AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — New Texas baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle said Wednesday he’s ready to lead the Longhorns into the “major leagues” of college baseball in the SEC, and acknowledged the raw feelings left behind at Texas A&M for his abrupt departure for an arch-rival.

Texas introduced Schlossnagle at a campus news conference less than 48-hours after Schlossnagles’ Aggies lost to Tennessee in the championship game of the College World Series.

He joins a program where he’ll be facing Texas A&M on a regular basis now that the Longhorns are set to join the SEC from the Big 12 next season. SEC teams have won the last five national championships.

“We have to prepare to compete in the major leagues of college baseball. If you’ve never been in SEC baseball, get ready,” Schlossnagle said.

Schlossnagle led Texas A&M to the College World Series twice in three years, and now takes over a Texas program desperate to recapture past success.

Texas has won six national championships but none since 2005. The Longhorns had been to the CWS three times in eight seasons under David Pierce, who was fired on Monday, hours before Texas A&M lost to Tennessee in the this year’s final.

Schlossnagle apologized for his terse remarks when he was asked about the Texas job in the postgame news conference Monday night, when he said: “I took the job at Texas A&M to never take another job again. And that hasn’t changed in my mind.”

“I wish I could have answered that better,” Schlossnagle said Wednesday. “I didn’t intend to mislead (TexasA&M fans). In that moment, that’s exactly how I felt.”

Schlossnagle said he understands the hurt feelings from Texas A&M fans who rallied behind his program.

“If I had left Texas A&M for some other school, in a different part of the country, the interesting text messages and messages that I got yesterday probably wouldn’t have happened. But I get it,” Schlossnagle said.

Schlossnalge said several times the chance to reunite with close friend Chris Del Conte, the Texas athletic director, was a key element in his decision. Those two worked together at TCU from 2009-2017.

“There wasn’t anybody at Texas A&M I couldn’t trust. I just know I can trust Chris,” Schlossnagle said.

But Schlossnagle would not get pinned down on when Texas first opened talks with him about luring him away. He insisted that while he and Del Conte “talk all the time,” it was as friends, not about work.

He acknowledged that his contract at Texas A&M had a specific buyout in case he left for Texas, “and that’s because of Chris.”

“I didn’t do this to spite anybody,” Schlossnagle said. “Many people on the A&M side will say this wasn’t done the right way. I just don’t know any other way it could have been done.”


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