AUSTIN, Texas — After 10 successful seasons with the Concordia University Texas baseball program, all-time wins leader Mike Gardner will transition from coaching to accept a full-time teaching position with the Kinesiology Department at Concordia. Gardner will begin his new position as an Assistant Professor of Kinesiology on July 1, 2009.
“It is always sad and emotional when you have a coach like Mike Gardner leave your program. Although I have only been here for the last year of Mike’s ten years of service to Concordia, his reputation as a leader, role model, and father to our players is unmatched. He leaves a legacy of success unmatched by any other coach at Concordia,” Dan Huntley, Athletic Director, said. “His sincere care is for the development of his players on and off of the baseball field. Mike has developed a program that our other coaches are trying to duplicate. We know Mike will forever be a Tornado and I am happy that he will remain a member of the university.”
On March 31, 2009 Concordia baseball picked up a 4-2 win over Southwestern University giving Gardner his 235 career win at Concordia, making him the all-time wins leader in the University’s history. Before the Southwestern game, Gardner was previously tied with former baseball head coach Jack Faszholz (1979-1990) for the most career wins.
Under the helm of Gardner, the Tornados participated in the NCAA Division III World Series in 2002 and have participated in the American Southwest Conference (ASC) Championship series five times.
The Tornados’ NCAA Division III World Series participation 2002 came after a 35-13 season record, making them the only Division III University from the State of Texas to compete in the Division III World Series.
Winning the ASC Tournament qualified Concordia for the NCAA Regional, where they won the NCAA West Regional over Pomona-Pitzer and Trinity University, sending them to the NCAA World Series and making them the first ASC baseball participant.
“During my coaching career at Concordia, I’ve simply tried to recruit talented players and surround myself with good assistant coaches,” Gardner said. “Good people make good chemistry.”
Before joining the college ranks, Gardner was also an outstanding high school coach, posting a 142-48 career record. His last high school coaching position at South Houston High School resulted in a first place state ranking and second place national ranking for his team.
Prior to accepting the job at Concordia, Gardner was the assistant coach at San Jacinto Junior College and before that the assistant coach at the University of Houston. He began his career as a catcher at Sam Houston State University.
Gardner also spent time as a Professional baseball scout for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. As a scout he received partial credit for the signing of current Major League Player Carl Crawford to his first professional contract.
“The Concordia baseball program was successful before me and will continue to be successful in the future,” Gardner said. “Concordia will continue to win games because they attract talented athletes and have strong support from coaching staff, trainers, parents and the Concordia community of faculty, staff, alumni and students.”
Mike has been married to his wife Paula for 37 years, who is an English teacher at John B. Connally High School. While at Concordia, he had the unique experience of coaching two of his sons, Aaron and Tim. Mike and Paula have an older son Chris.