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What new Longhorns head baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle said during his introductory press conference

What new Longhorns head baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle said during his introductory press conference

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Jim Schlossnagle spoke for the first time as Texas' new head baseball coach Wednesday after being plucked from rivals Texas A&M following their Men's College World Series runner-up finish, and he was steadfast in explaining why he left the Aggies so abruptly.

His friendship with Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte, stemming from the eight years they spent together at TCU from 2010-17, was the most important aspect of the move. While they talked "all the time," during the season as friends typically do, he said Del Conte didn't mention the Texas job to him until Monday after the Aggies' 6-5 loss to Tennessee in Game 3 of the Men's College World Series finals. He said he wasn't even thinking about another job.

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Jim Schlossnagle, right, and his assistant coaches arrive for a news conference where he was introduced as the new NCAA college head baseball coach at Texas, Wednesday, June 26, 2024, in Austin, Texas. Schlossnagle left rival program Texas A&M. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

"I was invested in Texas A&M through the last pitch of the national championship game. It never waivered, not one second. I don't care what anybody else says," he said. "Chris had a coach, and these rumors have always been around me because of my relationship with Chris. I can't control that."

He made a similar choice by leaving TCU after 18 seasons for the job at Texas A&M in 2022, saying that the move fit both his personal and professional timeline. Like after he left TCU, Schlossnagle said he regrets not being able to speak with the entire team before leaving College Station. He said the timing of the changes prevented a full team meeting, and with the time he had to accept the jobs, rules prevented him from talking to former players.

He eventually spoke with his TCU players when the Aggies and Horned Frogs played a nonconference series the following year, and he said he's talked to some of his former Aggies players.

"There are decisions in life where you don't get to choose the timing," he said. "You don't get to meet with your team as you would like, and for that, I'm sorry."

Schlossnagle's contract had a buyout of $1.3 million but it doubled if he took another job within the state of Texas, and he said that was specifically designed for if he took a job with the Longhorns because of his previous relationship with Del Conte. He said he also understands the backlash he's currently facing from the Aggies' fan base.

"If I had left Texas A&M for another school in a different part of the country, the interesting text messages and other messages I got probably wouldn't have happened," he said. "I get it. You can't ask for your fan base to support you and be passionate like the 12th Man always has been — but really was this year, our crowds were awesome every game — and expect everyone to be OK with a coach leaving for its rival school. All I can say is that I have a career, too. I have a personal life as well. I have goals and I simply felt like, no negative at A&M, just the positives of the alignment and frankly my relationship with Chris. There wasn't anybody at A&M that I couldn't trust, but I just know I can trust Chris. As hard as that decision was, I just couldn't walk away from it."

Texas A&M athletic director Trev Alberts posted this statement Monday on X about Schlossnagle's departure:

After our baseball team arrived back in College Station earlier today, Jim informed me of his desire to leave Texas A&M. While we are certainly disappointed, we are grateful for his contributions in helping our baseball program reach unprecedented heights.  Baseball success is important to everyone associated with Texas A&M, we will not stop in our pursuit of excellence and our commitment to baseball will not waiver. "On behalf of Texas A&M Athletics, we wish Jim and his family well as they move on to another challenge. "We will find a great leader and excellent coach to head up this proud Aggie baseball program

Trev Alberts, Texas A&M athletic director

In three seasons with the Aggies, Schlossnagle qualified for the MCWS twice and this year the program went the deepest in its history. After winning the first game of the championship series 9-5, the Aggies were seven outs away from closing out a Game 2 victory and hoisting the trophy until the mighty Volunteers offense roared late to even the series. His record in College Station finished at 135-62, and in his 23 years as a head coach at UNLV, TCU and A&M, he's won 946 games and hasn't had a losing season.

Apology issued to TexAgs reporter after MCWS postgame comments

In his opening statement, Schlossnagle apologized to TexAgs reporter Richard Zane about how he handled Zane's question about the Texas job. Schlossnagle called Zane's question "selfish" and "unfair," and went on a small rant that ended in an emphatic, "Write that!" comment. Schlossnagle said he "wish he would have answered that better."

"Richard is a young reporter and he asked the obvious question. In the moment, 30 minutes after the last pitch, all I could think about was our players and I wasn't really in the mood to talk about myself or the future, so I apologize for that to Richard."

Jim Schlossnagle, center, is presented a jersey by Texas Athletic Director Chris Del Conte, left, and Texas president Jay Hartzell, right, after he was introduced as the new NCAA college head baseball coach at Texas, Wednesday, June 26, 2024, in Austin, Texas. Schlossnagle left rival program Texas A&M. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

When asked about how much more his departure adds to the A&M/UT rivalry, he smirked and said, "I bet they'll have some pretty interesting things planned," when the Aggies and Longhorns play their first SEC series.

"I didn't do this to spite anybody," he continued. "When you go into an SEC environment, it's already crazy. We'll have to be prepared physically and mentally to handle that."

Where the Longhorns go from here

Three of his assistants are set to join the Longhorns — Nolan Cain, Michael Earley and Max Weiner — and he said that was part of the agreement with Del Conte.

"It was a package deal," Schlossnagle said. "It was the most important part, other than working with Chris," he said. "I wanted to bring a few more guys, but it just wasn't there."

According to Kendall Rogers of D1Baseball.com, three of Texas A&M's top players — All-American outfielder Jace LaViolette, freshman third baseman Gavin Grahovac and outfielder Hayden Schott — have all entered the transfer portal. It's unknown if they'll follow Schlossnagle to Texas or go somewhere else, but as talented as they all are, they'll be impactful for the program they choose next.

Schlossnagle said he wants returning Texas players to come back and "feel good about the staff."

"I want to let them know that we want them here and to build a good program around them," he said.

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