TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle looks around as he team celebrates after the game as TCU defeats Texas A&M 5-4 in 16 innings in the NCAA Division 1 Baseball Super Regional final in Lupton Stadium, Monday, June 8, 2015. (Star-Telegram/Rodger Mallison)

Baseball

Baseball opening is making others money, but will the Longhorns also hit the jackpot?

Posted June 9th, 2016

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Story highlights
  • Jim Schlossnagle agreed in principle to stay at TCU, where he's expected to get a salary boost from the $764,000 he made this year
  • Athletic directors are delivering preemptive strikes to keep their coaches away from Texas
  • The last time UT sought a Florida coach, Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley stonewalled the Longhorns and denied them a chance to interview Andy Lopez

There’s plenty of noise bouncing around from the Texas baseball coaching search, but curiously, the Longhorns aren’t the ones making any of it.

Instead, athletics directors at other schools are delivering preemptive strikes to keep their coaches away from Texas, which almost two weeks ago opened perhaps the top job in the sport by shuffling Augie Garrido to an administrative role on Memorial Day.

Garrido’s latest coaching peer to get a sweetened deal as a result of the vacancy is TCU’s Jim Schlossnagle, who, according to a source, has agreed in principle to stay in Fort Worth. Details of his raise will probably remain under wraps because of privacy laws protecting TCU, yet it’s likely Schlossnagle will get a healthy boost from the $764,000 salary he’s making currently and approach the $1 million annual salary Louisville coughed up last week to hold onto Dan McDonnell.

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So it appears Texas, indirectly, will make a lot of coaches a lot of money this offseason, but at this time there’s no telling if the Longhorns will also hit the jackpot. With McDonnell and Schlossnagle gone from the ‘A’ list, it’s becoming increasingly unlikely athletics director Mike Perrin will be able to land a premier candidate who will qualify as a home run hire.

Among possibilities that still exists are Florida’s Kevin O’Sullivan, who is declining to comment on Texas, as well as the coaches of the past two national champions, Virginia’s Brian O’Connor (2015) and Vanderbilt’s Tim Corbin (2014).

However, there are reasons why each of them might prefer their current situation to Texas.

  • At Florida, O’Sullivan’s team is the top seed in the NCAA tournament and possesses the pitching to carry the Gators to their first ever national title. They host Florida State this weekend in a super regional. Now, try to picture O’Sullivan, or any coach for that matter, hoisting the national title trophy and then bolting days later for another job. It’s an odd look. For what it’s worth, during the same coaching search that led Texas to Garrido after the 1996 season, Florida athletics director Jeremy Foley denied UT access from interviewing Gators coach Andy Lopez, who had just won 50 games and advanced to the College World Series in his second season in Gainesville. Foley is still in charge at Florida and told reporters last week he’ll “work like heck” to keep O’Sullivan. That could possibly result in promises of facility upgrades and a pay increase that would push “Sully” to the millionaire club with McDonnell. Among the drawbacks Texas presents is the inability for a coach through additional resources to stretch the program’s 11.7 allotted baseball scholarships. At Florida, O’Sullivan is able to tap into the Bright Futures academic scholarship, which saves him from dipping into athletic aid. As of Thursday, Texas had not contacted O’Sullivan.
  • Now would be a difficult time for Corbin to leave Vanderbilt, which was rocked last week by the death of a player in a boating incident. Clearly impacted, the Commodores were eliminated after two games in a regional they hosted. Regardless, luring Corbin to Austin may have been a pipe dream anyway because Vanderbilt is set to begin construction this offseason on a $12 million baseball facility that has been tailored to Corbin’s specifications. Like O’Sullivan, Corbin is able to exercise loopholes to expand his scholarship budget. Eyes raised two years ago when Vandy signed 18 recruits to scholarships.
  • Next Wednesday, Virginia is scheduled to owe O’Connor a $250,000 retention bonus if he is still the school’s head coach. An additional perk for sticking around is the $12 million the Cavaliers have earmarked for a stadium facelift. Virginia was eliminated from the regional, so there’s nothing interfering with Perrin reaching out to O’Connor if he is indeed interested. 

Beyond making a few minor comments about wanting to hire a coach with extensive college experience, Perrin has kept a low profile since the search began. Instead, all of the noise is being generated by other sources.

Little returning: Bill Little, who worked at Texas in media relations for 47 years, says he is returning to UT as a special assistant to athletic director Mike Perrin.

Little, whose name graces the press boxes at the football and baseball stadiums, told the American-Statesman the part-time position is to write commentary for the Longhorns’ official website, texassports.com, which he did before retiring in August 2014. Little’s appointment begins immediately, and he will be working for John Bianco, associate director for media relations.

“When Mike talked to me about the possibility of coming back, it was clear he felt that I could bring something to the table with a knowledge of history of UT athletics,” Little said.

On Monday, Little will be in Dallas as one of 11 honorees for CoSIDA’s lifetime achievement award.

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