Texas Baseball Coach Runs Into Trouble

By Pam Robinson

Jan 19, 2009 10:52am

ABC News On Campus reporter Joseph Millares blogs: Imagine my surprise this weekend to read headlines talking about a DWI arrest of a member of the University of Texas athletic program. I thought, "OK, which football player was stumbling around Sixth Street or speeding through downtown Austin this time?"  With six incidents over the past four years involving Longhorn football players, it’s a question sports writers here in central Texas smugly ask themselves.     So imagine my surprise to learn that the person arrested for DWI was none other than  UT’s baseball manager, Augie Garrido, the winningest coach in Division I baseball with 1, 668 wins in 40 seasons.  The arrest comes a little more than a month before the season-opener against the University of Illinois-Chicago here in Austin.     Men’s athletic director  DeLoss Dodds  has suspended Garrido with pay pending further investigation, and he said in a statement that Garrido "realizes he made a serious mistake … and will act quickly to do what’s right."     Garrido was pulled over by Austin police for not having his headlights on, and though he refused a breath and blood test, Garrido confessed to have had five drinks, according to the Austin-American Statesman.      There are a couple of things Texas Longhorns fans have grown accustomed to in recent years.  One, winning seasons and championship runs have helped catapult the Texas athletic program into the elite of college sports.  The Texas men’s program won both the baseball and football NCAA championships in 2005 with basketball wrapping up a regular season Big 12 Championship and an Elite 8 appearance during March Madness that same year.   Not to mention, UT had 23 athletes and five coaches represent seven countries in Beijing last summer.     The second is run-ins with local law enforcement.  It began with a football player, who called the police to report a break-in on his car, only to have police find a backpack with about 5 pounds of marijuana.  Weapons charges for two more football players came the week before a date with Troy Smith and the Ohio State Buckeyes in 2006.  Then,  two summers ago, another gridder was arrested on DWI charges, and yet another on the same charge this past fall.     With programs fighting to be the best on the field and gain the edge in recruiting, having a clean program is imperative.  Since the magical 2005 season, Texas athletics have cooled off a bit.  The football team missed out on BCS bowls for two years, along with a two-game losing streak to rival Texas A&M.  The men’s basketball team has made it to the Big XII Championship twice and lost to Kansas both times.  The baseball team hasn’t been able to make it out of the regional rounds of the College World Series since then either. Though Texas has had trouble corralling players at times, the coaches have always represented the school and athletic programs with class.  Garrido, football head coach Mack Brown, basketball coach Rick Barnes and swimming coach Eddie Reese are all widely recognized within the university as well as the local community. In an unrelated interview I had with women’s AD Chris Plonsky earlier this year, she talked about the goal of UT athletics, saying, "Our goal is to always be in the elite.  Elite! Elite! Elite!  If we are not elite on and off the field, then I’m not doing my job, and it trickles down to my staff and coaches.  And I think (Texas athletes and coaches) understand that there is no exception to that."     The pressure on these athletes and coaches at elite programs is so high that we forget that they are people as vulnerable as we are.      The key is to look at how these athletes and coaches bounce back from adversity, and judge them by how they do their jobs, which, according to Plonsky, is to always be elite.

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