After a couple of embarrassing seasons, 2014 has been better for head coach Augie Garrido. In the past three months, he has become the winningest college baseball coach of all-time and instilled a renewed optimism around UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
Coming off the program’s worst consecutive seasons since Garrido arrived in Austin, the Longhorns entered this spring as a major question mark in college baseball. Things have turned around dramatically for Texas, though, as the team has ridden its elite pitching staff to a 32-13 record and a No. 12 ranking in national polls.
Prior to this season, these struggles had led some to question how much gas Garrido had left in the tank. But Garrido has let it be known that he is not ready to retire. When asked about his job status last year, he told the Austin American-Statesmen, “I know when I’m done, and this isn’t it.”
That posits the question as to when he will be ready to finally throw in the towel. He made things clear in that same interview when he said, “I’m sure as hell not going out a loser.”
But does that mean that this could be Garrido’s last season? It’s certainly possible.
At 75, Garrido has to at least been thinking about retirement. Although he has vehemently denied this being a factor, it would naive to ignore its impact.
The second — and most important — is his legacy. Garrido insisted he wants to go out on a high note. Considering he became the winningest coach in all of college baseball and has revitalized his program, it’s conceivable that he could end 2014 satisfied enough to go out on his own terms.
Of course, there are more factors at play. With a new men’s head athletic director in Steve Patterson, there is added pressure on all personnel. This is especially true for coaches of the University’s major programs, including Garrido.
Patterson was hired on because of his accomplishments at Arizona State, where he improved the Sun Devils’ athletic program by leaps and bounds in just two years. Much of this started with him cleaning house and bringing in many new coaches, something that has Texas fans wondering whether former football head coach Mack Brown’s firing was just the tip of the iceberg.
Consequently, the upcoming month is an important one for Garrido and the Longhorns. Sitting at No. 12 nationally and boasting some of the best arms in the country, Texas has a legitimate shot at returning to its first College World Series in four years. If this were to happen, one has to wonder whether Garrido would deem it an appropriate end to his illustrious career.
With his legacy now cemented in college baseball history and the Longhorns back among the country’s elite, we’ll have to wait and see whether Texas will do enough this season to let him ride off into the sunset.