While Jaguars baseball coach Terry Puhl is on a leave of absence to coach the Canadian Olympic team, former Houston Astros Manager Phil Garner will take over head coaching duties for Feb. 27 to March 8. Garner’s selection became official today.
Puhl and Garner were Houston Astros teammates in the ‘80s and have been close friends through the years. Garner played 16 seasons in the major leagues for Oakland Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Pittsburgh, where he was part of the 1979 World Series Champion team. He would later spend 15 seasons as a manger. In 2004, he led the Astros to the National League Championship Series. The next season, he led the Astros to their first World Series in franchise history.
“The opportunity to give my ballplayers the chance to play for Phil is huge,” Puhl said. “He brings a competitive drive, philosophy and love to the game that each of these young men will be able to learn from and use in their own careers.”
For the players, this truly is a rare gift, he said.
“This is a great opportunity to learn from a big league manager,” Jaguars first baseman Pat Ford said. “To be able to speak with Mr. Garner about my game and what I can do to reach my dream of playing in the majors is an opportunity I will not waste.”
“They will learn things at this level that other ballplayers may never have the opportunity to do so,” Puhl said. “And the fans in Victoria will also benefit by seeing a major league manager up close and personal.”
Garner said he was looking forward to the chance to get back to the basics of baseball.
“What an opportunity for me to get back in the dugout at the purest form of baseball there is – the collegiate ballpark,” he said. “This will be a great time for me and hopefully will provide Terry with the peace of mind to go over to Taiwan and qualify for the Olympics.”
This is an opportunity not to be wasted, noted Jaguars supporter Claud Jacobs.
“To get one of the Astros’ most popular managers in team history to come in and help Terry tells me there is real quality and integrity in the leadership at UHV, its athletic program and Victoria,” Jacobs said. I encourage people to support both the baseball and softball programs. Come to their games, meet the athletes and coaches. You will be impressed, not only by their playing skills, but their character. They truly are living up to the NAIA’s slogan of ‘Building Champions of Character.’”
The Jaguars baseball team will play the following games with Phil Garner:
- Feb. 27 3 / 6 p.m. Huston-Tillotson University Victoria, Texas
- March 2 6 p.m. Mount Marty College Victoria, Texas
- March 3 1 / 3 p.m. Mount Marty College Victoria, Texas
- March 5 5 / 7 p.m. Mount Marty College Victoria, Texas
- March 7 Noon / 2 p.m. Jarvis Christian College Hawkins, Texas
- March 8 Noon Jarvis Christian College Hawkins, Texas