February 26, 2015
AUSTIN, Tex. — Augie Garrido, the winningest coach in college baseball history with 1,920 wins entering the 2015 season, is a study in the word complex.
On one hand, he was brought up in a boot-tough ship yard town of Vallejo, Calif. shortly after World War II where plenty of street fighting was the norm with Navy sailors.
Both of his parents worked two jobs to support the family. They lived in a federal housing development.
He came out of this mostly blue-collar community with a burning desire to become the best coach he could possibly be against the worldly advice of his father Augie.
This amazing coach is the only skipper to lead teams to national titles in four different decades (Cal. St. Fullerton 1979, 1984, 1995 and Texas, 2002, 2005).
In 46 years of coaching, he has led teams to a 1,920-892-9 overall record.
The 76-year-old Garrido just celebrated his birthday on Feb. 6 — the same date as two other giants in history — Babe Ruth and President Ronald Reagan.
Garrido coached at Cal. St. Fullerton and Illinois prior to becoming the coach at Texas
He led the Titans to a duo of national championships at Cal. St. Fullerton in 1979 and 1984, brought numerous people into the coaching ranks, sent scores of players into the professional ranks and helped hundreds of players be success stories in life.
Another side of Garrido reveals a passion for art and finely tailored Italian suits. He is a connoisseur of gourmet food and the finer things in life which reflect success.
Without any doubt, his love of people is the catalyst behind his victories in life.
Many people are not aware that Garrido is deeply religious man who teaches his players right vs. wrong in every phase of life.
The team concept is much more important than wins in the Garrido philosophy.
A perfect example is the 1992 Titan baseball team which finished second in the nation.
Fullerton had a disappointing Big West Conference season, finishing second to Long Beach St. Everyone was expecting the Titans to waltz through the competition and finish first with a superb pitching staff and equally talented every day lineup.
Constant temper tantrums during games were the norm. Players routinely threw bats and helmets at the slightest problem. Hitters stopped running out ground balls with 100 percent effort.
Garrido resorted to the unthinkable prior to the South I Regional in Baton Rouge, La. He refused to let the team practice until the players showed more respect for the game of baseball.
A group of seniors, led by catcher Jason Moler and pitcher Dan Naulty, held a team meeting and came up with strict new rules for the team. If a player threw a helmet or argued a call with an umpire, immediate suspension would prevail. If a player did not run out a grounder or fly ball, that individual must run 2 ½ miles.
The attitude adjustment was just beginning as Garrido and associate head coach George Horton allowed the team to practice again.
“They lost the definition of the word respect,” said Garrido.
“I closed the field prior to the regionals and said we weren’t going to practice any more. I said it didn’t matter anyway because they didn’t get it or understand that this wasn’t about winning baseball games. It was all about teamwork and people. They didn’t show any respect for the game of baseball.
“They didn’t show any respect for the groundskeepers. They didn’t show any respect or appreciate they had a ball to play with and had a bat to use. They just didn’t have the right definition of respect. They didn’t know how to get it. To get it, you have to give, and the rewards will come back.”
The Titans shocked heavily favored Louisiana State in the South I Regional by going through undefeated with four consecutive wins.
At the College World Series, Fullerton raced through its division to meet Pepperdine for the national title. The Waves defeated the Titans, 3-2 in the championship game.
To read more about the amazing career and philosophy of Augie Garrido, purchase the Feb. 20, 2015 edition of Collegiate Baseball by CLICKING HERE.