TCU makes it official: Kirk Saarloos is the new baseball coach

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Kirk Saarloos had opportunities to take over other college programs. He’s been courted by MLB teams. But TCU has been home for him since joining the baseball staff in the summer of 2012.

Saarloos always dreamed of taking over the program one day and that dream became a reality on Tuesday afternoon. Saarloos was formally introduced as the head coach of TCU baseball by athletic director Jeremiah Donati.

“After the first day, I was sold on this place. The trajectory of where TCU was heading was something I wanted to be a part of,” Saarloos said. “Ever since that day, it’s always been my dream job. The community, the people here, is what makes this special. There’s no other place I’d rather be, no other job I’d rather have than this one.”

Saarloos, 42, agreed to a five-year contract late Monday night. Financial terms have not been disclosed, but a source said Saarloos will be among the highest-paid coaches in the Big 12.

Saarloos also announced that Bill Mosiello will remain on TCU’s staff. Mosiello, who agreed to a multi-year extension on Tuesday morning, has been with the program the last eight years and was also considered for the head coaching position.

“Bill is an unbelievable baseball man,” Saarloos said. “I’m happy to say he’s not going anywhere.”

Saarloos has one other full-time assistant coaching spot on his staff and John DiLaura is a candidate for it. DiLaura has served as a volunteer assistant since the fall of 2018.

Saarloos is also expected to bring back former star pitcher Matt Purke as an undergraduate student assistant, and bring on a volunteer assistant with a pitching background.

At the end of the day, Saarloos feels he’ll surround himself with the right people to make the learning curve as a first-time head coach as small as possible.

Donati certainly feels good about his decision to go with Saarloos, who has been a part of four of the program’s five trips to the College World Series.

“This is an elite program and will always be an elite program,” Donati said. “We set the bar higher and higher every year, and Kirk was here for all of that. He knows what it’s like to win at the highest level. He knows what the best recruits look like. He knows what the recipe for success is.

“I’ve got 100% confidence he’ll be able to take us there.”

Donati and TCU conducted a national search once Jim Schlossnagle departed for Texas A&M last week. It became clear early in that process the front-runner for the job was already on campus.

Saarloos has been regarded as one of the top assistants in college baseball and has been a candidate for other head coaching jobs at Stanford and Rice. The Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Yankees have also courted Saarloos for potential openings on their big-league staffs.

Still, Donati felt he owed it to the program to do a thorough search before settling on Saarloos.

“We haven’t had a new baseball coach in 18 years,” Donati said. “We haven’t had a full assessment of the program in 18 years. We needed to take a little time to get with and meet with current and former players to understand what their experience was like here, what was important to them and also what they wanted to see the program be going forward.

“It took a few days, but we had to do that. We talked with everyone we needed to talk to, we vetted everyone we needed to vet. We knew going into this process we had two great internal candidates with Kirk Saarloos and Bill Mosiello, and there were other external candidates that were very interested. We talked to the people we needed to talk to.

“At the end of the day, Kirk separated himself and distinguished himself as the perfect fit to lead this program.”

Saarloos has a track record of success since becoming TCU’s pitching coach. Over his nine seasons, the Frogs have won six Big 12 regular-season and tournament championships as well as made four trips to the College World Series.

TCU has had one of the best pitching staffs in the country too. TCU has a 3.26 ERA over the last nine seasons, which is fourth-best in the country, and is seventh in the country with 53 shutouts over that stretch.

Saarloos, who pitched seven seasons in the big leagues, is excited and ready for the next step in his coaching career.

He gave an emotional speech as he accepted the head coaching job, reflecting back on what brought him to TCU and others who helped him along the way.

Saarloos closed his opening remarks by talking about his late father Larry, who passed away in April 2020.

“I know he’s watching. I know he’s proud,” Saarloos said. “He always told me, ‘There’s no substitute for hard work and treating people right. If you do those two things, you’ll be successful.’ I couldn’t be prouder to be the head coach of TCU baseball.”

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