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.
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
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.
(photos courtesy of Texas Tech Media Relations Office)