Jim Schlossnagle begins his A&M tenure in Texas by talking about Omaha
COLLEGE STATION – Jim Schlossnagle had two prevailing thoughts as his pitcher struggled to take a shot as “Ball Five! Ball six! ”And so on this week five years ago ridicule was added up by an excruciatingly noisy crowd in Blue Bell Park.
“When will he ever strike?” Schlossnagle wondered when the TCU mug at Texas A&M rang the “Raggies” in his ears from above. Then Schlossnagle considered with a shrug: “I’m not sure if I could strike now.”
That unbearable moment in an NCAA super region, among many others between the train tracks and Olsen Boulevard, made an impression on Schlossnagle when it came to A&M. The dominance of its Horned Frogs over the Aggies also made an impact on A&M Brass.
“I’m very excited to have a coach who has the potential to be in Omaha every year,” said A&M Chancellor John Sharp on Thursday after A&M introduced Schlossnagle as their 20th baseball coach and only fourth since 1959.
Schlossnagle hasn’t had the Horned Frogs in the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. Every season, but the Aggies will happily take what he’s done in Fort Worth: five CWS appearances since 2010, including four in a row from 2014-17.
“An aggie baseball game should be hot in the spring, from February when it’s a little chilly to just before Omaha in June, and we’re sweating to death out there on a super-regional weekend making our way over to the CWS,” said the CWS Schlossnagle in front of a few hundred fans who had gathered in Kyle Field’s Hall of Champions. “The goal is a national title – that’s it. There won’t be a day when the goal is less.
“I’m a very impatient guy. And winning never feels as good to me as losing feels bad. “
A&M sporting director Ross Bjork met Schlossnagle for a three-hour visit a few weeks ago and said he believed the 50-year-old would be the perfect replacement for Rob Childress, whose contract was not renewed after 16 seasons this month.
“We could see that (Schlossnagles) drive, passion and commitment to baseball at a high level, but also in the right way, was exactly what we wanted,” said Björk. “This three hour meeting felt like 30 minutes.”
Schlossnagle will make about $ 1.25 million a year at A&M for seven years, a little more than $ 400,000 more than Childress a year. Schlossnagle said a “steady build-up over time” led him to take on a new challenge after leading the Horned Frogs to 15 NCAA tournaments in 18 seasons. Before arriving at Lupton Stadium, the TCU had made two NCAA appearances in its memorable baseball history.
“I knew that if I was ever to leave the TCU, it had to meet perfect criteria and it had to happen professionally and personally at the perfect time,” said Schlossnagle. “All of these things line up. My children are the most important thing in my life, and as soon as (they) were all inside and said: ‘You have to do this …’
“This is also a good day for the TCU. Everything has a shelf life and I’m sure there are a lot of people who want a new voice and that’s fine too. We look forward to not going back. … And at the age of 50 I still have a lot of energy to do something really cool again. “
Schlossnagle added that “most people would call me a boring guy” because he has little interest in anything but baseball.
“I appreciate how beautiful a golf course is, but I don’t play golf,” said Schlossnagle. “I don’t have a lot of hobbies. I think my job is a lifestyle, not a profession. “
That season, A&M finished 9-21 in the SEC, failing to make it to the 12-team SEC tournament in Hoover, Alabama for the first time since joining the league in the summer of 2012. Childress made two CWS appearances in 2011 and 2017 but was 0-4 in Omaha – with the last of those four losses to TCU.
By comparison, Schlossnagle is 11-10 in the CWS (but not a national title), while A&M has two wins in its history in the CWS and none since 1993.
The TCU’s once promising season ended earlier than Schlossnagle expected last week after consecutive losses to the Dallas Baptist and Oregon State in the Fort Worth Regional. TCU (41-19) shared the regular season Big 12 title with Texas and won the Big 12 tournament in Oklahoma City.
“To be honest, I wish we would still play,” said Schlossnagle, “and that this (announcement) would happen later.”