BATON ROUGE, La. — The college baseball community was hit with a huge loss on Thursday with the news of the death of legendary Cal St. Fullerton and Texas coach Augie Garrido.
Garrido won five national championships and is the winningest coach in college baseball history as a product of his nearly 50 years in the business. LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri reacted to the news on Wednesday, telling the stories of the first time he met Garrido, and the biggest cross-over moments of their professional careers, when Mainieri’s LSU squad faced Garrido’s Longhorns in the 2009 College World Series final.
Below, without edit, are Mainieri’s full comments on Garrido’s passing, and what Garrido meant to Mainieri:
What LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri said about Augie Garrido:
“One of the real icons in the history of college baseball, Augie Garrido, most recently the head coach at the University of Texas, before that Cal St. Fullerton and Illinois for a short period, passed away this morning. What a tremendous loss for college baseball as a whole. It affected me personally quite a bit. I know a couple of days ago that he had had a stroke and was in a coma and he wasn’t looking good. But when the harsh reality comes true, it just makes you reflect a lot on how short life is for everybody and also how people come and they pass through your life and they make a major impact and then they go on to a better place. All you have is memories.
Just a couple quick thoughts about my personal memories of Augie. The very first weekend that I ever coached at Notre Dame, Augie was the coach at Fullerton and we played a tournament at Cal St. Fullerton. Believe it or not the first game we played Texas. The second game I coached for Notre Dame was against Cal St. Fullerton and against Augie. He had an unbelievable team, they won the national championship that year, I think they were 57-5 or something, and they beat us 20-5 in Game 2 of my time at Notre Dame. I remember going back to my hotel room that night scratching my head saying ‘What the heck did I get myself in to?’ But that was the first interaction I had with Augie.
Fast forward to 2009 and we met in the national championship series. I just remembered telling my wife before we even went to Omaha that if we make the finals, I hope we play Texas from the other bracket. I remember my wife saying to me ‘Why? Do you think we can beat them?’ But I said I just think the University of Texas and Augie Garrido represent everything that’s great and excellence about college baseball. If we’re going to win a national championship, my first – hopefully we’ll have another one down the road here somewhere – if should be against somebody like Augie Garrido. I know that he and Skip were tied with 5 apiece and people were really hoping that Augie wouldn’t pass Skip, so I felt a lot of responsibility with that series that weekend.
But Augie was so graceful and I really enjoyed the competition against him. Before Game 2, Augie was walking by our dugout because he had gone to the batting cages that were behind the third-base dugout at Rosenblatt. As he was walking past, I reached out and I said ‘Hey Aug, how bout if you let our photographer take a photograph of the two of us?’ It’s something that I cherish, that I have this photograph of Augie and I from when we were competing in the national championship. Of course we were fortunate enough to win in the three-game series. And I’m sitting in my office flooded by all these congratulatory notes and all this mail that’s coming in, then all of a sudden I see this envelope with a return address from University of Texas baseball. So I went ‘I wonder what this is?’ I opened it up and I had this personal, hand-written note from Augie. It really affected me an awful lot. Here’s a man that after a very disappointing series, now I know how he felt after losing last year against Florida, for him to sit down and write a personal note to me I just thought was about as cool and class a thing as you can do. I called him and thanked him and we had a nice conversation on the phone and he was very gracious in his comments.
So I took that picture that I had done and also the note and I had it framed.”
Augie Garrido died Thursday morning after complications from a stroke he suffered earlier in the week. Less than a month ago, Garrido was in Baton Rouge to throw out the first pitch before a game played between LSU and Texas. Alongside Garrido stood Skip Bertman, the legendary LSU baseball coach and one of two other men to win 5 national championship trophies as a head coach.
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