When the Gophers and Longhorns swap lineup cards by home plate this weekend in Austin, Texas, two coaches with over 3,000 combined college wins will shake hands.
Minnesota head coach John Anderson and Texas head coach Augie Garrido have spent almost 80 combined years roaming college dugouts, and this weekend, the two skippers will reunite on the field again.
“It’s a great challenge,” Anderson said. “It’s fun to be able to coach against someone who’s obviously had the success he’s had.”
Garrido has the most wins in NCAA baseball history, with 1,923 at five different schools.
Anderson joins Garrido among the career leaders in college wins — all of which came from his time at Minnesota.
The two have a “friendship from afar,” as Anderson described it. And they’ve been around each other for most of their careers.
The two were both assistant coaches for USA Baseball in 1989-90, and they faced off in 13 games when Garrido was the head coach at Illinois from 1988-90.
The coaches also found themselves in opposite dugouts two years ago, when the Gophers hosted Texas at the Metrodome.
It was the first time the Longhorns visited Minneapolis in their history, Anderson said.
The Gophers took the first game of the series 5-1, but they lost the second game in 10 innings and fell again in the series finale.
“I thought we played really well,” Anderson said. “I’m disappointed we didn’t win that second game because we had a chance at the end that got away from us.”
Redshirt senior shortstop Michael Handel hit .400 as a sophomore during that series, and he said he remembers the coaching match-up vividly.
“Just knowing Augie Garrido’s past, his accomplishments, I know the first time they matched up when I was here was pretty exciting, just seeing two legendary coaches go at it,” Handel said. “It was pretty neat.”
Anderson said the second game of the series was the type Garrido enjoyed: a close one.
“He loves the one-run and two-run game,” Anderson said. “I think he gets bored with the blowouts. He loves to manage the close game and have his kids compete in close games and watch how they handle that.”
Anderson said the keys to Garrido’s success over the years are the fundamentals; he drills them into his players.
“Coach Garrido’s teams have always been noted, wherever he’s been, to be outstanding on the mound and play defense,” Anderson said. “If you don’t do those two things, you don’t play for Coach Garrido.”
Of course, the Gophers know their head coach is pretty well accomplished himself.
“It’s very cool,” junior second baseman Connor Schaefbauer said. “Both coaches’ success has been well documented, so as a kid playing in that game, you realize you’re around two of the best ever [coaches] at this level. I think that adds a lot to the game; more than just playing a ranked team, you’re playing a great coach.”