The dismissal of pitching coach Sean Allen after 11 years working with head coach David Pierce may not be the only shakeup for the Texas Longhorns baseball program with the Tuesday news from volunteer assistant coach Troy Tulowitzki that he’s a candidate for the opening as the USC Trojans head coach.
Texas volunteer assistant Troy Tulowitzki, who's been a tremendous strength for the Longhorns, is a candidate to be the next head coach at USC. "I will be talking to them," he told me. "I have not made any decision. I loved my time at Texas and living in Austin." #HookEm— Kirk Bohls (@kbohls) June 21, 2022
Time will tell whether Tulowitzki’s use of the past tense when referring to his time at Texas was a verbal slip, a telling sign of his future, or merely a typo. What there aren’t any questions about are the appeal of the USC job, the strong potential fit, and Tulowizki’s impact on the Texas program.
The Trojans fired Jason Gill in early June after three seasons that included mediocre play on the field and an off-field investigation by the school into his conduct. The failed hire of Gill from Loyola Marymount marked the fourth failed coaching hire by the historic program after winning 12 national titles, the most among any college baseball programs across all divisions. All 12 championships were won by the two head coaches who oversaw USC from 1951 to 2006. Since 2002, however, the Trojans haven’t even been to the College World Series.
So there isn’t a more appealing reclamation project in the sport and it may be all the more appealing for Tulowitzki because he was born in Santa Clara, went to high school in Sunnyvale, and spent three seasons at Long Beach State before the Colorado Rockies selected him with the seventh pick in the 2005 MLB Draft.
Tulowitzki certainly seems ready.
He fit the profile of a future rising star as an assistant when he connected with Pierce in 2019 through former teammate and Texas legend Huston Street and convinced Pierce to hire him more than Pierce convinced Tulowitzki to coach on the Forty Acres.
Serving as an infield and hitting coach for the Longhorns, Tulowitzki played a large role in helping Texas become one of the best defensive teams in the country in 2021 as the Horns turned in their best offensive season in a decade. In 2022, Texas took the next step, leading the nation in fielding percentage and producing the best offensive in school history with a .318 batting average and a school-record 128 home runs, shattering the old school record.
And while it’s hard to parse an assistant coach’s impact from outside the program, broadcasters regularly passed on stories of Faltine following Tulowitzki around like a puppy or graduate transfer third baseman Skyler Messinger wanting to play for his childhood idol. More importantly, Tulowitzki’s impact was evident on the field as the entire infield played at a high level and multiple hitters even beyond first baseman Ivan Melendez experienced huge increases in their power production.
It was only a matter of time until someone offered Tulowitzki a head coaching job he couldn’t refuse and after a season during which he unquestionably cemented himself as the rising star he always appeared to be, that time may be now.
If Tulowitzki does opt to take on the challenge of rebuilding the storied USC program, it will be a concerning if anticipated loss for Pierce and the Longhorns, putting the Texas head coach at a true nexus point in his tenure on the Forty Acres with major roster turnover looming and fans stinging from the lost promise of the preseason No. 1 ranking and strong start to the 2022 season.
[1:30 p.m. Central update]:
Hearing that UC Santa Barbara coach Andrew Checketts won’t be taking the USC job, while Troy Tulowitzki is interviewing on campus as soon as today https://t.co/ykAIKPVaSh— Ryan Kartje (@Ryan_Kartje) June 21, 2022