The past and the present of Horned Frog baseball met on Feb. 3 at The Worthington Renaissance Fort Worth Hotel in downtown Fort Worth for the Tenth Annual First Pitch Banquet.
This year’s event saw the largest crowd yet with about 450 guests, Meredith Montgomery, the director of operations for TCU baseball, said.
Included in that crowd was former TCU baseball head coach and athletic director Frank Windegger. He said he has been with the university for about 50 years from the time he made his way to Fort Worth on a football scholarship in 1953 to the time he retired as athletic director in 1998.
Windegger almost went back home in 1953 when he said he saw players in the football locker room taking their teeth out. But that bus ticket home cost $14, which he said he did not have.
“That was the best thing that happened to me,” he said. “Absolute best thing ever.”
During his time as an undergraduate at the university, Windegger said he played football and baseball. After graduating, he helped then-baseball head coach Dutch Meyer in the spring and learned quite a few coaching tips.
After serving two years in the Army, Windegger went back to the university to be the freshman baseball coach under Meyer. From there, Windegger went on to become the head baseball coach in 1962 and the athletic director in 1975.
Not only did Windegger serve as the head baseball coach, he brought home the Southwest Conference championship in 1963, becoming the youngest coach in the history of the conference to win a championship.
Windegger said he would love to see Big 12 Conference championships in both baseball and football in the coming years.
“Nothing would suit me better because I was very bitter when they left our conference [Southwest Conference] and just threw us out like a baby in the water,” he said.
Also in attendance was the university's all-time winningest head baseball coach Lance Brown, who played under Windegger.
Brown said head coach Jim Schlossnagle has had the opportunity to take the baseball program and make it into a top-10 or top-15 program in the country.
“Not everyone could have taken what we’ve gotten and gotten it to the point where it is,” he said, “but, yeah, he’s done it.”
Brown said the updated facilities on campus have helped to bring the sports programs to the Big 12 level.
“Basically everything we do here has turned out to be really good plus a good education. Good city, good education, so how can you beat that?" he said.
Brown said he has seen and lived through the years when the university teams “were 0-11 and getting beat 85-3.” He added that he thinks this is a great time for everyone at TCU.
Windegger and Brown represent the past of where the baseball program has come from, and the banquet allows them to see where the program could go in the future. Current players get the chance to talk with the people who have laid the groundwork for the program.
For the future, Montgomery said the hope is to lower the $100 ticket price to the banquet and open the event to more people. For now, though, she said the event is a fundraiser for the baseball team, and they need the money to cover travel expenses.