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Photo by Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Texas A&M Baseball

Schlossnagle prepared for new challenge as he takes over in Aggieland

June 10, 2021
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The Texas A&M baseball jersey with the No. 22 fit Jim Schlossnagle perfectly.

Hopefully, he’ll also be a perfect fit at Texas A&M.

The 50-year-old Schlossnagle was officially introduced as Texas A&M’s baseball coach on Thursday afternoon and was officially re-introduced to bubbles that filled the Kyle Field Hall of Champions.

Presumably, those bubbles were meant to signal a “home run” hire by Texas A&M Director of Athletics Ross Bjork. Schlossnagle’s resume certainly indicates that to be the case.

He has an 811-393 record as a head coach. The vast majority of that was accomplished at TCU, which reached the College World Series five times under Schlossnagle’s direction. As Bjork pointed out, Schlossnagle is one of just two active coaches to post 11 CWS victories in the last 10 years.

He also has a history of recruiting extremely well in the Houston area. A&M has underachieved there in recent years.

"We’re not just looking to have a good team. We’re looking to have a great program. That’s something that is sustainable over time. I just felt like, at 50-years-old, I still have plenty of energy to go do something really cool again.”
- Jim Schlossnagle

But what really made Schlossnagle seem like a home run hire on Thursday was that his comments were reminiscent of those made by Texas A&M’s grand slam hire of football coach Jimbo Fisher in 2018. Fisher, of course, was one of just four active coaches to win a national championship when he came to College Station.

“I like a challenge,” Schlossnagle said. "Not a blind challenge, but one in which there are things in place. Where there’s already been success, but there’s room for growth.

"We’re not just looking to have a good team. We’re looking to have a great program. That’s something that is sustainable over time. I just felt like, at 50-years-old, I still have plenty of energy to go do something really cool again.

“What we did at TCU was just awesome. To go from a place that had been to two regionals in over 100 years and then be one of only two schools that in a 10-year period played in the College World Series five times… that’s amazing.”

Like Fisher, Schlossnagle was brought to Texas A&M to make a solid program spectacular. Fisher is on track. Schlossnagle will need some time. But how much time?

Four years ago, Fisher said he was impatient. Schlossnagle is, too.

“I want to be in Omaha next year,” he said. "There’s just a lot of work to be done. I’m sure (fans) are going to want that this year. So do I, but I think every good thing takes work. It doesn’t necessarily take time.”

Schlossnagle then recounted a story of the 2016 College World Series when TCU started 2-0. One more win would’ve put the Frogs in the championship series against Arizona. Instead, they were knocked out by Coastal Carolina.

“(It was) crushing to be that close to play for the national title, but it didn’t happen,” he said.

Like Fisher, Schlossnagle said he’d utilize a diverse offense to take that next step.

“We don’t ever want to be a team that’s one-dimensional,” Schlossnagle said.  “We want to be able to win the game in multiple ways. It begins and ends with starting pitching first and foremost. Then obviously catching the baseball and having a good bullpen.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Jim Schlossnagle will wear No. 22 as he guides the Texas A&M baseball program.

“But from an offensive standpoint, if you’re just a team that runs and steals bases, that can be defended against by a good team with a good pitcher and a good catcher. If you’re just a team that hits the ball out of the ballpark, that can be defended against a good pitcher or a ballpark that’s big like (Omaha’s) T.D. Ameritrade or the wind blowing in on that particular day.

“You want to be able to do all kinds of things. You want to put pressure on the other team. You want to be aggressive, but you don’t want to be reckless. There’s a fine line there.”

Bjork is convinced Schlossnagle can walk that fine line all the way to Omaha. He interviewed other coaches to replace Rob Childress but quickly realized Schlossnagle was… as Bjork put it… a “no-brainer.”

“We wanted to scour the country to see who’s out there that are top five, eight, top ten coaches. Who’s interested? Will they talk to us?” Bjork said. “We did that with a lot of people, but after the meeting we had, it was, ‘OK, that’s the bar. Somebody’s got to beat that.’ He was the guy, and it worked out.”

A big reason it worked out was because Schlossnagle’s son, Jackson, and daughter, Kathleen — both TCU students — gave their blessing.

Schlossnagle didn’t have to leave TCU. He could’ve stayed forever at the program he transformed from average, at best, into a national power.

He said he wanted to coach in the SEC West Division, which he called the “American League East of college baseball.”

“I’m not afraid of that,” Schlossnagle said. “I know exactly how tough that’s going to be. I’m sure it’s going to be even tougher than I can imagine. That was the challenge.

“There have been other opportunities over 18 years, but this one lined up at the perfect time and the perfect place.”

Maybe Schlossnagle — like that No. 22 A&M jersey — will prove a perfect fit.

 
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