Troy Tulowitzki Retires, Joins Texas Coaching Staff
In a surprising turn of events Thursday, five-time All-Star Troy Tulowitzki announced his retirement from the major leagues and, a few hours later, was introduced as the newest member of the coaching staff at Texas by head coach David Pierce.
Tulowitzki started at shortstop on Opening Day for the Yankees but played in just five games this season before going on the injured list with a left calf strain. Injuries have dogged him for the last few seasons, and he missed all of the 2018 season after playing just 66 games in 2017.
Now, Tulowitzki becomes perhaps the biggest star to move directly from the major leagues to a college coaching position. He will join the Longhorns’ staff as the volunteer assistant coach, replacing Phil Haig.
In a statement released through the Yankees announcing his retirement, Tulowitzki said he would continue to be involved in baseball.
“While this chapter is now over, I look forward to continuing my involvement in the game that I love . . . instructing and helping young players to achieve their goals and dreams,” he said. “I’m saying goodbye to Major League Baseball, but I will never say goodbye to the game I love.”
Tulowitzki was an All-American at Long Beach State before the Rockies drafted him No. 7 overall in 2005. He quickly became one of the game’s brightest stars, finishing second in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2007 and helping Colorado win the National League pennant that fall. In addition to his five All-Star Game appearances, he won two Gold Gloves and finished in the top five in MVP voting twice.
While it is not unheard of for former big league stars to join college coaching staffs, they invariably have a connection to the school. Eric Wedge, for instance, this summer was hired as head coach by Wichita State, his alma mater. Greg Maddux is the pitching coach at UNLV, where his son, Chase, pitches. Scott Rolen is the director of player development at Indiana, a return to his home state.
But Tulowitzki, a California native, doesn’t have any significant Texas ties. Pierce said in a statement after spending time with Tulowitzki, he came away impressed.
“Tulo and I had an opportunity to spend some time together and I came away so impressed with his desire to teach and his excitement to become a part of Texas Baseball,” Pierce said. “Longhorn legends Huston Street and Drew Stubbs gave great endorsements on Tulo’s behalf. His knowledge goes without saying but his passion and energy for the development of young men left such a meaningful impression on me. He will be a great addition to our staff.”
With Tulowitzki’s hire, assistant coach Sean Allen, who also serves as recruiting coordinator, will change roles to become Texas’ pitching coach. It’s a move many around the game have made, including Pierce, who did so when he worked under Wayne Graham at Rice.
Pierce will hope the changes on staff help reinvigorate the Longhorns after a disappointing and injury-plagued season. Texas this spring went 27-27 and finished in last place in the Big 12, a surprising fall after reaching the College World Series in 2018.
Now, with Tulowitzki helping to mentor their hitters, the Longhorns will look to get back on track in 2020.