Gil LeBreton

Schlossnagle has been a TCU success story, 600 times over

Six hundred victories later, Jim Schlossnagle remembers the day he said yes to TCU.

He was 32 years old and it didn’t take very much convincing. Or very much cash, either, for that matter.

“No, it didn’t,” the TCU baseball coach recalled Sunday. “I didn’t really have good negotiating tactics, not with my mother-in-law, who’s from Dallas, and my wife from Dallas.

“My mother-in-law was sitting in the lobby of the hotel, and the athletic director walks in with my kids running around everywhere. He pretty much knew I was taking the job.

“So I didn’t have a whole lot of leverage on the salary.”

It was Senior Day for the Horned Frogs on Sunday, a day to hug the moms and thank the dads and remember the good times playing college baseball, a memorable chunk of which was played in a place called Omaha.

As Schlossnagle posed for postgame photos with his seniors, it was hard Sunday not to scan the whole panorama. The stadium where Schlossnagle’s teams have played for 14 seasons. The logos on the outfield wall, honoring TCU’s four trips to the College World Series under Schlossnagle.

And on Sunday, by notable coincidence, the scene also included the Texas Longhorns, who had just been beaten by Schlossnagle’s Frogs for the third straight day.

Texas, once the touchstone of college baseball excellence. Texas, against whom Schlossnagle and the Frogs had their breakthrough victory in the 2010 Super Regional in Austin.

Texas, which reportedly had Schlossnagle on its short list of coaching candidates last summer to replace Augie Garrido.

TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte snuffed that possibility by signing Schlossnagle to a six-year contract extension.

Del Conte memorably took to Twitter to announce the extension.

“Time to put the Pepto-Bismol away,” he wrote, “as the man has inked his well-deserved extension.”

Del Conte didn’t hire Schlossnagle, but he’s had the good business sense to keep the baseball coach happy.

“I always tell everyone, football is the enterprise but TCU baseball is our brand,” Del Conte said Sunday. “Gary Patterson and Jim, they are our bookends.

“Jim has been so phenomenal in every respect. For him, at his age (46), to have his 600th win is amazing.”

Former AD Eric Hyman was the one who hired Schlossnagle that day in July, 2003. Hyman had narrowed his search for Lance Brown’s replacement to two young coaches — Schlossnagle and Tracy Smith of Miami of Ohio.

Hyman recalled, however, a conversation he had had with then-Tulane AD Rick Dickson about whom he might hire if head coach Rick Jones left the New Orleans school.

Dickson didn’t hesitate — Schlossnagle, who was Jones’ assistant at the time. In 2003, Schlossnagle had just led UNLV to the Mountain West Conference title in his second season.

The College World Series logos on the outfield wall tell the rest of the Schlossnagle-TCU story.

“It’s just an honor to be at TCU long enough to have the opportunity to win that many games,” Schlossnagle said Sunday. “I’ve had a lot of great players, three great ADs and an unbelievable chancellor. It’s been a pleasure to be here and serve these people.”

Schlossnagle didn’t say, but that first contract he signed to coach TCU was for a princely $65,000 a year. He makes many times that now, as one of the nation’s elite college baseball coaches should.

He’s worth every penny, of course. There were six hundred reasons Sunday to be convinced of that.

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram