In a somewhat surprising move, longtime Mansfield High baseball coach Gary Vaughan has decided to hang up his hat. The Tigers’ skipper of 18 years decided only recently that he wouldn’t return to the team next year. Vaughan has been in coaching for almost four decades.
“That’s 38 years of doing the same routine; every fall, every spring, every summer,” he said. “I just started looking at it and decided to step back and catch my breath one time and have a full summer.”
It wasn’t until after school was out that Vaughan made the decision, which meant he wasn’t able to address his team. He did, however, send text messages and emails to many of his players.
“I told them for 38 years I got to do something I truly love,” Vaughan revealed. “I don’t think everybody can say that about their job. One thing I can say is that for 38 years I got to do what I actually wanted to do.”
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Vaughan said several players reached out to him or came to the school during the recent baseball camp to say goodbye.
Those players weren’t the only ones surprised by the announcement. Legacy coach Chris McMullen played for Vaughan in 2004 and 2005 and credits him with fueling his love for the game.
“It completely caught me off guard; I was not expecting it,” McMullen said. “I still feel like he had a lot left in the tank.”
Vaughan, who turns 65 in September, came to Mansfield from Seguin (the city, not the Arlington high school) as a football and assistant baseball coach. He took rein of the baseball program in 2004 and passed the 500-win mark in 2014.
McMullen, who said he has no interest in the job despite his Mansfield High connection, says whoever takes over has a lot to live up to.
“He’s done an unbelievable job of building that program,” McMullen said. “It’s been very consistent and a lot of that goes back to coach Vaughan. He’s always learning and trying to learn more about the game of baseball. Just the energy he brought to practice every day – it gave his players no excuse to take a day off because he never did. Whoever comes in has some big shoes to fill over there.”
Vaughan said there isn’t one highlight memory that stands out above the others, noting that every year is different with a different set of players, but he did praise the school and community as a whole.
“It’s been a fantastic place to coach and teach,” he said.