The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Trev Alberts is on the clock to find A&M baseball’s next head coach

The Aggies’ athletic director will have to move quickly to find the program’s new leader
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Photo by Hannah Harrison
Texas A&M Athletic Director Trev Alberts talks to Texas A&M utility Jett Johnston (36) during Texas A&M’s game against The United States Air Force Academy on Tuesday, April 16, 2024 at Olsen Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)

Life comes at you fast.

Texas A&M baseball and its fanbase entered Tuesday, June 25 with the excitement and optimism that comes with the first national championship appearance in team history. Sure, the Aggies lost by a run to Tennessee, but the feeling was there that the program’s foundation was in place with a coach that could compete for championships.

Or so the Aggies thought.

Shortly after the team was welcomed back from the College World Series finals by a swarm of A&M faithful, coach Jim Schlossnagle was meeting with Texas athletic director and close friend Chris Del Conte and driving down Highway 21 to Austin. At 8 p.m. that night, he was officially announced as the Longhorns’ head coach.

Taking the head job at your former school’s rival is one thing. Making the move a day removed from coaching in the title game is another. But doing so after a fiery tirade that included the line, “I left my family to be the coach at Texas A&M, I took the job at Texas A&M to never take another job again, and that hasn’t changed?”

Whew.

The drastic turn of events between Monday and Tuesday night happened in a blur. Before the Aggies could soak in the glory of a run to college baseball’s biggest stage, they were left without a coaching staff. The roster that had gotten A&M to Omaha, Nebraska? Six players in the starting lineup have since entered the transfer portal.

Within 24 hours, the Maroon and White found themselves without their head coach, crew of assistant coaches and some of the most significant players from a magical season. From the cusp of being a consistent national contender to needing to find a way to field a team next season.

The trail of events moved about as quickly as it could have. And that’s just the kind of approach the A&M administration needs to take into its coaching search.

In the era of name, image and likeness and the transfer portal, time is of the essence when it comes to building stability within an athletic program. With the movement of players between schools during a time when it’s easier than ever to find greener pastures, it falls on the university administration to give athletes a reason to stay put.

Even after the magical season the Aggies had, you can’t blame sophomore CF Jace LaViolette, freshman 3B Gavin Grahovac, sophomore 2B Kaeden Kent and others that decided to enter the portal. Relationships matter, and they’ll want to play for the coaching staff they feel can develop them and help them become the best ballplayers they can be.

Remember that an athlete entering the transfer portal doesn’t mean they’re dead set on going elsewhere. They can always withdraw from the portal and remain at their initial school. Since they lost their head coach, the Aggies have 30 days to enter the portal. With NIL now — openly — at play in the recruiting process, it’s at least advantageous for players to test the waters and judge their value on the national landscape.

All the more reason for the A&M administration to act quickly. Athletes need stability themselves and deserve to know who they’ll be coached by. When Schlossnagle jumped ship to Texas with Nolan Cain, Michael Earley and Max Weiner, there was hardly any leadership left to hold down the fort at Olsen Field except for the water boy.

Trev Alberts, you’re on the clock.

The Aggies’ athletic director has only been on the job for a few months, but he won’t have a more high stakes introduction to SEC baseball. He’s not in an easy situation. How do you go about finding a baseball coaching staff in a short time frame while remaining confident you made the best hire possible?

Alberts will have his options across the country for the next head coach. Florida’s Kevin O’Sullivan and Virginia’s Brian O’Connor are well-established at their schools with national titles. Dallas Baptist’s Dan Heefner and East Carolina’s Cliff Godwin have found much success at mid-major universities. Maybe they’re ready for the call to the big leagues.

Skip Johnson of Oklahoma is coming off a Big 12 championship and is two years removed from two wins over A&M in the College World Series to advance to the finals. He’s a Texas native and was previously the Longhorns’ pitching coach. Wake Forest’s Tom Walter and Texas Tech’s Tim Tadlock could also get the call from the Power Four level.

Given the resources at Alberts’ and A&M’s disposal, it may not take all that much convincing. The Aggies are riding the momentum of a run to college baseball’s biggest stage while boasting a premier stadium with $80 million worth of facility upgrades on the way. A&M offers a significant NIL fund, something that has to appeal to both players and coaches.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more passionate fanbase than the 12th Man, whose reputation speaks for itself. If the uproar over Schlossnagle’s manifest destiny doesn’t highlight the Aggies’ spirit for baseball, I don’t know what will. And hey, it’s baseball in the SEC. You can’t beat that.

“We will find a great leader and excellent coach to head up this proud Aggie baseball program,” Alberts said in a statement. “Baseball success is important to everyone associated with Texas A&M, we will not stop in our pursuit of excellence and our commitment to baseball will not waiver.”

Whichever direction Alberts pursues, the new coach will be charged with assembling a staff, assessing what’s left of the roster and retaining the players from the portal. As is the case with all coaching transitions, he’ll have his work cut out for him. Roster building allows for no downtime in the college athletics sphere.

It’s on Alberts to find a new leader of the program before LaViolette, Grahovac and the like can be wooed to a conference rival. Recruiting and the transfer portal don’t take a summer vacation and neither can Alberts as he searches for Schlossnagle’s successor.

The clock’s ticking.

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About the Contributors
Luke White
Luke White, Sports Editor
Luke White is a senior telecommunication media studies major and sport management minor from Round Rock, Texas. He has served as head sports editor since May 2023.
Hannah Harrison
Hannah Harrison, Photographer
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  • B

    Bonnie LathamJun 28, 2024 at 7:42 pm

    Jason Hutchins will 100% hold down the fort and will continue to be the heart of the baseball program at A&M!! Excited to see who is brought in and hoping the players in the portal will choose to stay!!

    Reply
  • L

    Larry SmithJun 28, 2024 at 12:02 pm

    What a Great opportunity for some coach to come in and build.
    Go Aggies

    Reply