This past Friday night, June 26, Texas Tech baseball lost one of it’s most influential head coaches. Kal Segrist died at the age of 84. Originally, this week’s History Lesson article was going to be about the 2014 College World Series team. Last year, Kal was seen at many of the games during Tech’s postseason run. More than 30 years had passed since he had been the skipper for the Red Raiders, but he was there supporting the team he loved.
Not only was Kal a member of the 1950 national champion Texas Longhorns’ squad, he was named to the CWS All-Tournament team after he led that year’s CWS in home runs. After his collegiate career ended, he signed with the New York Yankees and had his Major League Baseball debut in 1952. Prior to the 1955 season he was involved in the largest MLB trade (17 players) and continued his pro career for one more season with the Baltimore Orioles.
In 1965, he joined the Red Raiders’ baseball staff under head coach Berl Huffman, and 3 seasons later was named head baseball coach. From 1968-1983, Kal Segrist led the Tech baseball program to 317 wins, which included a 32-win season in 1976. His 317 wins are second most in Texas Tech history, behind only Larry Hays. His jersey number (24) was retired by Texas Tech in 2010.
In addition to his coaching accomplishments, he also was also instrumental in building the Tech baseball program. Tech had limited resources in his early days. During a road series in Houston, Tech did not have the money to pay for housing. That was no problem. The Segrists allowed the players to stay at their ranch in Hico. He helped design the current ballpark for Texas Tech, Rip Griffin Park. A former player of his, John Owens, said of his collegiate coach, "He did as much for Tech baseball, and really, college baseball as probably any coach out there."
Viva The Matadors’ prayers and thoughts go out to his family, friends, and all the young men he helped mold.