rarely faced.
Perrin’s biggest hire wasn’t the smoothest, but it could still define his tenure at Texas.
For however long Pierce remains in the Longhorns’ dugout.