Mac Engel

Don't blame Schloss if he leaves TCU

TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle is remaining in Fort Worth after taking his name out of consideration to be the next head coach at Mississippi State.
TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle is remaining in Fort Worth after taking his name out of consideration to be the next head coach at Mississippi State. rmallison@star-telegram.com

Jim Schlossnagle drives a golf cart to work, makes plenty of money, owns a lake house, is good friends with the manager of the Texas Rangers, and can do pretty much whatever he wants as the head baseball coach of one of the better programs in a power conference.

The only thing Schloss has not done at TCU is win a College World Series.

Despite every reason to stay, he's not ruling out leaving TCU for Mississippi State for a reason. Or reasons. And the reason is not cash ... although it's funny how often that helps.

Schloss' leaving TCU for Starkville and Mississippi State is the equivalent of former TCU women's basketball coach Jeff Mittie leaving for Manhattan and Kansas State; in those respective college-centric communities, those sports generate more pop, interest and eyeballs.

There is always tremendous pull to a job that is the only show in town.

"At this particular time, I just have decided to listen to what they have to say," Schlossnagle said via text on Monday, after his team learned it would not be in the NCAA Tournament.

TCU administrators are unsure if Schloss will remain in Fort Worth, because while it will promise certain upgrades it knows it can't fundamentally change what it is.

TCU is a small, private school in a sprawling, metropolitan area flush with other things to do. Mississippi State is a state school located in a town of 25,000, where there isn't as much to do.

As a head coach of a team at a pricey private school, Schloss has to be far more creative in recruiting players to his team, and to cover the considerable costs of scholarships. As TCU, Vanderbilt, Stanford, Rice, Baylor and a few others have repeatedly demonstrated, winning college baseball games at a private school is doable; since 2000, three NCAA baseball champions were private schools.

Schloss and the rest have done it, but it's a bit harder at TCU than, say, Texas. Or Oregon State. Or Mississippi State.

Both TCU and MSU have dumped millions and millions into their college baseball programs, and both are good enough to make a run at the College World Series on a consistent basis.

(BTW: Mississippi State has never won a national title.)

MSU is undergoing a $55 million renovation of its stadium that figures to reset the new standard in college baseball venues. It's in the SEC, and the Bulldogs averaged 6,049 fans at home this season.

TCU averaged 4,442 at Lupton Stadium in 2018.

Keeping Schloss at TCU will be the first true test for new athletic director Jeremiah Donati.

Schloss' leaving is not about trying to find more money; he has said that, and believe him. But he should not be above using another job offer as leverage for a few things he wants.

Start with adding a position or two to his staff, namely an analytics coach. Upgrading the baseball facility to include extended coverage of the general seating, and a club area. TCU's Lupton Stadium is a wonderful venue, and it will also never be finished. Because no venue is ever done in in the insane spending arena of major college athletics.

Schloss is also approaching a transition point in his life where he and his wife will be "empty nesters;" his oldest son is scheduled to start college in the fall, and his youngest child will be a senior in high school.

Nothing can ever take away his legacy at TCU; he arrived to TCU in July of 2003, and since then he turned "TCU" into a recognized brand in his sport that contributes to the overall brand enhancement of the athletic department, and the university.

The only thing missing is a national title.

He's not quite 50, and while he's not looking to leave, it would make sense if he does.

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