Pondering what could have been with Tim Tadlock and UNT

Denton native Tim Tadlock , left, talks with the umpires during an NCAA regional tournament in Miami. There was a time a few years ago when UNT might have had a chance to hire Tadlock to help revive its program. (Associated Press/Lynne Sladky)

There are instances when life is all about timing. I thought a little about that fact this weekend while watching Tim Tadlock lead Texas Tech past Miami and guide the Red Raiders to a regional win in the NCAA baseball tournament.

Texas Tech will make its first appearance in the Super Regionals in program history this week when the Red Raiders host the College of Charleston. Texas Tech appears to have a great chance to make the College World Series.

I bring up Tadlock and Texas Tech because there was a time not too long ago when UNT would have had a great chance to hire Tadlock to be its head coach had it revived its baseball program. There were a couple of times over the years when Tadlock called to ask, “Is North Texas ever going to get that baseball program going?”

I put in a good word for an old friend a couple of times, not that what I thought would make an iota of difference.

Years have passed and it is starting to look like UNT is finally about to get its program off the ground.

UNT’s opportunity to hire the Denton native has long since past, but there couldn’t have been a better choice.

I know. I watched Tadlock build a program from scratch and win two national titles at Grayson County College in my first job out of college at the Herald-Democrat, the paper in Sherman-Denison.

Tadlock took his first job as a college head coach at Grayson in 1997. The school started a program in the fall. Tadlock took over a few months later. I covered his teams for a few years and saw the Vikings win national titles in 1999 and 2000.

Nine years later, Tadlock left Grayson with the highest winning percentage in college baseball at 77.4 to become an assistant at Oklahoma. After being passed over for a couple of jobs, Tadlock knew he needed to pad his resume with a stint as a major college assistant before most schools would take a chance on hiring him to lead a Division I program.

UNT first started talking about fielding a baseball team publicly in 2004.

There was a span of a few years when I am certain Tadlock could have at least entertained the idea of returning to his hometown to coach at UNT.

Would it have worked out if UNT had started a program back then, say from about 2004 to 2012, when Tadlock left OU to become the associate head coach at Texas Tech, his alma mater?

There is no way to know now. UNT might not have wanted to hire a coach straight out of junior college in 2004. In the ensuing years, when Tadlock was at Oklahoma, UNT might have wanted a coach with more experience.

Would Tadlock have still been interested in the job after meeting with UNT officials and learning more about the athletic department? That’s something else we will never know.

All we can do now is wonder what might have been and admire what the former Denton Bronco has accomplished in his career.

Every game Texas Tech plays now is a historic one. The Red Raiders have advanced farther than they ever have in the NCAA tournament. Tickets to Texas Tech’s Super Regional sold out in less than an hour.

Tadlock is in just his second season at Texas Tech. The Red Raiders will be heavily favored to beat the College of Charleston and grab a spot in the World Series.

And don’t forget, Tadlock already has two JUCO World Series titles on his resume.

One has to feel great for Tadlock, a terrific coach who is a good guy as well.

UNT will find a good coach when it revives its baseball program in the next few years.

It’s just too bad for UNT that Tadlock, who might have been the best choice of anyone, will be out in Lubbock building what is starting to look like a national baseball power.

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