Whenever the Texas Longhorns take a road trip to Stanford, Augie Garrido steps off the plane in San Francisco and heads to Palo Alto. The Vallejo native is less than 65 miles from home, but playing on the Farm is far from a homecoming game for Garrido.
“It’s no homecoming because I haven’t looked at the record recently, but it’s pretty darn close to being even,” Garrido said. “It’s always a battle, as it should be, but then again that’s what you look forward to.”
This weekend at Sunken Diamond, four wins are up for grabs between two of the winningest coaches in collegiate baseball history. The No. 12 Longhorns and the Cardinal will face off for a four-game set, continuing a series that dates back to 1981.
Stanford head coach Mark Marquess and Texas head coach Augie Garrido have combined for nearly 3,500 wins over 85 combined seasons. In addition, Garrido ranks No. 1 and Marquess ranks No. 3 among active NCAA Division I coaches in career wins.
While they are two of the most successful coaches in baseball, Marquess and Garrido also have a relationship that transcends coaching — they were once teammates.
“[Marquess] will say he was a lot younger and a lot better looking than I was,” Garrido said.
The pair played side-by-side on a semi-professional baseball team, but it wasn’t long before they hung up their jerseys and stepped on to the other side of the chalked lines to coach the game they once played.
“Remember this guy won back to back national champions and won a gold medal with the Olympic team. He knows a couple of things,” Garrido said.
Garrido’s first game he ever coached was at Sunken Diamond against Marquess with San Francisco State University back in 1969, when Marquess was in his senior season as a student-athlete at Stanford at the time. Currently, Garrido is the winningest coach in college baseball history with an overall record of 1,928-897-9. He has won a total of five national championships, six NCAA Coach of the Year awards, and eight Conference Coach of the Year honors. His impressive resume results from his firm belief that baseball is a thinking man’s game — a knowledgeable ballplayer is invaluable.
Marquess, meanwhile, is in his 38th year as Stanford’s head coach with an overall record of 1,536-813-7. He won back-to-back national championships in 1987 and 1988, three NCAA Coach of the Year awards, nine Pac-10 Coach of the Year accolades and a 1988 Gold Medal at the Seoul Olympic Games.
“Obviously there is a difference because we have different personalities and styles, but the common denominator is the fact that both of us have been able to produce championship-type baseball teams,” Garrido said.
Marquess’s coaching style places importance of all aspects of life.
“They should replace the Energizer bunny for the Energizer Mark Marquess. He has an unbelievable energy and a great passion for the players,” Garrido said.
“He does a good job at balancing the baseball parts with the academics parts and recognizing that the life skills that are being taught through baseball are probably the most important parts of the baseball experience.”
But neither Marquess and Garrido would say no to adding a few more wins to their overall records this weekend. However, after 33 years of the Stanford-Texas Series, each program is only as good as the team that shows up to play.
“One of the main reasons we play each other is we can bring out the weaknesses in each other and we want to know about those weaknesses so we can do something about them before the end of the season and be a tournament-ready team by the time the NCAA championship starts,” Garrido said.
When the two teams go head to head, each game is up for grabs, as the series will give both teams an opportunity to see where they need to improve.
“We know one thing for sure — that we’re going to be able to learn something from the competition,” Garrido said. “We’re gonna get a better measuring stick on where our team really is and its ability to perform in championship play.”
But this weekend signifies something greater than just another series of baseball. Mark Marquess and Augie Garrido have a connection that goes beyond the outcome of the game.
“The funniest story is that we are probably so different in so many ways, that it is very unlikely that two people like ourselves would be very trustworthy friends,” Garrido said, “Trust and respect is the bond that we have — I trust his judgment, I trust his advice, I trust his skills and his ethics, and hopefully he feels the same about me.”
Contact Erin Ashby at eashby ‘at’ stanford.edu.
Jordan Wallach contributed to this report.