Rice baseball has parted ways with head coach Matt Bragga after three seasons, the school announced on Monday.
When it comes to the coaching profession, there’s a saying that rings particularly true today. “You don’t want to be the guy who follows a legend, you want to be the guy who follows the guy who follows the legend.” Three seasons removed from the end of the Wayne Graham era, Rice baseball has announced they are moving on from his successor, Matt Bragga.
Bragga took over the program prior to the 2019 season after a successful run at Tennessee Tech that ended one win shy of a trip to the College World Series in 2018. He then arrived at South Main where he went 51-76-1 over the three years that followed, including a 23-29-1 record in 2021. The Owls missed the Conference USA Tournament this season for the first time since 1993.
Athletic Director Joe Karlgaard issue this statement on the decision:
“Matt Bragga is a dedicated coach who brought a track record of success with him to Rice,” Karlgaard said. “Unfortunately, we haven’t seen enough improvement in our program for us to move forward together. We thank him for his efforts to bring Rice baseball back to the postseason and wish him the very best in his future endeavors.”
In his media session following the announcement, Karlgaard detailed further why the decision to move on from Bragga had been made. “It has more to do with the approach that we think we need to take,” Karlgaard said, “We just felt like we needed to make that decision now so that we could change the trajectory and get things headed in the right direction as quickly as possible.”
Karlgaard indicated the beginnings of a search had not yet begun but estimated the hunt for the Owls’ next skipper will be swift. “It’s certainly possible we could be done in 10 days” Karlgaard divulged, setting the longer, and more probable bound, at three or so weeks “depending on who emerges from our candidate pool and whether or not they’re still playing.”
Bragga was hired in the midst of the 2018 postseason in between the Super Regional round and the College World Series. Hiring someone in the midst of a postseason run would be well within the realm of possibilities. But, as indicated by the lower bound Karlgaard himself gauged, those currently free to interview would also be on the table.