SHSU baseball coach shares lesson: 'For years, I was a transactional coach'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Monday June 12, 2017


Sam Houston State baseball’s magical season came to an end Sunday night, and head coach Matt Deggs shared a strong message after the game.

Deggs was a Texas A&M assistant from 2006-11, but he was let go before the 2011 season and wasn’t a part of a team that reached the College World Series. He became Sam Houston State head coach in 2014, and this year’s team tied a school record with 44 wins and reached a Super Regional. After losing to Florida State, Deggs explained how he changed as a coach.

“It’s a family. For years, I was a transactional coach. ‘What can I get? What can I get?’ When you get fired, it humbles you,” he said. “I spent 430 days outside the game. Everybody asked, ‘You were here with the Aggies in 2011.’ No, I wasn’t. I was fired. I had to sit there and watch the Aggies play. God has brought me full circle. I was dead, and He saved me.

I’m a transformational coach now. It’s not about wins or losses. It’s about love. It’s about building men, building relationships that’ll last forever. I got a second chance. This guy’s a second chance guy, this guy’s a second chance guy. We’re about building people up. It’s not Mission Omaha. It’s Mission Build and Save Lives. That’s what we’re in the business of doing.

“This is the most unselfish, selfless group of men and families I’ve ever been around. This is rare in this day and age, rare in a microwave society where it’s all about entitlement and when do I get to play? This guy’s playing with a broken left hand right now, nobody knows that. His left hand is broken. Last year, he played with a broken wrist. Last year, Taylor Beene played with a broken thumb. I won’t even get into the rest of the litany of injuries that are going on with this team right now.

“Andrew Fregia just walked up to me in the dugout and said, ‘Give my last at-bat to Nate VanDyke.’ Robie Rojas gave up his last at-bat so Hunter Southerland could catch. There’s no greater honor — this is what I wish our country would get back to — than the sacrifice for a brother. That encapsulates and embodies this team to a tee. That’s why they’re so lovable.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.