At this rate, Augie Garrido should receive an agent’s fee. The 77-year-old’s dismissal last week as Texas’ baseball coach after 20 seasons has put panic in athletic departments that have a good thing going on the diamond.
And panic equals dollars. Big dollars, in what is a changing financial landscape in college baseball.
For fear of losing their bright-minded baseball coaches to the riches and tradition of Texas, salaries are taking off for college baseball’s top coaches, or candidates, finally following in the footsteps of college football and men’s basketball.
This baseball season, only Garrido, college baseball’s all-time winningest coach, topped $1 million annually ($1.2 million). Since Texas parted ways with the legendary coach at the end of May, new deals are all the rage. Louisville’s Dan McDonnell just joined the million-dollar club. On June 1, the school announced a 10-year contract for McDowell, who has guided the Cardinals to three CWS appearances in 10 years — and is back in the Super Regionals against UC Santa Barbara — making him the new highest paid coach in the game, for now.
TCU’s Jim Schlossnagle was next on Thursday, agreeing in principle to a new deal. When all is said and done, he could well be closing in on $1 million, if not topping it. Schlossnagle has delivered unprecedented success to TCU and his recent run of pay raises (as well as the school’s excellent facilities improvements) reflects that.
Schlossnagle’s base salary jumped from $374,000 to $764,000 after the 2014 season’s CWS appearance. The Frogs returned to Omaha last season and begin a best-of-three Super Regional series tonight at Texas A&M for a chance to make it three consecutive trips to the CWS. Schlossnagle also took them there in 2010.
TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte said Schlossnagle’s raise had nothing to do with the vacancy at Texas.
Head over to Florida where Kevin O’Sullivan — reportedly another hot name in the Texas coaching search — will probably soon be checking out beachfront property on the Keys. On Thursday night, mere hours after the news of Schlossnagle’s new deal, word leaked from Gainesville that O’Sullivan is out as a Longhorns candidate.
Specifics of how deep Florida athletic director Jim Foley reached into the coffers to keep Sullivan isn’t clear, but those in the know seem to believe, and somewhat surprisingly so, that he went pretty deep.
Clearly a new standard of pay is being set here for college baseball’s most successful coaches.
It stands to reason that at least three baseball coaches will enter the 2017 season earning $1 million. Texas still must hire a coach, and likely will lasso a big name who will command a salary in this new financial district.
Of course, these rising salaries should also sound some alarm bells. Division I baseball programs are only allotted 11.7 full-ride scholarships per year, and coaches often divide those among up to 30 players. So while coaches continue to get richer, the majority of their players, unlike their counterparts in football and basketball, aren’t receiving a full ride. Forget the football and men’s basketball argument about additional compensation beyond a full-ride scholarship.
And that’s a problem.
But for now, which coach is next in line for a pay raise in the wake of Garrido’s dismissal?