Remember These Two Razorback Coaches Before Piling on Jim Schlossnagle

Bobby Petrino, Jim Schlossnagle, Arkansas baseball, Texas A&M baseball, Texas baseball
photo credit: Craven Whitlow / Texas A&M Athletics

It’s called the Bible Belt, that stretch of geography in the United States from Kansas to Virginia and all points southern. In fact, the 11 states that identify themselves as having the highest percentage of religious denizens all fall in the region. The only outlier in the top 15, even, is Utah. Within all of these states, within America itself, the dominant religion is Christian. Thus the moniker.

And if you grew up in these parts and are of a certain age from such a religious family, you have undoubtedly been told, perhaps even read John 8:7. One translation, in part, reads:

“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

If only. This is America. Do as we say, not as we do. Hypocrisy abounds. It’s what we’re built on, for Pete’s sake. 

Schlossnagle Under Fire from Everywhere, Including Arkansas

The verse came to mind Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning upon examination of the sheer quantity and verve of venom spewed toward new Texas baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle. If you’re not up on the world of college baseball outside of the Diamond Hogs, the long and the short of it is that Schlossnagle was coaching at Texas A&M as recently as Monday. He had the Aggies in the national title series against Tennessee. They lost in three games. After the finale, he was asked about the Texas job.

“I think it’s pretty selfish of you to ask me that question, to be honest with you,” he said. “I left my family to be the coach at Texas A&M. I took the job at Texas A&M to never take another job again. And that hasn’t changed in my mind. That’s unfair to talk about something like that.”

Less than 24 hours later, he was reported as the Longhorns’ next head coach. The rain of hostility that came Schlossnagle’s way was turbulent. That response, certainly, was poor. But not because of the reasons some may think. 

Schlossnagle apologized to the reporter, Richard Zane of TexAgs, for the answer, saying he should have worded it differently. He’s right. He insinuated that Zane had asked a silly question. Or a stupid question. The query was neither of those things. It was, as Schlossnagle said, an obvious question, not a ‘gotcha’ moment and Schlossnagle’s defensive response was a textbook case of Queen Gertrude.

Hypocrisy Abounds in College Athletics

But for anyone piling on Jim Schlossnagle as a snake – just check Twitter, or even this very website, for such NSFW remarks – you should back off. You should especially back off if you’re an Arkansas fan and jumping on the bandwagon. Joining the attacks would be easy to do, considering Texas A&M achieved almost everything Razorbacks fans wanted in the 2024 season. Yet the hypocrisy abounds.

College athletics, if you haven’t figured it out in the last five years, since the inclusion of NILs and collectives and the transfer portal, is a business. It’s not a game. It’s a sport in which advantageous placement is required, whether on the field or off it. Schlossnagle was playing the sport, gaining an advantage, something not uncommon among any who partake in athletics at the collegiate level.

Arkansas fans have benefited from such move-making. Bobby Petrino straight-up abandoned the Atlanta Falcons with nary a word of his exit to coach the Hogs in 2007. The man left a note, lacking the fortitude to tell his players face-to-face in a literal professional environment. Schlossnagle at least told his team he was considering the job in Austin. I don’t recall Razorbacks fans being all up-in-arms about Petrino, even if everyone else was. Petrino subsequently led Arkansas to its two most successful seasons in SEC history. The Hogs haven’t come close to reaching those heights since.

Petrino is so beloved, even after the Falcons thing, his indiscretions with a motorcycle and passenger and the lying about it, that the powers-that-be welcomed him back into the fold. He will serve as Sam Pittman’s offensive coordinator this 2024 season after one year at – wait for it – Texas A&M.

How’d he get to College Station in 2023, by the way? Well, you’ll never believe this. He came from UNLV…after three weeks, a literal 21 days, on the job, leaving coach Barry Odom (himself a former Arkansas coordinator, though on the defensive side) in a lurch. 

It’s what Petrino does. It’s what lots of them do. 

Even more recently, for the Razorbacks, Mike Anderson – a man of whom I am a staunch defender – did the same to Missouri. In March of 2011, he told reporters he had no plans to leave Columbia even five days after John Pelphrey had been fired at Arkansas. Four days after he pulled the same thing Schlossnagle did by saying he didn’t peddle in rumors, Anderson took the job in Fayetteville and the Razorbacks faithful didn’t bat an eye. They were glad he was coming home, as it were.

Jealousy Lasts Forever

Fans aren’t level-headed when it comes to things like this. Let’s never forget: “Fan” is short for “fanatic,” the noun iteration of the adjective “fanatical,” which means to be zealous to the point of obsession nearing insanity. Rationality gets tossed out the window and emotions run high. That’s part of the reason so many Arkansas fans are hopping on the hate train. While Razorbacks may not like the Aggies, but they absolutely despise Texas:

My question is why does any of it matter? Why can’t we just stick to our own business? If you love Petrino despite all of his past peccadilloes (let’s use that light word, even though a stronger one is warranted), that’s fine. But you’re a phony if you then start to pick up those rocks and chuck them Schlossnagle’s way. Or any of the countless others who have either changed their mind (follow recruiting sometime; it’s incredibly common) or beat around the bush and give non-answer answers.

It’s sports. It’s business. It’s America. Either admit to the hypocrisy and embrace it or leave it alone, because these glass houses and ain’t going to hold up forever.

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For those who don’t mind the throwing stones and want to see how the move might benefit Arkansas, check this out:

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Arkansas was happy to see Petrino in Fayetteville.

Paul Finebaum was not a fan of Schlossnagle’s presser.

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More coverage of Arkansas basketball from BoAS…

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