Only a few hours before the No. 4 ranked Rice baseball team takes the field against the University of Texas in Friday’s final game of the College Classic Tournament downtown at Minute Maid Park, Owl had coach Wayne Graham was announced as one of seven inductees into College Baseball Hall of Fame later this summer.
Coach Graham is part of an impressive class of inductees who will officially join the College Baseball Hall of Fame in Lubbock, Tex., on June 29-30. The 2012 inductees include Lou Brock, a Major League Hall of Famer who was a collegiate star at Southern University in 1958-60; Ed Cheff, who won 16 NAIA national championships coaching at Lewis Clark State from 1977-2010; Nomar Garciaparra, a three-time All-America selection at Georgia Tech who went on to make six all-star games during a 14-year major league career; Tim Jorgensen, a two-time Division III National Player of the Year and All-American at Wisconsin-Oshkosh; Brad Wilkerson, a three-time All-America selection and 1998 National Player of the Year from the University of Florida; and the late Frank Sancet, who coached at Arizona for 23 seasons where he led the Wildcats to the College World Series ten times.
The Owls’ head coach is already a member of three other Halls of Fame. Currently in his 21st year at the helm of the Rice program, and his 32nd as a collegiate head coach, Graham has already been inducted into the Junior College Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Col. (1995), the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in Fort Worth (2003) and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in Waco (2005).
At Rice, Graham has led the Blue & Gray to an NCAA Regional for each of the last 17 years. Not only has the baseball program won at least 40 games in each of the last 17 seasons, Rice has won or shared 16-consecutive conference championships (including regular season and/or conference tournament titles). Rice has maintained the nation's best composite Division I baseball win-percentage (.742) since 1999, a comprehensive 13-year span that marks the first year the NCAA adopted its current 64-team/Super Regional format for the NCAA Tournament.
Graham has been named the National Coach of the Year four times. The head coaches in Conference USA selected him as the Keith LeClair Coach of the Year four times since joining the league in 2006. Graham was named the Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 1998, `99, `02 and the Co-Coach of the Year in `03.
“It’s a unique event and I appreciate the honor very much,” said coach Graham. “At a time like this you think about who helped get you there. The players have performed well to allow you to have some success, but also my wife and family who have had to make a lot of sacrifices to make it possible for this to happen. I’m very grateful for everyone who has been involved.
“It’s a great honor to be associated with the other members of this Hall of Fame class,” coach Graham added. “They are great baseball-people with a love and talent for the game.”