Oct. 12, 2011


Nine Innings with Jim Schlossnagle

By Sean Ryan

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder


The 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 12.


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?
It’s 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 campus.

Second Inning - What was your initial reaction when you heard the news?
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 me.

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 so strong.

Fifth Inning - And how important is it to your program to join one of the best college baseball conferences in the country?
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?
I 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 school degree.

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)