Longtime TCU assistant Randy Mazey off to quick start at West Virginia

Posted Thursday, May. 09, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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A coach’s first season can be the most fun. TCU’s Jim Schlossnagle can attest to that after three memorable debuts with Tulane, UNLV and the Horned Frogs.

So he knows how good Randy Mazey must be feeling during a shockingly surprising first season as head coach at West Virginia. Mazey spent the previous six seasons under Schlossnagle, including the last three as associate head coach.

The Mountaineers are tied with Oklahoma and Kansas State atop the league with six conference games remaining before the Big 12 Championships May 22-26 in Oklahoma City. WVU took two of three from then-No. 12 Oklahoma last weekend for its third consecutive Big 12 series win.

The Horned Frogs’ series against WVU begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston, W.Va. Attendance has increased at Mountaineer games, and last week, West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed a bill between innings that will help finance a new ballpark for WVU.

“We had 18 returning guys and 18 new guys,” Mazey said. “So we were really going into it with a team I knew nothing about. All I knew about the returning guys was off the stat sheet from the year before.”

Those statistics, including a 23-32 record in 2012, weren’t exactly foreshadowing a league title run in a tough conference in Mazey’s first season. In fact, the last time WVU earned a postseason bid was 1996. Mazey was in his first head coaching job at Charleston Southern that year. He was the head coach at East Carolina from 2003-05 before joining Schlossnagle at TCU.

“I don’t think anybody saw it coming because of the lack of success they had prior to this year,” Schlossnagle said. “But if you know Randy, you know how good a coach he is. And he’s got a good staff.”

Schlossnagle should know. Mazey’s two paid assistants — Derek Matlock and Steven Trout — have TCU ties. Matlock was a Frogs’ volunteer assistant coach for two seasons. He came to West Virginia after five seasons as recruiting coordinator and pitching coach at Texas State.

Trout was an all-conference first baseman at TCU in 2006 and 2007. He was a volunteer assistant two seasons at Texas State before taking his first head coaching stint at Texarkana College.

“They’ve basically taken three guys who spent some time with TCU and taken the blueprint from all the places they’ve been and got those kids excited,” Schlossnagle said.

Schlossnagle and Mazey have been good friends since the early 1990s. Playing each other is something neither relishes — especially Mazey, who, along with his son and bat boy Weston (a TCU crowd favorite who goes by the nickname Whammer), feels a deep bond to Schlossnagle and many of the TCU players.

“All those kids that Whammer and I got so close to and how good they were to him ... it always meant a lot to me and always will,” Mazey said. “So I want them to be super successful, and it’s hard to do that when you’re playing against them. It’s never fun playing against your best friends. It’s fun to compete against your best friend but not when your livelihood is at stake. I root for those guys every game, and I want to see all those kids do well; and I want to see Schloss do well, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”

TCU AT WEST VIRGINIA

(at Appalachian Power Park, Charleston, W.Va.)

Records: TCU 23-24, 8-10 Big 12; WVU 29-20, 11-7

Game 1: TCU RHP Preston Morrison (6-2) vs. LHP Harrison Musgrave (7-1), 5:30 p.m. Friday

Game 2: TCU LHP Brandon Finnegan (0-7) vs. RHP Dan Dierdorff (4-5), 3 p.m. Saturday

Game 3: TCU RHP Andrew Mitchell (1-1) vs. LHP John Means (4-2), noon Sunday

Radio: KTCU/88.7 FM

Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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