April 6, 1936 |
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|1980||Spring Branch HS|
|1981–1991||San Jacinto JC|
|Head coaching record|
|Accomplishments and honors|
|NJCAA World Series (1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990)
College World Series (2003)
C-USA Tournament (2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2017)
WAC Tournament (1997, 1998, 1999)
SWC Tournament (1996)
|C-USA Coach of the Year (2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012)|
Wayne Leon Graham (born April 6, 1936) is a former major-league baseball player and the head coach of the Rice Owls baseball team in Houston, Texas. He has coached one College World Series championship team and five NJCAA World Series champions.
Graham was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies as an amateur free agent in 1957. He played eleven years as a professional with the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets organizations, including brief major-league stints in 1963 and 1964. He was named Texas minor league player of the year in 1962 after hitting .311 for Dallas-Fort Worth. Graham was called up to the Phillies in 1963 and played in 10 games under manager Gene Mauch. One year later, Graham appeared in twenty games for the Mets under legendary Casey Stengel.
When his playing career ended, Graham returned to the University of Texas to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education in 1970, and he later added a Master's Degree in education at the University of Houston in 1973.
His coaching career began at Scarborough High School in Houston. Graham coached for nine seasons at Scarborough and one year at Spring Branch High School before moving on to coach junior college baseball at San Jacinto College in Houston.
Beginning in 1981, Graham turned San Jacinto into the nation's most dominant JUCO baseball team. After regular conference titles in Graham's first few seasons, the Gators became a dominant force in 1984 when they began a run of seven consecutive 50-win seasons and berths in the NJCAA World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado.
After losing in the 1984 championship game, San Jacinto won three consecutive titles from 1985–87. After falling short again in 1988, the Gators went back-to-back in 1989–90. Those five national titles in six years eventually led to Graham being named Junior College Coach of the Century by Collegiate Baseball.
In his 11 seasons at San Jacinto, Graham posted a 675-113 record (.857 win percentage), earned five national coach of the year awards and produced countless professional players, most notably Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte.
Graham took over at Rice in 1992. He inherited a program that had tallied only seven winning seasons in 78 years of Southwest Conference play, and had only finished above fourth place once. As at San Jac, he turned the program into a national powerhouse. A program that had never before qualified for the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament has made 23 consecutive tournament appearances (1995–2017) and won 20 consecutive regular-season or tournament conference championships (1996–2015) in three different conferences (Southwest Conference, Western Athletic Conference, Conference USA). Rice has also been to the College World Series seven times (1997, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008). Graham's crowning achievement was the 2003 College World Series, in which Rice won its first national championship in any sport in its 91-year history. Not one to rest on his laurels, Graham quipped during a post-game interview, "We want to do it again."
One year later, Graham once again presided over history, as three Rice pitchers were drafted in the first eight picks of the 2004 Major League Baseball Draft, the only time three teammates have ever been selected in the first round.
Graham's Rice teams have produced first-round picks Jose Cruz, Jr. (1995), Matt Anderson (1997), Lance Berkman (1997), Bubba Crosby (1998), Kenny Baugh (2001), Jon Skaggs (2001), David Aardsma (2003), Philip Humber (2004), Jeff Niemann (2004), Wade Townsend (2004, 2005), Joe Savery (2007) and Anthony Rendon (2011). Eight of those players have been pitchers, and Graham is known for developing players that went undrafted out of high school, such as Niemann and Townsend.
Graham was also largely responsible for Rice's on-campus baseball stadium, Reckling Park, being built in 2000. The facility seats more than 5,000 fans and is one of the finest in the country.
Now in his 80s, Graham is one of the most quotable coaches in baseball. On April 16, 2016, Graham won his 1,100th Division I game (3-2, over Western Kentucky ). He has more than 1,600 wins as a collegiate head coach. He has never had a losing season in 38 years as a high school or college coach.
In addition, during the 2017 Season, despite finishing 6th place in Conference USA, Graham led Rice to their 23rd consecutive NCAA Tournament. Needing to win the Conference USA tournament title to qualify for the NCAA tournament and to keep the streak alive, he led to Owls to the Conference Title. Rice won 4 consecutive games and rallied late in the championship to upset #11 nationally ranked Southern Miss 5-4 on a walk off double.
Head coaching records
Below is a table of Graham's yearly records as an NCAA head baseball coach.
|Rice Owls (Southwest Conference) (1992–1996)|
|Rice Owls (Western Athletic Conference) (1997–2005)|
|1997||Rice||47–16||20–9||1st (South)||College World Series|
|1998||Rice||46–17||26–4||1st (South)||Central Regional|
|1999||Rice||59–15||25–5||1st||College World Series (#8 National Seed)|
|2001||Rice||47–20||26–10||1st||Lincoln Super Regional|
|2002||Rice||52–14||28–2||1st||College World Series (#4 National Seed)|
|2003||Rice||58–12||25–5||1st||College World Series (#5 National Seed)|
|2005||Rice||45–19||21–9||1st||New Orleans Super Regional|
|Rice Owls (Conference USA) (2006–present)|
|2006||Rice||57–13||22–2||1st||College World Series (#2 National Seed)|
|2007||Rice||56–14||22–2||1st||College World Series (#2 National Seed)|
|2008||Rice||47–15||21–3||1st||College World Series (#6 National Seed)|
|2009||Rice||43–18||16–8||2nd||Baton Rouge Super Regional|
|2013||Rice||44–20||15–9||1st||Raleigh Super Regional|
|2016||Rice||38-24||19-10||4th||Baton Rouge Regional|
National champion Postseason invitational champion
- "Oral History Transcript, Houston Oral History Project". Retrieved September 11, 2015.
- "1945 Houston Post photo". Retrieved September 11, 2015.
- "Wayne Graham Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved December 10, 2012.
- "Wayne Leon Graham". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved December 10, 2012.
- Rice Athletics: http://www.riceowls.com/sports/m-basebl/mtt/graham_wayne00.html
- "Annual Conference Standings". BoydsWorld.com. Archived from the original on February 10, 2013. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
- "2010 Texas Longhorns Baseball Media Guide: History". Texas Sports Information. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 10, 2013. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
- "2011 Western Athletic Conference Baseball Media Guide". WACSports.com. Archived from the original on February 10, 2013. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
- "2013 Conference USA Baseball Media Guide". Archived from the original (PDF) on February 9, 2013. Retrieved February 9, 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wayne Graham.|
- Graham, Wayne and David Goldstein. Wayne Graham Oral History, Houston Oral History Project, August 25, 2009.
- Baseball Almanac
- "Wayne Graham". Rice Owls. Retrieved June 30, 2016.