Lamar’s Jim Gilligan Retiring After 2016
Jim Gilligan, one of the more known college baseball head coaches in the State of Texas, announced his intentions Monday to retire from his post at Lamar University following the 2016 campaign.
Gilligan’s departure from the Cardinals program comes as a surprise to some in the industry, and not so much to others. The long-time Cardinals head coach has experienced a great deal of success, and has been around the program since his playing days, where he was a standout pitcher for LU in 1967 and 1968.
“It’s time. I’ve coached here for six decades. If I go seven decades, I’ll just feel old,” said Gilligan with a chuckle at Monday’s press conference. “I’m going to miss working with the players. I like watching the development of players. I don’t have plans for what I’ll do yet, but I’m sure I’ll do something targeted that way.
“I’ve always been in pursuit of trying to do things right,” he said. “I think I did a good job of gaining knowledge I didn’t have before throughout my career.”
Gilligan, 68, experienced quite an array of accomplishments during his tenure with the program. He took over the program in 1973. And while he had a span from 1987-1991 where he was a professional manager for the Salt Lake Trappers of the Pioneer League, Gilligan spent the vast majority of his career in charge of the Cardinals.
What’d he accomplish with the Cardinals?
Gilligan guided the Cardinals to 12 NCAA tournament appearances, the last coming in 2010. He also led the program to 29 30-win or more seasons, eight 40-win or more seasons and one 50-win campaign. The outstanding head coach also earned Conference Coach of the Year honors six times, while being inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in 2004.
“We are extremely grateful for all that Jim has done for Lamar University, the athletics department and especially the baseball program,” said Director of Athletics Jason Henderson. “Jim’s passion for Lamar University and baseball is unmatched.
“The mark that he has left on collegiate baseball and Lamar University will never be forgotten,” he said. “We are excited to celebrate his career this upcoming season and look forward to a great 2016 campaign.”
Gilligan, who won 10 conference championships during his lengthy tenure, became the 19th coach in college baseball history to reach the 1,300 win mark in 2015. Overall, he will enter his final season with a 1,320-875-1 overall record, while also holding the distinction as the winningest coach in both Lamar University, and Southland Conference, history.
How Lamar chooses to proceed once Gilligan is gone is quite intriguing. Sure, the Cardinals might be a mid-major with perhaps not the same resources as other bigger, richer, programs in the State of Texas. However, the Cardinals have access to a vast amount of talent in the Beaumont, Texas, area, dubbed the “Golden Triangle” with Port Arthur, Port Neches and other cities included. In essence, there’s no reason why Lamar can’t consistently be a program like Sam Houston State and Dallas Baptist — granted there’s more financial commitment — moving forward.
For now, though, the next few months are all about celebrating Jim Gilligan and the success he brought to Lamar.