A baseball team is most successful when every player on the field works together to get win after win. However, the guys on the roster are far from the only ones responsible for a teams successes. D1 baseball is full of coaches who exemplify leadership and loyalty. In fact, all of the coaches on this list have led their teams for more than five years! After reading about the coaches below, you’ll know why their teams are so successful.
Mike Martin, BR-2 Florida State
Mike Martin (pictured above) has spent his entire coaching career with the Seminoles. He began as an assistant coach in 1975 and took over as head coach in 1980. FSU redshirt-freshman Mike Compton told HERO Sports, “it all starts with the head coach and [Martin’s] knowledge and expertise of the game of baseball is second to none.”
Although Florida State has yet to win a College World Series, Martin has led them there 15 times. Compton says it best when summing up Martin’s legacy, “his impact goes way beyond just the team. What he's been able to do for college baseball is pretty unbelievable. He's an icon not only for Florida State University and the Tallahassee community, but also for the sport of baseball."
Tom Walter, BR-74 Wake Forest
Tom Walter has coached many different teams during his career, but has called Wake Forest home since 2010. He has taken the Demon Deacons to the ACC Tournament three times in that period. Perhaps his most remarkable contribution as a coach happened in 2011, when he donated his own kidney to one his players, Kevin Jordan. In high school, Jordan was diagnosed with ANCA vasculitis, a condition that is harmful to the kidneys. His condition worsened while enrolled at Wake Forest, so much so that he needed a transplant in 2011. After hearing that none of Jordan’s family members were suitable donors, coach Walter volunteered his own, which was a match. The operation was successful and Jordan was able to play in the 2012 season, under the leadership of Walter, of course.
Brian O'Connor, BR-13 Virginia
Coach Brian O’Connor and his Virginia Cavaliers are the reigning College World Series champions. O’Connor has led the team to much success since he became head coach in 2003. He’s pretty much perfect in getting his team a slot in the post season, as the Cavaliers have been a part of 12 consecutive NCAA baseball tournaments. Included in the mix was the 2009 College World Series, which was Virginia’s first time reaching the Series. Besides the historic 2009 Series, the Cavaliers and Coach O’Connor played in the College World Series in 2011, 2014, and of course, 2015. There have only been a few teams in D1 baseball history who have gone on to win back-to-back College World Series, but if the Cavaliers have a chance to do it, their best chance is with Coach O’Connor.
Tim Corbin, BR-4 Vanderbilt
Corbin has a .680 record. / Photo Credit: Vanderbilt Athletics/Joe Howell
Coach Tim Corbin is in the midst of his 13th season with Vanderbilt, who have only lost one game so far this year. Corbin has been named the SEC Coach of the Year twice (2007, 2013) during his time with the Commodores. His team reached the Southeastern Conference Tournament both of those years as well, before leading his team to victory in the College World Series in 2014. That victory made school history, as it was the first men’s NCAA championship garnered by Vandy in any sport.
Augie Garrido, BR-83 Texas
The legendary Augie Garrido has been coaching baseball since 1966. He has been at the University of Texas longer (19 years) than with any other school throughout his career. He was the first D1 coach to reach 1,800 victories in 2011 and he has more wins than any other baseball coach in NCAA history. Garrido is no stranger to Omaha and the College World Series. He has been there 15 times, eight of those trips were with Texas. The Longhorns have won the Series two times. Texas isn’t having the best season this year and they haven’t reached the Series since 2014, but there’s no doubt that Garrido’s players respect the legend that they’re playing for.