The players. They were what Augie Garrido really cared about when it came to coaching the game he loved.
The University of Texas said goodbye to the coaching icon on Monday and several men who played for him gave touching remembrances of their times with Garrido the coach, the man, the teacher and friend in a two-hour memorial service at the Erwin Center.
From All-Americans Mark Kotsay and Huston Street to the bullpen catcher on his final team, they all told stories of how Garrido impacted their lives.
Street, speaking through blinding tears, told of the phone calls he got from his former coach after each of his three sons were born. After leading Texas to its first College Series in nearly 20 years in 2002, Street went on to play for five MLB managers but counts Garrido as tops as far as impact on his career.
“The beauty of Coach was his ability to articulate what you needed at that moment,” Street said. “We were all the same to him. He was the best coach I’ve been around in my entire life.”
The true measure of a person is what’s said about them when they are gone. Garrido left a lasting legacy and the mourners assembled were there to pay ultimate respect to the coach who won a record 1,975 games along with five CWS titles. Even greats whose college careers ended long before Garrido arrived in Austin — Texas legends like Brooks Kieschnick, Keith Moreland, and Greg Swindell — showed up to honor his memory.
Yes, Mack Brown, DeLoss Dodds and Shaka Smart had wonderful stories, but each would agree to a man that Augie was all about the players. He went out of his way to take care of them during my time on the beat in the years 2003 through 2006. He credited them for wins and took the blame for losses.
Plus he never forgot to have a good time.
“He was a bit mischievous,” Dodds said. “He moved with no effort at all and for some reason, he always had his shirt tail out. And I liked that.”
There were a few nice stories and lots of tears shed on a somber day. Garrido’s long-time friend Kevin Costner even lent his voice to a tribute video produced by Longhorn Network.
The only thing we didn’t get was Augie telling jokes and getting chuckles from his listeners.
It’s what I will miss most about him. The laughs. So many laughs.
Tiger Woods shot a final-round 69 at the Masters, then told reporters he was looking forward to taking a break.
That’s the difference between 2018 Tiger and 2000 Tiger. While the youngsters who finished in the top 10 at golf’s most hallowed event are scheming on how to do even better in the next one, the man who once owned the sport is having to take a different approach at age 42.
It won’t be easy for Woods to get back to the top 10 because players like Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas all grew up loving him but aren’t afraid to take him apart at the seams on a course. They don’t fear Tiger, a malady that affected the PGA for the nearly 20 years.
The good news is Woods is apparently healthy after playing a ton of golf over the last month. The bad news is he has miles to go if he has any realistic expectation or running down these young guns who have taken over the sport.
As a casual observer, it wasn’t hard to figure out how things were playing out over the weekend time and time again. Even when Woods would hit a halfway decent approach, he would be looking at a 25-foot putt for birdie while the players near the top of the leaderboard were getting tap-ins. They were better.
At his age, Woods, currently ranked 88th in the world, will do well to crack the top 10. Look at the recent history in these majors. Reed captured his first green jacket at age 27 and became the fifth 20-something to win in the last nine majors. Only two — Sergio Garcia in the 2017 Masters and Henrik Stenson at the 2016 Open Championship — were 40 or older.
With the NBA playoffs starting this weekend, there’s no way a no-pressure-here attitude will fly in Houston, especially since the Rockets’ two best players — James Harden and Chris Paul — have less than stellar playoff reputations. Paul, a first-ballot Hall of Famer for my money, has never advanced past the conference semifinals while Harden has had some real head scratching performances in must-win games.
The West is packed and defending champion Golden State should have Stephen Curry back for the second round, but it has to be championship or bust for the top-seeded Rockets. Harden has had some monster postseason games but we’re all waiting to see if he can finally get the Rockets to the next level with the help of a premier point guard.
Word of caution, Rocket fans: Avoid San Antonio and Oklahoma City at all costs in the first round. Dangerous.