Texas baseball coach Augie Garrido, the winningest college baseball coach in NCAA history, has been reassigned.
Unable to convince the powers that be to let him ride out the final year of his contract in 2017, Garrido’s run at Texas is over after 20 seasons, eight College World Series appearances and two national championships. On Monday, he was reassigned to a role as special assistant to the athletic director, according to UT statement.
“I owe everyone at The University of Texas a million heartfelt thank you’s,” Garrido said in a statement. “I came here to serve and I am so proud to be able to continue to serve The University in my new role as Special Assistant to Mike Perrin.”
Garrido, 77, has come close to losing his job in recent years but staved off unemployment with — what else — winning. Thought to be on the hot seat in 2014, he guided Texas to a surprise appearance in the College World Series and then came within an out against Vanderbilt of advancing to the championship series. Poised to build on that momentum in 2015, the Longhorns checked into the Big 12 tournament at just 26-25, but then kept winning until they claimed the title.
He’s a winner, registering a won-loss record of 1,975-951-9 in 48 seasons that includes five national titles and six national coach of the year honors.
Yet Garrido, known also for his Zen approach to teaching, had no magic remaining in 2016. A young team with just two seniors won three games in the Big 12 tournament before ending its season to TCU, 8-2, on Saturday at Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City.
For months, the optics were bad, beginning with an ugly four-game sweep to Cal. At 25-32, it tied for the most losses in program history and marked just UT’s second losing season in 60 years.
Garrido knew his removal was a possibility and publicly campaigned to keep his job, vowing to fix a program he said was succeeding in all areas except for wins. After Saturday’s loss, he insisted he would not resign.
“If I’m not back, it’s because I couldn’t control the decision that was made,” Garrido said. “But trails end, baby. They all end.”
Said Perrin, in a statement: “Augie and I met today and had a very good talk. I asked him to serve as my special assistant and he has graciously accepted. We both care deeply for The University of Texas and our baseball program. I am beyond appreciative of all that Augie has done for Texas baseball and want to celebrate those successes. I’m happy he’ll be continuing to work with me as a special assistant and looking forward to working with him in that role.”
The position Garrido has held since leaving Cal State Fullerton after the 1996 season will command attention from high-end coaches, including, perhaps, Florida’s Kevin O’Sullivan, TCU’s Jim Schlossnagle and Vanderbilt’s Tim Corbin. David Pierce, a Houston native who has guided Tulane to the brink of the top 10 this year, also could get a look. Texas will be ushering in only its third new coach since Cliff Gustafson took over in 1968.
A winning tradition, high-level facilities and ardent fan support make UT a top-five job and should ease the challenge faced by Perrin in his first coaching search. A personal injury lawyer, Perrin took the job last September without any previous experience in athletic administration.
Additionally, Perrin will be able to dangle a competitive salary. After all, Garrido wasn’t just the game’s winningest coach, he is also believed to have had the highest annual salary of more than $1 million.
During his 48-year coaching tenure, he led his teams to the College World Series 15 times, made 33 NCAA Regional appearances, won 16 NCAA Regional Tournament titles and 25 Conference Championships, while being named National Coach of the Year six times (1975, 1979, 1984, 1995, 2002, 2005).
“Augie has long been among the best coaches in college athletics, an exceptional developer of young men, great leader and tremendous representative of our University,” Perrin added. “I have deep appreciation, admiration and gratitude for all that he has accomplished in his 20 years leading our baseball program. From the two national championships he brought to Texas, to the many thrilling College World Series performances, Big 12 titles and becoming the all-time winningest coach in college baseball history, he has a vast list of success stories, but none greater than the positive impact he has made on the countless numbers of student-athletes he has coached.”
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