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Cruz Jr Hired as Next Coach
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Owl 69/70/75 Online
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Post: #21
RE: Cruz Jr Hired as Next Coach
(06-09-2021 02:42 PM)RiceLad15 Wrote:  I think he's going to sell the hell out of Rice to recruits. I'm betting we don't have as many recruiting issues going forward.

Cruz plus the Rice Investment should put us is good stead recruiting.
06-09-2021 03:00 PM
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GoodOwl Offline
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Post: #22
Question RE: Cruz Jr Hired as Next Coach
(06-09-2021 02:11 PM)Fort Bend Owl Wrote:  So again let me inform the trolls and unknowledgeable folks a bit about Cheito (Jose Cruz Jr.).

Again, he was the guy that got Rice baseball going under Wayne Graham. He was absolutely our first major recruit under Graham. In 1992, he was a star at Bellaire HS, which was the high school program in Texas at that point. He was potentially a first round draft pick out of high school but he really wanted to play for Coach Graham so his family told MLB teams he wasn't going to sign with them. As I remember it, he had an older brother who played briefly for Graham at San Jac. (I may have that part wrong).

Even though he and his dad told teams not to draft him, the Braves still drafted him in the 15th round (and offered him way more than 15th round draft money to sign) but he honored his commitment to Rice. In fact, I suspect he turned down more money to play for Rice than just about any other Rice recruit (Anthony Rendon is another in the same category though). By his junior year, he had Rice in their first regional under Graham, and the Owls were able to go after much bigger recruits (such as Berkman and Matt Anderson, an eventual #1 overall pick who were both two years behind Cruz).

He did sign with Seattle after being picked #3 overall in 1995 (still Rice's highest draft pick ever for a hitter). His younger brother Enrique later signed with Rice and helped lead the Owls to the 2003 national championship.

While working for the MLBPA (MLB Players Association) and living in Houston, Jose bought front row season tickets to the men's basketball games for several seasons. He would bring his sons to the games, and both ended up signing with Rice. Trei is now in Detroit's organization after being drafted in the 3rd round in 2020. Youngest son Antonio just finished his junior year at Rice, but graduated from Rice in three years - a Cruz family record. I'll have to assume he'll play for Dad next year.

Cruz loves Rice and always has. He has an incredible connection to the professional and amateur baseball world in Houston.

Berkman was a Rice star but always apologized to others for playing at Rice (Texas didn't offer him soon enough).

Why anyone would want Berkman over Cruz is beyond apprehension.

Don't listen to the trolls. This is an amazing move.

1. don't think we can do much worse than we did under Bragga
2. Happy to have someone who still craesCARES about the RU so much.
3. Congrats, Coach Cruz (Jr, that is).

edit: Cares, that's CAres about RU so much
(This post was last modified: 06-09-2021 03:09 PM by GoodOwl.)
06-09-2021 03:05 PM
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GoodOwl Offline
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Post: #23
Exclamation RE: Cruz Jr Hired as Next Coach
(06-09-2021 02:35 PM)RiceLad15 Wrote:  I think some of us younger alumni may not have an appreciation for Cruz Jr and his connections to Rice (I've found that Rice sports greats often suffer the indignation of not being passed down to younger generations)

Son, there was this kicker, you see...
06-09-2021 03:07 PM
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Post: #24
RE: Cruz Jr Hired as Next Coach
(06-09-2021 02:49 PM)Owl1998 Wrote:  
(06-09-2021 02:47 PM)esposito Wrote:  Can someone close to him ask to bring back the OER full time?! No more of that new logo garbage.

THIS!!! X 1,000,000,000

This

From my perspective, Berkman was not going to get the call. Not that he shouldn't have gotten the call, but JK would not have called him/he wouldn't have answered. I don't know enough to know that he SHOULD have gotten the call. I don't remember what OG said about him... and I would have let OG pick his replacement.

Hallmark is the conventional hire and has great Rice ties. This was the call I EXPECTED JK to make. It is the safe call. Of course, that means Pat would have had to have answered. We don't know.

Cruz Jr is a 'splash' hire which I didn't expect from JK... and the potential is MASSIVE given his connections (for generations and also broadly through his family) to MLB, scouts, players, coaches etc etc etc. He's not as well known to some in Houston as Berkman because he didn't play most of his career here, but his FATHER sure did.... and I suspect he and his family are Baseball ROYALTY in Houston with the players.

It's like choosing between entrees at a great restaurant. I'm going to be happy with the entree we ordered and not second guess what we should have ordered for dinner. I'm just really glad we didn't order the meat loaf (again). If it comes and is over or under-cooked, that doesn't mean it wasn't a great menu selection
06-09-2021 03:12 PM
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Owl 69/70/75 Online
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Post: #25
RE: Cruz Jr Hired as Next Coach
(06-09-2021 03:07 PM)GoodOwl Wrote:  
(06-09-2021 02:35 PM)RiceLad15 Wrote:  I think some of us younger alumni may not have an appreciation for Cruz Jr and his connections to Rice (I've found that Rice sports greats often suffer the indignation of not being passed down to younger generations)

Son, there was this kicker, you see...

(06-09-2021 03:12 PM)Hambone10 Wrote:  
(06-09-2021 02:49 PM)Owl1998 Wrote:  
(06-09-2021 02:47 PM)esposito Wrote:  Can someone close to him ask to bring back the OER full time?! No more of that new logo garbage.

THIS!!! X 1,000,000,000

This

From my perspective, Berkman was not going to get the call. Not that he shouldn't have gotten the call, but JK would not have called him/he wouldn't have answered. I don't know enough to know that he SHOULD have gotten the call. I don't remember what OG said about him... and I would have let OG pick his replacement.

Hallmark is the conventional hire and has great Rice ties. This was the call I EXPECTED JK to make. It is the safe call. Of course, that means Pat would have had to have answered. We don't know.

Cruz Jr is a 'splash' hire which I didn't expect from JK... and the potential is MASSIVE given his connections (for generations and also broadly through his family) to MLB, scouts, players, coaches etc etc etc. He's not as well known to some in Houston as Berkman because he didn't play most of his career here, but his FATHER sure did.... and I suspect he and his family are Baseball ROYALTY in Houston with the players.

It's like choosing between entrees at a great restaurant. I'm going to be happy with the entree we ordered and not second guess what we should have ordered for dinner. I'm just really glad we didn't order the meat loaf (again). If it comes and is over or under-cooked, that doesn't mean it wasn't a great menu selection

Speaking of kickers.
06-09-2021 03:15 PM
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Musicowl1965 Offline
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Post: #26
RE: Cruz Jr Hired as Next Coach
(06-09-2021 02:22 PM)Tomball Owl Wrote:  
(06-09-2021 02:05 PM)Musicowl1965 Wrote:  Not to brag..but....

Congrats! You need to tell Kendall to stop taking credit for your scoop!

I should!!! I guess I didn't have enough street cred around here for some.
06-09-2021 03:17 PM
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Post: #27
RE: Cruz Jr Hired as Next Coach
(06-09-2021 03:15 PM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote:  Speaking of kickers.

02-13-banana

I don't in any way want to disparage anyone else by saying this.

This is a GREAT hire.
06-09-2021 03:18 PM
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Houston Owl 2 Offline
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Post: #28
RE: Cruz Jr Hired as Next Coach
I've said this before, but I spent a little time with Jr. on the football trip to Sydney. He is really a great guy and this will be a great step forward for the entire program. I know a couple of members of the committee and if they think this is the right way to go, I'm onboard.

I have a feeling that the success that we had under Wayne probably can't be duplicated but this is a step to returning Rice to an elite baseball program.

I'll admit that I skipped a couple of home games this year and didn't travel to any road games. I anticipate some excitement around the program and the interest will return.
06-09-2021 03:23 PM
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Post: #29
RE: Cruz Jr Hired as Next Coach
(06-09-2021 02:12 PM)Musicowl1965 Wrote:  Really really love this move. Cruz loves Rice, gets Rice and I'm confident will do a fantastic job. Excited for Spring 2022!!!

I'd take Cruz Jr over Lance any day of the week. Jose has been involved with player development at both the amateur and MLB level for the past 15 years. And as much as I might have preferred Hallmark (but only by a little), Jose certainly brings more buzz to the program. The key will be who he brings on as his two primary assistant coaches. It's imperative that he hires at least one guy who has served previously as recruiting coordinator with strong ties to Houston and Texas. He no doubt has the rolodex to get a seasoned pitching coach and hitting coach.

Well done, JK.
06-09-2021 03:30 PM
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Post: #30
RE: Cruz Jr Hired as Next Coach
(06-09-2021 02:47 PM)esposito Wrote:  Can someone close to him ask to bring back the OER full time?! No more of that new logo garbage.

Maybe it’s just me but I really like the Owls on the bat jersey
06-09-2021 03:34 PM
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bigowlsfan Offline
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Post: #31
RE: Cruz Jr Hired as Next Coach
I think it is a great hire, and I am happy for him and for the program.

Does anyone know if we reached out to him, to see if he was interested (which would have been a great move on our part), or if he made the first contact, when he saw the job open up?
06-09-2021 03:35 PM
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Owl 69/70/75 Online
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Post: #32
RE: Cruz Jr Hired as Next Coach
I think he brings the positives of Berkman without the negatives.

No, he hasn't been a college--or HS, other, AFAIK--coach. But at this level the name of the game is recruiting, recruiting, recruiting. And I'm guessing he understands that and will make appropriate staff hires. And he understands player development as well as anybody in the business.
06-09-2021 03:36 PM
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ausowl Offline
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Post: #33
RE: Cruz Jr Hired as Next Coach
(06-09-2021 03:34 PM)Wayne’sWorld Wrote:  
(06-09-2021 02:47 PM)esposito Wrote:  Can someone close to him ask to bring back the OER full time?! No more of that new logo garbage.

Maybe it’s just me but I really like the Owls on the bat jersey

Not just you, but save it for special occasions. Few times a year.

Otherwise OER baby!
06-09-2021 03:38 PM
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Owl 69/70/75 Online
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Post: #34
RE: Cruz Jr Hired as Next Coach
(06-09-2021 03:34 PM)Wayne’sWorld Wrote:  
(06-09-2021 02:47 PM)esposito Wrote:  Can someone close to him ask to bring back the OER full time?! No more of that new logo garbage.
Maybe it’s just me but I really like the Owls on the bat jersey

As a long-time Cardinals fan, so do I. The OER with the pinstripes and the bat jersey as an alternate give us two good looking home uniforms. They could be called our Yankees and Cardinals looks. And copying the most successful team in each major league is not a bad approach.
06-09-2021 03:38 PM
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Post: #35
RE: Cruz Jr Hired as Next Coach
You all are missing the point. Junior was not hired because of any skill set other than the fact that JK liked him. He has been a loyal contributor to all of JK's plans since moving back from Miami. That select committee of advisors was stacked with one of Cruz's besties from Rice and that guys's bff who took the RBI to new heights (really lows) to accommodate Joe's wishes to not emphasize baseball. Berkman and Hallmark would not just bow down to JK and therefore could not be hired.

Thus Cruz. He has a wealth of knowledge but an odd personality. With strangers, he can be a bit aloof and that may not serve him well on the recruiting trail especially if he is competing with the televangelist HBU hired. Sarah is one of the sweetest people you could meet at Reckling and will be a nice change from the previous anti-vaxxer first lady of Rice baseball. My take is that this train wreck of a program is going to require that Cruz has the ability to do what he wants and just have the idiot AD rubber stamp all requests in order to pull itself out of the ditch of frustration Joe and Bragga put it in. Even that may not be enough. Hopefully someone will finally hire Joe for one of those many, many, many, many jobs he applies for or at least the new President sends him packing. Until then the cancer is still lurking in the body of Rice athletics.
(This post was last modified: 06-09-2021 03:58 PM by interwebowl.)
06-09-2021 03:41 PM
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Post: #36
RE: Cruz Jr Hired as Next Coach
(06-09-2021 03:36 PM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote:  I think he brings the positives of Berkman without the negatives.

No, he hasn't been a college--or HS, other, AFAIK--coach. But at this level the name of the game is recruiting, recruiting, recruiting. And I'm guessing he understands that and will make appropriate staff hires. And he understands player development as well as anybody in the business.

and he won't bunt a runner over from 1B early in a game and clap about the productive out, because no one does that sort of thing in the game he has just been in (MLB).
06-09-2021 03:44 PM
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bigowlsfan Offline
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Post: #37
RE: Cruz Jr Hired as Next Coach
(06-09-2021 03:38 PM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote:  
(06-09-2021 03:34 PM)Wayne’sWorld Wrote:  
(06-09-2021 02:47 PM)esposito Wrote:  Can someone close to him ask to bring back the OER full time?! No more of that new logo garbage.
Maybe it’s just me but I really like the Owls on the bat jersey

As a long-time Cardinals fan, so do I. The OER with the pinstripes and the bat jersey as an alternate give us two good looking home uniforms. They could be called our Yankees and Cardinals looks. And copying the most successful team in each major league is not a bad approach.

So for Cruz's staff, we are thinking Janish for fielding and Halston for fashion?
06-09-2021 03:46 PM
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Ricefootballnet Offline
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Post: #38
RE: Cruz Jr Hired as Next Coach
I can’t help but having the feeling that we’re not just hiring a coach, well perhaps we are just hiring a coach, but we’re getting a fantastic family along with him, for nothing.

Ricky, Cheo, look forward to seeing you at the ball games.

Time to sign sign up for the RBI club now.
06-09-2021 03:59 PM
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Post: #39
RE: Cruz Jr Hired as Next Coach
Wade Townsend endorsed the hire on Twitter.
06-09-2021 04:04 PM
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Fort Bend Owl Offline
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Post: #40
RE: Cruz Jr Hired as Next Coach
First Rice alum hired as a head coach at Rice since Willis Wilson??

And I believe our third Latino head coach (Victor Lopez in track, and Julio Morales in volleyball).

I would not describe his personality as odd btw. He's just always been a bit shy which I think is understandable when you grow up as the son of a sports legend (and share the same name).
06-09-2021 04:10 PM
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