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College Baseball Countdown: 96 Days to Go- Jim Gilligan’s Farewell Season

Before we get going here, if you missed the introductory post explaining what this countdown is all about, read it here.

We’re now 96 days away from opening day, which as we learned in September, will be Lamar head coach Jim Gilligan’s final season in the dugout leading the Cardinals. That’s no small thing, considering all that Gilligan has meant not only to Lamar, but also to college baseball in the state of Texas.

Back in September, immediately after the announcement, we covered Gilligan’s legacy at length. The Cliff’s Notes version is this: Gilligan built the Lamar program from the ground up beginning in 1973 and really got the ball rolling beginning in 1976, when the team began a run of 7 regional appearances in 12 seasons. Perhaps more impressively, though, Gilligan has kept Lamar competitive and in the running for postseason appearances, even as competition from all corners of the state of Texas has become even more intense.

Gilligan and company have always had to go toe-to-toe on the field and in recruiting with Texas and Texas A&M, the historical powers of the state. Then, Baylor joined the fray in a big way about 20 years ago, and TCU and Rice revitalizing their programs over the last 10-15 years only added to the competition. Even as recently as a decade ago, Dallas Baptist and Sam Houston State were relative non-factors. Now, they have inserted themselves into any conversation about college baseball in the state. Still, Gilligan continued to win games in Beaumont.

Looking ahead on Lamar’s schedule, Gilligan and his squad will have plenty of opportunities to make their mark in his last season at the helm. Right out of the gate, the Cardinals have midweek games with Arizona and LSU in the first week of the season. Additionally, they have two midweek tilts with Rice, and one each with Houston, Baylor, and Texas.

With something of a wide-open Southland Conference, the Cardinals could also have a real shot at making noise in league play. However it is measured, here’s hoping that Gillian’s last season in charge is a successful one.


Joe Healy was first introduced to college baseball when he grew up watching the likes of Jeff Niemann, Philip Humber, and Wade Townsend pitch for Rice University. To say it was love at first sight would be an understatement. That love only grew as he went off to college at Sam Houston State University, where he practically lived at Don Sanders Stadium watching his Bearkats under the direction of the legendary Mark Johnson. He holds a B.A. in political science from SHSU and is working toward his Masters in Public Administration from SIU-Edwardsville in Edwardsville, Illinois.