After 22 seasons and more than 1,500 wins, Larry Hays is stepping down as head coach of the Texas Tech baseball team.
"You're looking at someone who is really thankful. I'm thankful to Texas Tech for allowing me to get to do this, this long," Hays said.
Hays made the announcement Monday morning. He finishes his career at Tech with 1,509 wins and the title of fourth most winningest coach in NCAA history.
Before going to Tech, Hays coached for 16 years at Lubbock Christian. In April of 1999, the school honored his career by re-naming their baseball field "Hays Field". It's a legacy that fans, players, and school leaders say is hard to watch come to an end.
"I expected him to come back at least one more year. We all knew it was coming, but I didn't expect it to come this soon," TTU Pitcher AJ Ramos said.
Ramos will return to the Red Raider baseball team a senior.
"He was going to give me a chance, and that's what he did," Ramos said.
After three years under coach Hays, Ramos says he's learned a lot.
"Everything you want in a great man, that's what he is," Ramos said.
"Ladies and gentleman, it is my honor and privilege to introduce to you for the final time as the head coach of the Red Raiders, my very dear friend Larry Hays," TTU Associate Media Relations Director Blayne Beal said.
Hays took the podium Monday morning without regret, except one.
"Thank my coaches. You're not going to be able to get one regret out of me, but one, and that is I didn't get to have the fun of having a good run with you guys as I did with my other staff," Hays said.
The Red Raiders finished last in the Big 12 this year. That gave Hays only his second losing season since 1987. Despite that, Ramos is honored to be part of a legacy spanning 38-years right here in Lubbock.
"That's something I'm going to tell my kids and my grand-kids and say hey, see that man up there, I played for that man," Ramos said.
Hays will remain on staff at Texas Tech during the next four years to spear head the renovation process at Dan Law Field.
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