Alcohol Abuse Nearly Destroys Matt Deggs

Editor/Collegiate Baseball

HUNTSVILLE, Tex. — Alcohol abuse nearly destroyed Sam Houston State Head Coach Matt Deggs seven years ago.

It had a vice-like grip on him that wouldn’t let go as it caused him to be fired at Texas A&M University as the associate head coach by his best friend Head Coach Rob Childress in 2011.

His drinking problem all came to a head on a hunting trip on Jan. 3, 2011 with Childress and his son just outside College Station, Tex.

Deggs brought a backpack full of whiskey and beer along with hunting gear.

Childress and the ranch foreman found Deggs passed out drunk in a deer stand. There were empty beer cans everywhere, a whiskey bottle and a loaded rifle in his lap.

He was driven home by the Texas A&M skipper, and Deggs stumbled onto the driveway which led to an argument with his wife and left his kids crying. Deggs passed out on the couch and woke up early the next morning not knowing where his truck was.

He called Childress and asked if he could pick him up for work since his truck was at the area the hunt took place the previous day.

When Childress arrived, Deggs got in the vehicle.

“Rob looked at me with heartbreak, disappointment and disgust in his eyes,” said Deggs.

“He said two simple words I will never forget: ‘You’re done.’

Deggs was fired from his position at Texas A&M and would go 430 days without a job in baseball.

He went from being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars at Texas A&M to being unemployed.

The addiction of alcohol nearly resulted in a divorce with his wife Kathy and the separation of his remarkable children Kyler, Klaire and Khloe. He was booted out of the house multiple times.

“Seven years ago, I was fired at Texas A&M as the associate head coach,” said Deggs.

“I was broken, and I was drunk, and I wanted to die.

“I was unemployed and couldn’t get a job. I would have done anything to get a job back in baseball.”

Life A Mess
Deggs said his life was a shambles.

“There are two people in the world — people who are humble and those who are about to be,” said Deggs who is a devout Christian now.

“I was arrogant, cocky and conceited, and I was humbled as everything was stripped from me.

“Gather your wife and three kids and inform them daddy is going to rehab. That will humble you.

“As you try to walk out the door, your kids, ages 10, 4 and 2 are grabbing your pant leg begging you not to go as they are crying. That will humble you.

“Spend 430 days away from the only thing you know — baseball — because nobody will hire you because you are unemployable. That will humble you.

“Put a for sale sign in the front yard of your house and then not have the house sell for 17 months, and you have to live in the same city you were fired from. That will humble you.

“Have your children change schools in the middle of the year because daddy can’t afford a private school any more. Your children now won’t be with all their friends because they are forced to change schools because of my actions. That will humble you.

“I want to tell you something that will really knock you to your knees. Sit down with your kids and explain to them that this is how you go through the lunch line now.

“You have to sign your name to a sheet, and they will give you lunch for free. That will humble you because daddy has blown through all of the family’s savings.

“Daddy has a $400,000 house that he can’t pay for any more. Daddy is unemployable because he is a drunk. My kids and wife have lost everything because of me.

“I was living on my very last dime after being the associate head coach at Texas A&M. I was there for six years and was the recruiting coordinator at Arkansas prior to that. Don’t you think there was some pride involved? You darn right.

“I went from that to not having anyone want to employ me. I could not even get a job interview at Texarkana Junior College when their head coaching job opened up. I spent five years there, and probably had the best run anybody has ever had at Texarkana. We went to the JUCO World Series one year and almost made it a second time.

“But they wouldn’t touch me. I interviewed at South Dakota State and wasn’t hired. I interviewed in Nashville at an NAIA school and wasn’t hired.

“I ultimately found work at a feed mill about 20 miles outside of College Station, Tex. loading 18-wheelers full of corn and cattle feed with Guatemalans who didn’t speak English.

“They were great people, and I became really tight with them. That became my life, and that will humble you.”

Deggs then switched jobs and began selling pharmaceuticals.

“I was an absolutely horrible salesmen for pharmaceuticals. I couldn’t wait to get off work and go drink.

“That was my life as I was humbled once again.

“The second thing I learned was that God will not save you until you decide to take action yourself. No change will ever happen without action.

“I was famous for being in the middle of a 12-pack of beer and pray to God that he would take this beer from me as I drank can after can. I was living in darkness. Darkness does not live in the light. By its very definition, it is an absence of light.

“It wasn’t until I stood up and took action that good things started to happen to me. God was there after one step and grabbed me. My life turned around from that point.”

To read more of this story, purchase the May 18, 2018 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE.

The rest of the story explains how he was given a second chance in his coaching career by Louisiana-Lafayette Head Coach Tony Robichaux and Deggs’ success led him to the head coaching position at Sam Houston State. It is an amazing story of how he ultimately conquered alcohol and has turned his life around.