I spent quite a bit of time while driving on vacation and I found myself having conversations with myself about the state of the Texas Tech program. The following is a glimpse of those conversations. Incredibly sad, but true. Feel free to comment, criticize or join in.
It's good to see you, I'm glad that we could get together to sit down and talk about our favorite college program.
I'm glad to be here, I can talk about Texas Tech all day long, so bring on the questions, no softballs.
Let's start with baseball and go from there. Quite a bit has happened recently in regards to the baseball program, including the coach Larry Hays' retirement, the naming of Dan Spencer as the head coach, and hiring a new assistant coach.
Not much of a question, but I'll take it anyway. Yes, the baseball program has seen quite a bit of shake-up recently and right now I'm encouraged by the current state of events. Chronologically, I think that both Spencer and Hays probably both felt that recruiting was going to suffer as a result of the Spencer not being in charge, which was why Spencer was named as the head-coach-designate way back in April. Looking forward, they were probably hearing the whispers and talking with recruits about how the program appears to be in a little bit of turmoil with questions as to who players would look to and whether or not Spencer was going to be around to coach the guys he was recruiting.
A change was made about a month after Spencer was named as the head-coach-designate and Hays decided that it would be best for the program to step down and allow Spencer to lead this program. Personally, I absolutely love this move.
First, it is incredibly selfless for Hays to have decided to step down. The fact that he's willing to remove himself as the head coach for the better of the program really says a lot about Hays as a person. The fact that he wants to continue to improve the baseball program behind the scenes speaks to his dedication to Texas Tech as a university.
With Spencer, I think Red Raiders are getting a highly motivated coach and I love his track record. I know that there's not much there to look at, but there are a couple of things that I like. First, he helped lead Oregon State to two national championships as the pitching coach for the Beavers, which incidentally led the nation in ERA both years they won the national championship. He's been around winners and he obviously knows how to coach.
But more than that, his personality is infectious and he seems highly motivated. He's young, willing to work and loves Lubbock (played his college ball at Texas Tech). I love that Texas Tech has a guy who wants to be in Lubbock and has actually been an integral part of two national championship programs.
So what do you make of the hire of Ed Gustafson? How do you think he fits in all of this?
I've thought about what Gustafson could bring to the table, especially as a former major league scout and it seems pretty obvious that his job is to evaluate and find talent. We need guys like that, guys who can go find and identify players. Of course what we don't know is whether or not he can sell the program, but I get the feeling that Gustafson will find the players and Spencer and Petrie will sell the program to the recruits. Not a bad system. Of course this doesn't even take into consideration the fact that Gustafson probably has quite of baseball knowledge to pass along to the players, and I think you've got yourself a pretty good hire.
Overall feeling of the program? I mean, the baseball team hasn't played very well the last two seasons?
Despite the losing, I like where the program is headed. Myers is hitching his wagon to a young, enthusiastic coach and if I had my choice, I'd choose the same type of coach, rather than a re-tread. Spencer may not be able to win in Lubbock, but I'd still rather have a Spencer-like head coach than an older coach who is looking to finish out his career.
So overall, despite last year, I like where the program is headed, I think it's important that Spencer has pretty much told everyone on the team that no position is safe and once fall practices roll around there should be plenty of competition for every job. Spencer has put everyone on notice that his job is to play the guys who he can win with and I think he's bound and determined to do that.
What kind of legacy do you think that Larry Hays leaves at Texas Tech?
As I said above, I think it's incredible that Hays would be willing to step down as the head coach, especially when he ended his career on a losing note. Hays is a winner and he has 1,500 games to prove it, but the act of stepping down as the head coach, coming off of a losing season, when he had every opportunity to return and coach the team, if he wanted it, speaks more about the type of person he is than any one of those 1,500 wins. Hays put his pride aside for the better of Texas Tech. Those are the types of guys that you want around the program and leading Texas Tech going forward.