By Sean Ryan
past several months have been quite interesting for the TCU
athletic department. The school announced this past fall that it
would leave the Mountain West Conference to join the Big East.
Now, the Horned Frogs will not have to make those trips to
Connecticut and New York as TCU has agreed to move into the Big
Now in his ninth season with the Horned Frogs,
head baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle has already seen TCU move
from Conference USA to the Mountain West. He has posted a record
of 348-153 (.695) in eight campaigns in Fort Worth, including
leading the Horned Frogs to the College World Series in 2010.
Schlossnagle recently took
time to answer our questions about TCU’s move to the Big 12.
First Inning - What
have the past few weeks been like for you with all the rumors
out there about conference realignment?
been business as usual around here, honestly. As a baseball
staff, we don’t have any control over the conference stuff other
than having as much success on the field as we can, so we have
been focused on fall practice and recruiting. Certainly, the
last couple days have been interesting with the Big 12 stuff
coming to a head. Obviously, it’s an exciting time on our
Second Inning - What was your initial reaction when you heard
I was pretty fired up about the opportunity to compete in
such a strong baseball conference as the Big 12. The fact that
we won’t have to get on a plane nearly as often and can drive to
most of our conference weekends was the most exciting part for
Third Inning - How have your players responded? Any former
players check in?
Our players haven’t said much about it. It seems far in the
distant future at this point since we are in the middle of fall
practice and preparing for the 2012 season. I’m sure most of
their families are very excited.
Fourth Inning - TCU has bounced around from Conference
USA to the Mountain West
Conference and was headed to the Big East. How difficult has
that been on TCU baseball?
It hasn’t been all that
difficult. Both of those conferences provided great
opportunities for our players, the travel was fun and
exciting...a lot of amazing cities to visit. Certainly, many
schools enjoyed using conference affiliation against us in
recruiting, but we have always been able to adapt and find good
players that were excited to be at TCU. I believe conference
affiliation is a little overblown in college baseball. What’s
more important is the region of the country you are in. In other
words, TCU is in Texas, so we have always been able to put
together a good schedule from an RPI standpoint. We always have
schools like Rice and Tulane as a model of how to win at a good
private school that isn’t in one of the “major”
conferences. Certainly, being in the Big 12 in 2013 makes it
easier in terms of building a good RPI because the league RPI is
Fifth Inning - And how important is it to your program to
join one of the best college baseball conferences in the
I think that remains to be seen. We have enjoyed a lot of
success prior to joining the Big 12. There are always hurdles
you have to overcome no matter where you are or what league you
are in. The past never equals the future in athletics,
especially baseball, so, now, we have an entire new set of
challenges ahead of us.
Sixth Inning - You already recruit against the likes of
Texas, Texas A&M, Rice and
Baylor. Does the move to the Big 12 make recruiting more
difficult or easier?
think that will play itself out over time. In some ways, it can
be easier because some of those schools can’t use conference
affiliation against us now. On the other hand, the competition
on the field gets a lot tougher. Playing those schools on a
weekend series will be much more challenging versus playing them
in a midweek game...but that is the exciting part.
Seventh Inning - TCU has been a mainstay in the NCAA
Tournament the past eight years, and it has fared well against
Big 12 teams – how do you maintain the program's excellence
weekend in and weekend out against the Big 12?
I think we just have to keep doing what we have done in the
past, which is keep our blinders on and work. I know it sounds
cliché, but we can only control our effort on the field and on
the recruiting trail. TCU is a great place, one of the hottest
schools in the country, so I think we will always be an
attractive option for a good player who wants a great private
Eighth Inning - What does the move to
the Big 12 mean for Horned Frogs baseball?
First of all, the move
to the Big 12 for our athletic department is such a huge reward
for over a decade of hard work and generosity on the part of
many people. TCU wasn’t prepared athletically to join the Big 12
when the old Southwest Conference broke up. Instead of pouting,
all the people here did was pour their heart and soul (and a lot
of money!) into making all of our programs better...facilities,
budgets, etc. That was followed by a lot of success on a
national scale in all of our sports. I believe TCU has done
things the right way and has earned this opportunity. Our
baseball program is just a part of that.
Ninth Inning - What does the future hold?
Who knows what the future holds, but I know I’m excited to
compete against all of the great programs and legendary coaches
in the Big 12. Not to mention some bus trips instead of all of
the flights we have always had to take!
(photo courtesy of TCU Media Relations Office)