Jim Schlossnagle Introductory Press Conference – Texas A&M Athletics


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Head Coach Jim Schlossnagle

 

On his thoughts regarding Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park…

“One of the things that attracted me to the position is not just where the baseball program is, and what has been done in the past. But much more about what it can be and part of that is expanding the facility and making it the place to be. No disrespect to Starkville, Mississippi, but if the town can turn out 12-15,000 baseball fans in a town of 25,000, that is amazing. That being said, we certainly can get to that point here, being so close to metropolitan areas and College Station being bigger city. That’s my vision as a coach and along with Ross’s (Bjork). There are a lot of things I would like to get done in the near future. Enhance both the atmosphere and the fan experience along with the player support areas. Player development is so vital, recruiting is so competitive, especially in this conference. We need to be able to give the coaches and the players the tools that they need to be successful.”

On his first impressions of Texas A&M’s roster…

“You know, it’s hard to evaluate a roster off of a stat sheet without seeing any of the guys play. You know that these guys bleed for their school. I’m thankful for ESPN+ and the SEC Network because of what they’ve done for college baseball. As I said, I don’t have too many hobbies, so whenever I can I’m watching college baseball games. If we weren’t playing, I would turn a game on just to watch, and a lot of the time Texas A&M was on my screen. I think we will continue to evaluate the roster. I was able to meet with about eight or 10 of the guys this morning that were in town in addition to some local incoming players. Then I’ll be in contact with all of the players, whether that’s through text messages social media or phone calls. Hopefully, especially the guys playing around here, I’ll get a chance to see them play and we will figure out where they are and where they want to be. We are going to do everything that we can to make them better.”

On his belief in Texas A&M’s ability to compete for National Championships…

“Everything I said during the initial statement regarding academics, player development and team success will all play a factor. If you’re a player out there who aspires to get a great degree, continue your development as a player and become the very best major league prospect you can become, if you want to compete for championships and you want to do it in the greatest baseball conference in the country and greatest division of college baseball; if you’re afraid of this, then you shouldn’t come here. But if you aspire to compete against the best and know that is going to be difficult, realizing that anything worth having is difficult, this is a great place and we are only going to continue to grow it. This has all been proven, Coach Childress won championships and Coach Johnson did too. Like I said, this isn’t just their future, this is my future too. I left an amazing program to come to a different place. Not necessarily better, but different. And my job is to have the postseason success mirror what we were able to do at TCU and do even better than that.”

On his experience over the past few days…

“This time last week we (TCU) were getting ready to play a regional in Fort Worth. I had eight amazing seniors, five of which were in their sixth year of college. Those guys are very close to me. I wanted them to be sure that they knew to look me in the eye and understand that there wasn’t ever one second where I wasn’t 100% invested in what we were trying to do. I’m excited to be here (at Texas A&M) today, but frankly I wish our guys at TCU were still playing and had this happen later. This moment has just been a steady build over time. I knew if I was to ever leave TCU, that school had to fit a perfect set of criteria and it had to happen at a perfect time, both professionally and personally. All of those things lined up, and my children are obviously the most important thing in my life, so as soon as Jackson and Katie looked at me and said that they were all in, it was just a matter of getting over the emotions of leaving a program that I’ve been living and breathing for 18 years. This is a good day for TCU as well. I think everything has a shelf life and I’m sure there are plenty of people that wanted a new voice, and that’s fine too. We’re looking forward, not back.” 

 On why he decided to leave TCU to join the Aggies…

“I like a challenge. Not a blind challenge but one in which there has already been some success along with room to grow. Not just solely on the field, but programmatically. I hate the term CEO coach but sometimes I get called that. To me that implies you’re not a baseball guy, you tend to look at the other stuff. But for me, I can. We’re not just looking to have a good team; we’re looking to have a great program and something that’s sustainable over time. I feel like at 50 years old, I still have plenty of energy to go do something really cool again. What we did at TCU was just awesome. To go from a place that had been to only two regionals over the past 100 years to a school that played five times in the College World Series over 10 years, that’s amazing. Is there still work to be done at TCU? No question. I got to talk to Coach Tanner, the Athletic Director at South Carolina, who used to coach baseball at North Carolina while I was in college at Clemson. He left North Carolina that had a phenomenal baseball program to go to South Carolina, which at that time the SEC was good, but not like it is today. I asked him why he did that, and he said ‘I just wanted to coach in the American League East one time. And the SEC is the A.L. East of college baseball. I am not afraid of that and understand how tough that’s going to be. I’m sure it’s even tougher than I can imagine having not been in the league full time, but that’s just the challenge. I don’t have the desire to coach to an age close to Augie Garrido’s. I’d like to do this to a certain spot and leave with no regrets in my coaching career. I wanted to make a run at something like this and I’ve spent 26 years collectively at private schools, being an assistant at Tulane and the head coach at TCU. There are advantages to that, but also some big challenges. There have been other opportunities over 18 years, but this one lined up at the perfect time at the perfect place.”

On his timetable to bring success to Texas A&M…

“That is hard to say at this point. I haven’t seen any of the guys play, but obviously I would love to be in Omaha next year. There’s just a lot of work to be done and I know that Aggieland and Aggie Nation are going to want that level of success this year and so do I. Every good thing takes work. Now, the thing about baseball is that it can happen for anybody at any time. Back in 2016 TCU was the closest we had ever been with a 2-0 record in the driver’s seat feeling great. We had to win one more game to make it to the championship series against Arizona. Then this little school named Coastal Carolina came in and won three games. That’s tournament baseball, and whenever you get to the postseason, no matter what level you’re playing at, you have to put your team in position every single year to play well in the NCAA Tournament, and that’s what Coach (Rob) Childress did. It’s my goal to do that, and then we can hopefully play our best when we get there.”

On adding to the tradition and culture at Texas A&M…

“Well, we hope to add to it by putting a great product on the field and giving everybody even more reason to cheer. You know, I was handed a three-ring binder when I landed yesterday, and a lot of the first page was all about the traditions at this school. I’m learning how to say ‘Howdy’ and I’m doing my best to make sure I don’t say ‘UT.’ I’m super excited to be a part of this university. That’s another thing that attracted me to this job. I love being in this type of an environment, even as a visiting team. I love being in a place where college baseball really means something. You know, I’m from western Maryland, so I grew up in a lot of cold weather where there wasn’t a lot of emphasis on college baseball. Ever since I’ve been in Texas and at programs throughout the south, you’re going to see that love that makes baseball here so special. We already have that at Texas A&M, and this is an opportunity to build on that.”

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