The turnaround in all three major sports for the Texas Longhorns has been a long-time coming. Moreover, it should have never take this long with the facilities and resources available at The University of Texas. The Longhorns appear to have the right coaches in place to get all three programs back on a winning track. Let’s look at each one football, basketball, and baseball individually.
After three disastrous years under Charlie Strong, Texas hired the hottest-young coach in college football, Tom Herman. Coach Herman, has not only had to turnaround the football program, but turnaround the mindset of the football team at The University of Texas. He has had to change the mindset of it being ok to lose a game to it never being ok not win every game played.
In his first year as Head Coach he has changed the team’s mindset. Even in defeat they played hard and never gave up in a game. That is a huge difference from the previous few years, where at the first sign of adversity they folded like a cheap suit. That change is the result of many things. Strength Coach Yancy McKnight has a huge influence. He has increased the overall strength of the team and they again are built like football players. He also increased the endurance of the team, no longer are they gassed in the fourth quarter. Now it’s the other team that is gassed, while Texas delivering blows till the end of the game.
The players also have bought into Coach Tom Herman’s philosophy, style, and program. When you have everyone rowing the same way it makes a huge difference on and off the field.
Even though Texas had one of the most difficult strength of schedules, and totally decimate offensive line they are now bowl eligible. They lost to three Top 10 teams by a combined 11 points with two of the losses in overtime.
Now with a mindset of winning and a Top 5 recruiting class, Tom Herman has the Longhorns on the right track to a turnaround to winning and winning big. Winning out on Thanksgiving Day against Texas Tech and then a bowl-game victory would on solidify the turnaround.
The Texas basketball program had grown stale under previous coach Rick Barnes. Thus, Shaka Smart was brought in to rejuvenate and turnaround the basketball program. Year one looked promising under the new coach. Unfortunately year two he had some players leave early for the draft and it was a disaster.
To Coach Smart’s credit he had the number six ranked recruiting class in 2017 with four four-star players and one five-star player in the 7’0″ Mo Bamba. One of the four-star players was exactly what the doctor ordered in 6’1″ point guard Matt Coleman. Many of Texas’s problems in year two stemmed from the lack of a true point guard on the team.
Thus far Coach Smart has the number eleven ranked class for 2018 and is still in the running for other four and five star players. Most importantly just three games into the season Texas is dominating and playing championship level defense.
This could be the year that Texas makes a deep-run into March Madness and beyond.
It seems even when Texas had down years in other sports you could always count on the baseball team to do well. Even though Coach Augie Garrido had led the Longhorns to a National Championship in 2005 the team had been on a slow-steady decline. It was time for a change.
Texas hired David Pierce who had successfully had a turnaround at both Sam Houston State University and Tulane University. In just his first year he improved the win column by 14 and finished with a respectable 39-24 record. Thus earning a trip to the playoffs in year one of his tenure. He did it with basically the same team that the year before finished only 25-32.
More importantly the turnaround has also been in recruiting. In this area Coach Pierce has been lights out. Seeminly almost weekly he’s signing a top-ranked player to play for him at The University of Texas. He’s also signing these players not just for next year but following years as well.
This upcoming season with a solid core of returning pitchers along with key infielders Texas should advance or possibly host a Super-Regional. Once Coach Pierce gets a third year of his recruits Texas will be poised for a return to Omaha.
Finally Longhorn fans, the turnaround in each major sport is happening and the future looks bright.
Cary Michael Cox