Texas Tech Head Baseball Coach Larry Hays, the winningest coach in school history, announced today that he is stepping down as the skipper of the Red Raiders, a position that he has held for the last 22 years.
Hays, the fourth-winningest coach in NCAA history with 1,509 wins, will keep close ties with Texas Tech Baseball over the next four years as he will remain on staff the final year of his contract (which expires in 2009) and three additional years. He will serve the program in a developmental role and will help assist with the renovation process at Dan Law Field.
"Larry (Hays) has accomplished a lot of great things in baseball here at Texas Tech," said Director of Athletics Gerald Myers. "He has led us to all four of our conference titles and all nine of our NCAA Tournament appearances. Larry is one of the all-time winningest coaches in the game and the winningest in our school history. We appreciate the time and effort over the years that he has given to our baseball program. Texas Tech is considered to be a strong and viable program in the Big 12 Conference thanks to his leadership. He has been a strong ambassador for Texas Tech University and this community for many years and we look forward to him staying on our staff where he will assist in development and the renovation and upgrading of Dan Law Field."
Dan Spencer, current associate head coach, was named the head coach designate back on April 29 and will be formerly introduced as the eighth head coach in school history once the final details to his contract have been finalized.
His retirement from coaching signals the end to one of the most storied coaching careers in both school and NCAA history as he just completed his 22nd season as the skipper of the Red Raiders and his 38th as a collegiate head coach. The 22 seasons that he spent as the head coach at Texas Tech ranks second behind Marsha Sharp who led the Lady Raiders for 24 years. Hays and Sharp were part of an unprecedented Southwest Conference season back in 1995-96 in which all four major sports took home conference titles (football, men's and women's basketball and baseball). He currently ranks fourth on the NCAA all-time wins list and his 38 years of head coaching experience ranks third on the active coaches list behind Texas' Augie Garrido and Bradley's Dewey Kalmer.
On April 2 of this year, his name was forever documented in the history books as he became just the fourth coach in NCAA history to reach the 1,500-win plateau. The historic win was witnessed by a home crowd at Dan Law Field as the Red Raiders defeated Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 10-5. He joined Texas' Augie Garrido, Wichita State's Gene Stephenson and Florida State's Mike Martin as the only coaches in NCAA Division I to accomplish that feat.
Success has been the norm for Hays during his tenure with the Red Raiders as he led the school to its only two regular-season conference championships (Southwest Conference in 1995 and Big 12 in 1997) and two tournament championships (Southwest Conference in 1996 and Big 12 in 1998). Under his guidance, he led Tech to nine consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, including the first-ever back in 1995 when the Red Raiders were sent to the Midwest Regional in Wichita, Kan. Of those nine NCAA appearances, three were held at Dan Law Field as Tech hosted NCAA Regionals in 1996, 1997 and 1999.
That success did not come easy for Hays as he inherited a program with an overall losing record (550-576) in 1987 and turned into a winner just two seasons later. Over his career at Tech, he would only endure two losing seasons and the program now boasts an overall mark of 1,365-1,054-9.
During his time as skipper, he has coached 36 All-Southwest Conference performers, 18 First Team All-Big 12 recipients, 14 consensus All-Americans and six USA Baseball National Team selections. His players have also gone on to great success in professional baseball as to date 84 of his former players have been drafted by Major League Baseball and 17 have gone on to play at the Major League level.
Hays is also highly regarded by his coaching peers. He has been honored as "Coach of the Year" following nine different seasons over his entire career including the 1997 season when he was named the Big 12 Coach of the Year by the coaches, the Dallas Morning News and the Austin American Statesman.
On Nov. 15, 2001, he became the first collegiate baseball coach in the state to be inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame and was enshrined with fellow inductees Will Clark, Doug Drabek, former umpire Durwood Merrill, Ruben Sierra, Jack Lindsay and Curtis Walker. He has also been inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame.
Prior to becoming the head coach at Texas Tech in 1987, he spent 16 years as the head coach at Lubbock Christian University where he is the all-time wins leader with 695 and led the Chaps to the 1983 NAIA National Championship.
He and his wife Nell just recently celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary and are the proud parents of five children and 11 grandchildren.
Pete Christy will bring you the details on NewsChannel 11 at Five, Six & Ten.
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