Schloss's Machiavellian move proving too shady even for Longhorn fans

Longhorn fans made this out to be everything that they wanted when it went down. But now it looks like they're getting more than they bargained for.
University of Texas baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle hugs Athletic Director Chris Del Conte at his introductory news conference at the Frank Denius Family University Hall of Fame Wednesday June 26, 2024.
University of Texas baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle hugs Athletic Director Chris Del Conte at his introductory news conference at the Frank Denius Family University Hall of Fame Wednesday June 26, 2024. / Jay Janner/American-Statesman / USA

Texas fans got what they wanted with Jim Schlossnagle hire. So why are they afraid to face it?

When the news about Jim Schlossnagle broke a couple of days ago, I had a couple of thoughts. First was something along the lines of "wow, it really happened!" Then, it was "I really timed that last post poorly, didn't I?"

Just a few hours earlier, I had put up a post detailing some reasons that I thought Schlossnagle would not be leaving Texas A&M for Texas. Of course, being mealy-mouthed in your rhetoric does little to capture hearts and minds, so I was pretty emphatic here and there; not inauthentic, just adding a little bombast.

As you might expect, in the wake of the fact that he actually took the job, I've certainly been taking my lumps for this article. You'll get no complaints about that from me, of course—it comes with the territory when you put yourself out there like that!

In the process of all this, though, I've noticed something interesting. As Longhorn fans flood the Facebook comments of the post with their own highly creative take on one of roughly three themes—either "this aged well!" (very original), "who are this guy's sources?" (don't have any and never said I did), or "then how come he's our coach now?" (great point)—they have been eager to pounce on any posts I've made about the situation.

Now, I welcome the engagement and enjoy the back-and-forth associated with the rivalry. But as I've detailed the public ridicule of Schlossnagle following these events, I've seen a few talking points from the Longhorn faithful that I can't help but feel puzzled by.

You see, I'd think that—in a way—this is everything the Longhorns wanted. Your greatest rival gets to a huge stage in this sport, and you spoil it all by stealing away their coach. From what I had been reading on the Texas boards, I thought this was exactly how they wanted things to go!

But as the story went national—as the spotlight grows more and more intense—a strange phenomenon has manifested itself. There is a portion of Longhorn fans—a portion that, anecdotally, does not appear to be insignificant—who are in denial about one part of this process or another.

The story that Schloss and CDC have cooked up about not engaging in discussions on the coaching opportunity until after the season is all well and good, but we have solid reporting to the contrary. This was a move that, from all indications, was in the works for quite some time, such that the decision in a broad sense was made prior to the College World Series even beginning.

Of course, this casts a whole new light on the impassioned answer that Schlossnagle gave to Richard Zane at what we now know to be his last presser in an A&M uniform. A hit dog hollers, as the saying goes. From the outside, it appears that Schloss thought he was about to get off scot-free before the plucky young reporter piped up—and the coach was none too happy about what he asked.

Texags staff have later spoken of the fact that Schlossnagle approached Zane after the conclusion of the press conference, in front of all the reporters present, and told the young gun in no uncertain terms that he would never speak to him again. Given what we now know, it's hard to imagine a worse look for the newest Longhorn coach.

This is what has drawn the ire of the national pundits. Not the fact that Schloss was negotiating behind the scenes with Texas for a long period beforehand; as Longhorn fans have been so quick to point out, that is an unfortunate norm in collegiate athletics. No, it's the self-righteous grandstanding with the knowledge that the reporter had him basically dead to rights. It's the berating of a young guy who was lobbing what should have been a softball.

The months-long machination to get to Austin are simply a cherry on top. Corby Davidson of the Ticket in Dallas—a favorite of mine, though that makes me maybe an odd Aggie—has repeatedly said that the rivalry aspect of things is a line that shouldn't be crossed. I think there are some in this general area of the country that feel the same.

But I don't think Mad Dog Russo, for example, cares even one iota about the rivalry between Texas and Texas A&M; his evaluation of the situation begins and ends with the clear fact that this man made a fool and a hypocrite out of himself in front of God and everybody when he absolutely did not have to. That's the sense that most who have apprehended this situation from afar have departed with, based completely off of Schlossnagle's own actions.

It's why he opened with an apology to Zane at his presser in Austin—though "too little, too late" is the phrase that jumps to mind when contemplating his apparent contrition. It was clear damage control after hours of his ridicule by everyone from Dan Wolken to Barstool.

So, Longhorn fans, save the deflections of "well, A&M did the same thing when they hired him from TCU!" or "A&M did the same thing when they hired Elko from Duke!" People aren't galled by the fact that a coach moved from one place to another; they're galled by his comportment in doing so and the specific circumstances surrounding it.

Stop trying to change the focus. You may not like the intensely negative reaction to it, but embrace what your school did. There's nothing that people are failing to grasp about this situation—there's no double standard. The reaction is justified.

You want to know why I felt okay about putting up that post saying why I didn't think he would leave? Because I honestly felt that it stretched credulity to think that a man would have been cooking up a move to a bitter rival in the middle of the season, coach his team to the verge of a championship, berate a reporter for asking him about the then-open job, and then take the job a mere few hours later.

Well, consider credulity stretched.

Here's an extended quote that sums it up well from Aaron Torres during a radio appearance today: "There's no person with a functional brain that truly would have believed... that this guy would have been in the middle of negotiations with your biggest rival while you're playing for a championship. There's just no way that anyone would believe that... There's no way that anyone would believe that someone could stoop to that level.

"Good riddance, man. If that's the way that you operate... in the biggest moment of your career, you're already looking for the next thing, the next this, the next that, and then of course the added layer of insulting Richard Zane for doing his job, well then... good luck in Austin. It doesn't matter what school it is... that's not the way that you want somebody representing your university."

Don't run from it, Longhorn fans. You have the spotlight, now. Look at the criticism. Look at how risible and untrustworthy the national media now consider your baseball coach to be.

Isn't this what you wanted? Isn't this who you wanted?