Interview with Augie Garrido, college baseball’s all-time winningest coach

spring16Inside Pitch recently caught up with University of Texas head coach Augie Garrido, NCAA Division I’s all-time winningest coach. The only coach in baseball history to tally 1,900 or more career wins is currently in his 20th season at Texas and 48th season as a head coach overall, with previous stops at Illinois and Cal State Fullerton. He has led the Longhorns to a combined 12 Big 12 titles (regular season and tournament), eight College World Series, two national titles and two second-place finishes. Garrido was the first coach to lead two different schools to national crowns (Fullerton & Texas), guide his teams to National Championships in four different decades, and is one of only three coaches in history to win five or more NCAA titles (1979, 1984, 1995, 2002, 2005).

IP caught up with the recent ABCA Hall of Fame inductee to talk about learning, recruiting, pressure, expectations and more: Continue reading

Texas’ Skip Johnson

skipjohnsonCoaching journey…

When I was in junior college I really believed in the process of just teaching, and in reality the relationships and the teaching part of it is probably what’s it’s really about, you know? It’s not about winning championships or any of that stuff, it’s really about building relationships and teaching. Once you build that relationship, that’s when trust comes in and that’s when you when championships. That’s what I thrive on, so when I came to Texas, I really thought I knew what I was talking about. I think God led me to the University of Texas to really understand what the pressures of pitching were.

The first year was a good year in my eyes, we had 46 wins and lost in a Regional and going through the line in the airport, the lady said “sorry about your year” and I was thinking, wow. That next year, I had the first four freshmen of my recruiting class- Cole Green, Chance Ruffin, Stayten Thomas and Brandon Workman and it was an up-and-down battle, like an ongoing saga. And these guys were pretty good. That year we go to Missouri and we’re facing Aaron Crow, who had thrown 44 scoreless innings going into that game. We take a 9-0 lead in the first two innings… and end up losing the game 31-12. They’re firing me in the paper all year and I’m thinking what’s going on? The next day we get beat 11-0.

I probably got about four hours over the sleep that weekend. I get home at 11:27pm and cry out, “Lord, what do you want me to do? What am I here for?” On Monday, our off day, I get a call from Steve Foster, a buddy of mine who’s now the pitching coordinator for the Kansas City Royals. He asked me to read The Traveler’s Gift, and after that Golf’s Sacred Journey. So I did. In two weeks. And I changed everything I did.

Pitching philosophy…

I think when a kid goes out to perform, he does so in three areas- READ THE REST

The best drills in baseball

godwindrillCliff Godwin, Ole Miss

Played at East Carolina University; has prior coaching experience at UNC-Wilmington, Vanderbilt, Notre Dame, LSU and Central Florida

“Here are a few drills our guys do every single day before they ever have a live pitch thrown to them:

1. Fungo swings- toss up the ball and hit 10-15 balls with a fungo to get loose. Try to hit line drives.

2. High tee drill series- set tee up away to start with and go “no-low half” where you’re eliminating the lower half where you’ve already taken your stride and both your feet are on the ground. You can either have your hands in a normal position or put them out on their front shoulder (front shoulder load).

The whole basis of the drill is to eliminate the lower half and produce three head-high line drives over the opposite-field infielder’s head. [Our players at Ole Miss] have to do three in a row and that’s what I really take pride in, getting our guys to do that, because anybody can produce one line drive and move on to the next step, but it’s not consistent. Once they do that, they take swings regularly off the high tee away and do three in a row there. Then we move the tee to the middle and finally to the inner half, repeating the same sequence: Continue reading

The art of the dogpile

Perhaps the greatest part of the baseball season are the midsummer months of June and July. School is out, youth leagues are rolling along, summer travel ball teams are gearing up and the Major League All-Star game in July. High school state tournaments and wrapping up and of course, Omaha’s College World Series takes center stage, as victorious teams engage in the greatest celebration in all of sports – the dogpile.

Dogpiles typically begin wherever the baseball is when last out is made, which is typically the pitcher’s mound or first base. However there are some exceptions, like when TCU celebrated a 2010 NCAA Super Regional win at the University of Texas’ Disch-Falk field by dogpiling on the Longhorn logo in center field (Texas returned to the College World Series the following year):

From there, the fracas ensues, typically lasting until the players at bottom begin fighting their way out because they can’t breathe. Continue reading

Understanding the new RPI

The Rating Percentage Index (RPI) was adopted by the NCAA many years ago with the intent to rank teams based on their strength of schedule. Recommended changes to the RPI formula have been approved by the Division I Baseball Committee and will take effect at the start of the 2013 season. It will still be calculated using three statistical parameters:

  • Division I winning percentage (25%)
  • Opponent’s Division I winning percentage (50%)
  • Opponents’ opponents’ Division I winning percentage (25%)

The new formula will value each home win as 0.7 and each road victory as 1.3, a change from the customary 1.0 of the past. Conversely, each home loss will be weighted as 1.3, and each road loss will count 0.7 against a team’s RPI.

Neutral site games will continue to be weighted the same value of 1.0.

The new method is not quite as extreme as basketball’s (1.4 for home losses and road wins, 0.6 for home wins and road losses), but the overriding factor with baseball is that the vast majority of games are played outside. Further, baseball schedules are also filled with three-game series as opposed to single games against opponents.

“To be honest the whole thing is a little confusing to me, we just try to go out and win every game we play,” said Clemson head coach Jack Leggett. “They showed us what it would be with the new RPI and what is was before and it wasnt that big of a difference.”

Leggett is right; in 2011, Clemson finished ranked No. 7 in the RPI, and would have stayed there if the new RPI had already been implemented. For the most part, “southern” schools from BCS conferences weren’t affected by the change. So who was?

The adjusted winning percentage was exemplified in a breakdown of 2011 RPI’s in college baseball. Inside Pitch researched the breakdown and found the following facts: Continue reading

Omaha through the years

photo by Lou Pavlovich, Collegiate Baseball

1980 national champion Arizona Wildcats
photo by Lou Pavlovich, Collegiate Baseball

Year- 1950
Total attendance- 17,805 (Rosenblatt Stadium)
Participating teams- Alabama, Bradley, Colorado State, Rutgers, Texas, Tufts, Washington State, Wisconsin
Most outstanding player- Ray VanCleef, Rutgers (Texas won title)

Year- 1980
Total attendance- 95,406 (Rosenblatt Stadium)
Participating teams- Arizona, California, Clemson, Florida State, Hawaii, Miami (Fl.), Michigan, St. Johns
Most outstanding player- Terry Francona, national champion Arizona

Year- 2011
Total attendance- 321,684 (TD Ameritrade)
Participating teams- California, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Virginia
Most outstanding player- Scott Wingo, national champion South Carolina