Hundreds show at Frank Erwin Center to honor late coach Augie Garrido

Travis Hlavinka

The man who hired legendary baseball coach Augie Garrido in 1997, former Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds, smiled as he spoke of something subtle that reminded him of his late friend early Monday afternoon.

“When I walked in, I saw that Longhorn Network truck. It reminded me of Augie’s coaching show, ‘Home Plate,’” Dodds said. “And it got me thinking, ‘What baseball coach would have a coaching show about cooking food?’ And I’ll admit, it was the only coaching show I ever watched.”

Those words embody everything that made Garrido unlike anybody else in the profession and endeared by so many. He wasn’t your average coach. He wasn’t your conventional personality. He represented everything great about positively impacting the lives of those around you.

A memorial service for Garrido, who passed away on March 15 following a stroke, was held Monday afternoon at the Frank Erwin Center. Notable attendees included multiple former and current Texas head coaches for various sports — Mack Brown, Rick Barnes, Shaka Smart and David Pierce to name a few — former MLB and college baseball players from both Texas and Cal State Fullerton — Garrido’s coaching stop prior to Texas — and other big names from various occupations associated with the University of Texas.

Hundreds of others showed up to honor the life of Garrido. And for most of the two-hour ceremony, there weren’t many dry eyes in the room. It started with former Texas pitcher and MLB All-Star Huston Street, who couldn’t hold back his overwhelming feelings toward his former coach. His message was one of love, specifically the love that Garrido possessed for his players.

“(Augie) wasn’t timid. He wasn’t fake,” Street said. “He was one of the most vulnerable people that I have ever known in my entire life. Because he loved us. He loved us so much. He loved each and every one of his students.”

Some shared messages of jubilation while others told stories of Garrido’s eccentric nature. Others just shared statistics showing the utter dominance that Garrido possessed throughout his coaching career.

Brown shared multiple figures, including Garrido’s 1,975 total wins, five College World Series championships and seven Big 12 regular season titles. The overwhelming amount of success was sobering. It’s hard to comprehend just how good Garrido was at his job.

Brown also told some comical stories about his time with Garrido. He mentioned Garrido’s high standards when telling a story about checking his players into a small motel, then driving across town to check himself into the Four Seasons. He made a joke about how when Garrido arrived at heaven’s gates, he’d ask St. Peter for an upgrade. He told of Garrido’s twinkling eyes and love of laughter.

While Brown, Dodds and Barnes had the privilege of knowing him for decades, Garrido also made an impact on those he knew for only a brief moment.

A good example of this was with Smart, who loved Garrido dearly and spoke about how the two became close friends in Smart’s three years on the 40 Acres. He spoke of the messages they shared and the bond they created by the love for pulling the best results out of young people.

“I didn’t have the privilege of knowing Augie as long,” Smart said. “But I was really, really fortunate that he took an interest in me when I got to Texas. And he became a great, great friend and mentor.”