Wayne Graham out at Rice

Graham has taken Rice to 23 consecutive NCAA Tournaments, has gone to seven College World Series and won a national championship 15 years ago, but he is being forced out after this season. It’s not that surprising given his age, 82, and the fact that Rice has not been as competitive in recent years. The Owls only made the NCAAs last year after winning the C-USA Tournament and are 16-23-2 this year.

His success there is pretty incredible when you consider Rice had never been to an NCAA postseason before he arrived. His pitching staffs have annually been among the best in the game, and his team was never one you wanted to see in your four-team regional bracket. Arkansas won the regional at Rice in 2012, defeating the Owls by a final of 1-0.


Forced out at only 82; what’s this world coming to. Congrats coach, fine career against the odds.

I got to know Wayne years ago when he was head coach at San Jacinto Junior College. He won five national titles there. I covered some games they played against Seminole JC. Those were some epic games. I think San Jacinto won most of them.

There are just some people who’ve earned the right to retire on their own terms. Maybe the program has fallen off. Maybe they should drop hints & try to make give him some honorary (and paid) position, but considering the state of Rice athletics & his history, I just think it’s classless to force him out.

I agree with you about them being classless for forcing him out! He’s been good for the game and most of all the young men he has come into contact with.
If he still wants to coach maybe he gets another job.

My only road trip with the Hog baseball team was an early March series at Rice in 1979. Their field would have been an embarrassment for most high schools. Nothing but temporary bleachers, and no press box. We sat at a folding table behind home plate. Twenty-five years later I could see the Rice field from my 23rd-floor office at the Texas Medical Center and there was a lot more there than those bleachers and table. Of course by then they also had a CWS championship trophy in 2003. I’d say approximately 100% of the credit for that goes to Wayne Graham.

Auburn coach in their glory years with Frank Thomas and Bo type players. That was the nicest most entertaining man that I have ever listened to without interruption for 30 minutes. He was plethora of information. He told me about Babe Ruth hitting a home run out of Whttington Park in Hot Springs back in the late 20s when the Yanks were on tour and used the Bath Houses and their healing springs. Lots and lots of SEC stories and his wife shared her experiences with his travels in minor leagues and his coaching at ECU. Cute couple does not describe them, married right of high school and going strong. I benefit because think Vandy is the UN of the SEC network and have met so many people who have made me drop some biases and listen to why they love their school. Coach Baird looks like an 80 something leathered old baseball coach, but he is in his 70s’. Sharp as a tack but not up to every day time on the diamond. Apparently when he shows up, he is revered.

This Rice coach so reminds me of Coach Baird. Each deserves his respect. Coach Baird has health problems that you would never perceive if you get the chance to talk with him, and maybe that is also the case at Rice with Coach Graham?

I feel the same way around Norm DeBryin.

I am also a big fan of DeBryin. I don’t know him personally but I speak to him when I have the opportunity. He always replies in kind but he looks at me like should I remember this guy as someone important from my past. My wife and I had a long conversation with Caroline at Chico’s one time. She is a sweetheart and she doesn’t mind spilling things about Norm. Norm, in my opinion, put Arkansas baseball on the map. If he had had the recruiting success that we currently have and if he had had the pitching staff we have now, he could won several national championships. I remember one team that he had (I believe it was 1999) that was perhaps the most talented offensive team I ever saw. Our pitching staff was thin. He used Rodney Nye (third base) as his go to closer. He wore Rodney out. They lost in a regional to Missouri State because Nye ran out of gas and gave up a grand slam (at least that is my fading recollection). I also remember Norm’s first trip to Omaha (1978 I believe). We should have won the whole danged thing because we were the most talented team there.

Kendall Rogers has mentioned several times he feels the Rice situation is similar to what Texas had with Guarido. Stayed on too long and wound up hurting the program at the end.

If Garrido stayed too long, it wasn’t by much. He had Texas in the College World Series in 2014. His final year was 2016.

I think he fell off quickly.
Had a DUI in the last year or so too.
KR is pretty close to the Texas program.

I live a few blocks from the Rice campus. Usually make at least a couple of Rice baseball games a year, more when they were really good. I watched the Razorbacks beat them a few years ago when Rice was #1. I haven’t been to a baseball game in Fayetteville since I left school in 1971, but I know Baum is the best venue in college baseball. Rice has a very nice relatively new facility and the make it fun. Graham was a hardnosed old coach and his players and the fans loved him. His time has passed but I suspect he just did not want to go.