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TCU Baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle leaving for Texas A&M

The Horned Frogs’ head coach has held the position since 2004.

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Florida vs TCU Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

One of the longest tenured and most successful coaches in TCU Athletics history is leaving Fort Worth.

Three years after nearly leaving for Mississippi State, Jim Schlossnagle is officially packing his bags, accepting a contract that was rumored to be 7 years and $1.75 million annually (plus incentives) — though that is still speculation — from Texas A&M. He signed a contract extension is 2016 that was believed to be six years at $1.4 million annually. Long enamored with the respect the SEC receives nationally in baseball and the crowds that turn out in droves for games, Schloss is leaving the meat grinder of the Big 12 for another meat grinder in the SEC West, taking the big money down I-45 to College Station, where he is likely to be greeted with bubbles and the ping of class rings banging on aluminum bleachers.

Don’t get me wrong: this is an absolute coup for the Aggies. In a switch on “if you can’t beat them, join them,” the Aggies decided “if you can’t beat them, take their coach”, stealing away the man that led the Horned Frogs to victories over A&M in Omaha and Houston, and eliminated the Aggies three times in the NCAA Tournament. Though some message board posters called him a B+ candidate, he’s absolutely a home run hire for a program replacing legendary Rob Childress, who led the Aggies to four conference titles and two trips to Omaha but was never able to break through and win a College World Series game in his 15 years at the helm. A&M missed the postseason for the first time in the last 14 years, breaking the nation’s longest active streak at 13 seasons. The Aggies have been to Omaha just six times in their entire history — a number Schloss nearly matched at TCU alone.

For TCU, replacing the man who led them to five College World Series berths — including a streak of four straight — and regular season and conference tournament titles in 2021 won’t be easy. But Athletic Director Jeremiah Donati might not have to look outside his own dugout. Pitching Coach and recruiting ace Kirk Saarloos has turned down multiple opportunities to run his own program over the years, and the scuttlebutt is because he’s been the coach in waiting since the moment Jim Schlossnagle started looking around in 2018. Though ADJD and TCU should just go ahead and announce Skipper Saarloos Wednesday morning, it seems as if the university is prepared to conduct a full national search. Based on Kendall Roger’s reporting, don’t expect Schloss to bring any of his staff with him to College Station — he and Ross Bjork are swinging for the fences and money-whipping an elite level staff of assistants.

Schlossnagle filled the trophy case in Fort Worth, collecting seven Mountain West Conference regional season titles (the Frogs dominated the MWC the entire time they were in it), three Big 12 regular season titles, 15 NCAA tournament appearances, seven Super Regional appearances, and the five College World Series appearances. Schloss was 693-330 at TCU all time and 55-36 in the postseason, and celebrated his 750th career win in 2021. He was National Coach of the Year in 2010 and 2016, and won conference coach of the year honors an impressive eight times. Known as much for his work off the field as on, Schlossnagle leaves a lasting legacy in Fort Worth. Graduation rates, players making it to professional ball, iconic images like his relationship with Micah Ahern, and of course the stadium improvements, administrative and player development buildings will forever remind Frog fans of what he did for Fort Worth.

And please don’t get it twisted — TCU could have l, and likely did, match his offer at A&M. If this was a play for an extension, a raise, or money for his assistants, Jim Schlossnagle would have gotten whatever he asked for, you can bet on it. This was him wanting a clean slate, a fresh start, a new challenge. Just a couple ago, he shot down speculation that he was looking to leave, saying “I have no interest in any other job,” but we all know that the stronger a candidate denies a job, the more likely they’re looking seriously into it.

While replacing a man who has earned legendary status himself won’t be easy, TCU Baseball is well positioned for a successful future and another run at Omaha in 2022 — behind whoever is watching from the dugout perch.