Dan Spencer is the first-year head coach at Texas Tech. He succeeds Larry Hays, who was skipper for 22 seasons with the Red Raiders. Spencer played three seasons at Texas Tech, including one season with Hays as head coach. Last year, Spencer was associate head coach with the Red Raiders. Prior to that, Spencer spent 11 seasons at Oregon State. He was associate head coach for three years, as well as pitching/catching coach and recruiting coordinator. A native of Vancouver, Wash., Spencer helped the Beavers win consecutive College World Series titles.


February 25, 2009

A Special Opening Day


Opening Day to a baseball player or coach is like Christmas morning to a five-year-old.


It does not make any difference in what city you are in or who you are playing. I have been involved in openers all over the country as a Division I baseball coach, including Melbourne, Florida and Hilo, Hawaii. They were all special in the fact that they were openers, but none more than February 20, 2009, in Lubbock, Texas.


On Friday the 20th, I coached in my first Division I game as a head coach and the weight of following a coach like Texas Tech legend Larry Hays was completely on my mind. Coach Hays’ first year as a Division I head coach was in 1987, my last year as a player for him at Texas Tech, and now 22 years later I was standing in his spot. I was grateful for the first pitch and the opportunity to get locked into the game. I will always be indebted to Coach Hays for bringing me here and the things he stands for as a man.

Believe it or not, I think the toughest Opening Day I have ever been involved in was in 2004, my first as a pitching coach at Oregon State. We were playing the University of Utah in Surprise, Ariz., and we had a veteran left-hander pitcher, Jake Postelwait, starting for us. The pre-game stuff was all out of whack for me because I had been a position coach and had gotten used to throwing BP, hitting ground balls and going over scouting reports with the catchers. On this day, I had none of those responsibilities and I really did not know what to do with myself.


I was sitting next to Postelwait in the dugout about forty minutes before the game and I said to him, ‘When do you want to go down and start getting ready?’ And he said ‘Gary Henderson (our pitching coach the year before) always told me when to go.’ I said ‘Well, Henderson is in Kentucky, so that does not help us.’ Between the two of us we figured it out, but the timing for a starting pitcher was not something that had even crossed my mind until that day.

A head coach is only as good as his players and his assistant coaches. That being said, I have a chance.

Dan Spencer

(photos courtesy of Texas Tech Media Relations Office)