Jim Schlossnagle enjoys living in the109 because he can walk to work. His path leads to the TCU baseball diamond where he leads TCU’s baseball team as the season begins Feb. 18 with a three-game series with Kansas at Lupton Stadium.
It has been a long road to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., for everyone involved in the TCU baseball program. Schlossnagle became head coach in 2003 and started a grueling eight seasons trying to reach the team’s No. 1 goal of becoming national champions of college baseball.
The 2010 team came just one series away from achieving that goal. The team lost 3-2 in a series against UCLA, which took them out of the College World Series and stopped their quest for the top prize.
“The Frogs advanced to their first-ever College World Series after sweeping through the Fort Worth Regional and defeating Texas in the NCAA Austin Super Regional,” gofrogs.com reported. “TCU went 3-2 at the College World Series and finished the season ranked No. 3 by all the national polls.”
With new members joining the team for the spring season, the team is ready to pursue the challenge again.
Coach Schlossnagle recently took some time to answer questions about the 2010 season and to discuss plans for this season, which will be introduced with an exhibition alumni game Feb. 12.
“You can see the growth in our program by how the older guys teach the younger ones how we run things within the team,” Schlossnagle said. “It is one of the great things to see as a coach because it’s always better to hear something from your teammate than your coach.”
What does it feel like to lead last year’s TCU team to their first ever College World Series?
It’s a great feeling of accomplishment considering the investment that TCU has made in the baseball program. The university and Chancellor (Victor) Boschini have been so supportive, I feel very obligated to have the best program we can possibly have.
How did it feel to bring the team within one game of playing for the national championship?
We were very disappointed that we didn’t advance to the championship series. There was no feeling of moral victory. We expected to win the national championship, but it certainly gives us something to shoot for again this year.
How tight is the bond between your players? How big of an impact do you think that has on the success on your team?
I’d like to think that the bond between the players is tight, but I’m not a player so only they know. Certainly, it’s hard to have the success we’ve had without having strong chemistry among the team, so I assume that it’s good, but every team is different. We had tremendous leaders on last year’s team and we are in the process of developing that now.
Bryan Holaday was a major part in the leadership of the team last year. Is there anyone who is stepping up and filling in as that leader?
I believe we have some guys capable of doing what Bryan did for us, but no one has come to the forefront yet. It takes a special person to be that person because you have to have the ultimate respect from your teammates on and off the field, be a good player, be productive, and lead by example as well as be vocal… that’s a hard person to find.
What has been the biggest change of the program since you came in 2003?
The biggest change has been how relevant TCU baseball has become in the Fort Worth community. I have always wanted to build a program that not only wins at the highest level, but one that is followed by the community and earns a role in the city that we play in. I believe we have done that here at TCU and we want to continue to grow that.
You received a contract extension in September that lasts through the 2016 season. How does it feel to know the university has that much faith in your coaching ability?
My family and I love it here at TCU and in Fort Worth. There is no better place for us, in my mind. If feels good to know that the hard work of our staff is recognized by the people who matter and we won’t stop working to achieve our highest goals…mainly because everyone has been so supportive.
What would you say is the best part about being a Horned Frog and living in the109?
The fact that across the board, our athletic department wins with class, does things the right way and there is so much pride in working at or graduating from TCU. Not only do the people who go here have pride in the athletic teams, but so does the community that surrounds the campus…this is a very special place.
Is there anything else you would like your community to know about your upcoming season?
Just that we open our season on Feb. 18 and I know that our players fully expect our season ticket sales and crowds to continue to grow. Nothing means more to a player than to play in front of a sold-out stadium that is vocal and supportive of the Horned Frogs.
To check out more information on the TCU baseball team, and see the rest of the spring schedule, go to www.gofrogs.com.