Texas A&M Baseball Coaching Profile: Candidates To Replace Jim Schlossnagle


Image credit: (Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire)

Jim Schlossnagle made the stunning move from Texas A&M to Texas on Tuesday, leaving College Station after three seasons as head coach.

The Aggies fell one win shy of the national championship this season under Schlossnagle. It was the best season in program history and was the second time in three seasons that they reached Omaha.

Schlossnagle seemed well on his way to building A&M into a juggernaut. Despite long being a high-level program, they’ve never had a run as successful as the last three years. The task ahead now is to find someone to build on that success. Schlossnagle is just the second coach to ever leave his post in the wake of a CWS runner-up finish. He joins South Carolina’s Ray Tanner, who was promoted to athletic director after he took the Gamecocks to a third straight CWS championship series before losing to Arizona.

A&M hired athletic director Trev Alberts from Nebraska in March and he now has a massive hire to make. A&M took a gut punch from its archrival. It was already plenty committed to baseball before that happened, but there is sure to be extra motivation in the wake of everything that happened this week.

A&M is a premier job. It has a lot of money to throw at baseball in all facets–coaching salary pool (the A&M staff made well north of $2 million in 2024); name, image and likeness opportunities for the players and facility upgrades (Blue Bell Park is scheduled for an $80 million renovation).

Between the level of investment, the fan base, the access to in-state talent in baseball-mad Texas and its status as member of the SEC, Texas A&M is one of the better jobs in the country. Expect A&M to act accordingly–and quickly. In the wake of the coaching move, several of the Aggies’ best players entered the transfer portal, including All-American outfielder Jace LaViolette and SEC freshman of the year Gavin Grahovac. Getting a new head coach in quickly to try and either hold some of those players in College Station or rebuild the roster is a must, especially with the MLB draft less than three weeks away.

The Candidates

Cliff Godwin, head coach, East Carolina: Is this finally the job that gets Godwin to leave his alma mater? He’s been in the mix for a lot of SEC jobs over the years, from Alabama to LSU to Mississippi State. It hasn’t worked out at any of them, some because he hasn’t been willing to leave Greenville, some because he wasn’t the pick. Godwin really wants to take ECU to the CWS, which it has never reached. But college sports are at an inflection point and the difference between being in the SEC and being in the American Athletic Conference has never been starker. Godwin has a strong resume and has won a lot at ECU. Maybe now is the time for him to move.

Dan Heefner, head coach, Dallas Baptist: Heefner has built DBU into a power. The Patriots have made the NCAA Tournament in 10 straight seasons and won at least 40 games eight times in that run. He has done all of that with a program that’s the only Division I sport at the school, which otherwise plays in Division II. There is little doubt he’d win big at a school like A&M, but he is also pretty entrenched at DBU.

Brian O’Connor, head coach, Virginia: O’Connor signed a contract extension two weeks ago, taking him through 2031. He has spent 21 years at Virginia, building it into a power and in 2015 won the national championship. So, what are we doing with him on this list? If O’Connor were to make such a leap at this stage of his career, it would probably say a lot about where the ACC stands relative to the SEC in the race for the national championship. If he believes the SEC offers a better shot at the title or he wants to compete in the conference–like Schlossnagle and Jay Johnson in recent years–he’d be a strong hire. But getting him out of Charlottesville is not going to be easy.

Skip Johnson, head coach, Oklahoma: Johnson has deep Texas ties. Those maybe run a little too deep in Austin, considering recent events. He began his career at Navarro (Texas) JC before moving to Texas to be Augie Garrido’s pitching coach for a decade. He has done an impressive job at Oklahoma since taking over after the 2017 season, leading the Sooners to a runner-up finish at the 2022 CWS and this spring winning the Big 12, Oklahoma’s first conference title in more than 25 years.

Nick Mingione, head coach, Kentucky: Mingione has taken Kentucky to new heights as a program and this spring led the Wildcats to their first ever CWS appearance. He’s quite happy at Kentucky, but there’s also no getting around the fact that A&M has better infrastructure. It probably isn’t a no-brainer for Mingione to take the job. The way he’s built and won in the SEC, though, makes him worth a long look.

Mark Wasikowski, head coach, Oregon: Wasikowski has done excellent work at Oregon, leading the Ducks to four straight NCAA Tournaments. He has taken them to back-to-back super regionals and A&M got an up-close look at his work just a few weeks ago when it swept Oregon in the College Station Super Regional. He’s more associated with the West Coast after spending most of the last two decades at Arizona and Oregon, but that has worked out fine for LSU and Jay Johnson.

Dan Fitzgerald, head coach, Kansas: Fitzgerald spent nine years on staff at DBU before one season at LSU. Kansas then hired him in 2022. In two years, he has executed an impressive turnaround with the Jayhawks and this spring led them to a 31-23 record, their best winning percentage since 2013. Fitzgerald wouldn’t be as splashy as some, but A&M would be getting a coach on the upswing with SEC experience, Texas ties and a track record of winning.  

Matt Deggs, head coach, Louisiana: Deggs has a strong track record as a head coach. He led the Ragin’ Cajuns to the Sun Belt title this year, their first since 2016. He also was successful at Sam Houston State, where he in 2017 led the Bearkats to super regionals. Off the diamond, Deggs has a unique backstory. Once a fast-rising assistant coach at A&M, Deggs was fired in 2011 when his drinking problem spiraled out of control. He was out of the game for a year before the late Tony Robichaux gave him a second chance at Louisiana. Deggs took that chance and ran with it, becoming head coach at Sam Houston two years later. He has been very open about his journey and won a lot along the way. A&M is as familiar with him as anyone.

Will Bolt, head coach, Nebraska: Does this happen? Probably not. But given the history of both Alberts and Bolt, it’s worth weighing. Bolt had two stints as an assistant at A&M, totaling seven years. His alma mater Nebraska hired him as its head coach after the 2019 season. In four seasons, he is 137-97-1, won a Big Ten title and has twice made the NCAA Tournament. Alberts was not the AD who hired him, but he was his boss for three years. There’s a lot of familiarity, Bolt is a Texas native and he knows what it takes to win in College Station.

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