One of the top pitching coaches and recruiters
in the country, Rob Childress recently finished his seventh season as the head
coach of the Texas A&M baseball program.
The Gilmer, Texas, native's expertise as a
pitching coach is evident and has made an immediate impact as A&M's
pitching staff has ranked first or second in the rugged Big 12 in earned run
average in each of his seven seasons, including a Big 12-best 2.92 team ERA
This past season, Childress guided the Aggies
to a school-record sixth consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament as A&M
hosted an NCAA Regional in College Station for the second straight season.
In 2011, Childress captured co-Big 12 Coach of
the Year honors as he led the Aggies to another milestone campaign as he guided
the squad back to college baseball's promised land of Omaha, Neb., and the
College World Series. The trip to Omaha was the fifth in program history and
capped off another successful run in the NCAA Tournament.
The 2011 team also claimed the 23rd
conference championship in program history as it brought home both the Big 12
regular season and tournament titles before emerging victorious in both the
College Station Regional and Tallahassee Super Regional.
Additionally, the 2011 squad finished 14th in
the country with a 2.90 team ERA, the Aggies' lowest since 1990 (2.80) while
Childress' 2010 staff ranked 13th nationally at 3.70--the highest finish by an
A&M staff in 16 years before last season.
A trio of Aggies (Tyler Naquin, Ross Stripling
and Michael Wacha) garnered All-America honors in 2011 as Naquin was also named
Big 12 Player of the Year while both Stripling and Wacha excelled on the mound
under Childress' tutelage. Stripling blossomed during his third year in the
A&M program as he led the nation in wins by turning in a 14-2 campaign with
a 2.29 ERA.
Additionally, outfielder Krey Bratsen earned
Freshman All-America accolades in his first season as a part of Childress'
During the 2011 season, Childress and the
Aggies also accomplished something never done before in the program's 109-year
history by earning a fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. The 2011
campaign also saw Texas A&M claim 47 victories to surpass the 40-win
plateau for the fourth time in five seasons.
Under Childress' guidance 2010 Aggies once again ascended to the top of the
Big 12 as they claimed their another conference crown under Childress'
direction when A&M won the league's postseason tournament. Along the way
the Aggie pitching staff, led by All-Americans Barret Loux and John Stilson,
ranked as one of the country's best, finishing atop the Big 12 and second
nationally in strikeouts per nine innings (9.3). The Aggies' 612 strikeouts set
a school record, topping the previous year's total of 568.
In 2009, Childress guided the Aggies to 37 wins
and another trip to the postseason. The pitching staff set a then-school record
with 568 strikeouts, leading the Big 12 and finishing seventh nationally with
an average of 9.5 per nine innings.
Named the Big 12's Coach of the Year by his
peers in 2008, Childress guided the Aggies to 46 wins, their first
regular-season championship in nine years and the first back-to-back NCAA
regional championships in school history. Along the way A&M set a new
school and Big 12 record by winning 16 straight conference games.
After just one season at the helm, Childress
orchestrated the biggest turnaround in NCAA Division I baseball. His 2007 team
finished 48-19, winning 23 more games than in 2006, in addition to claiming the
NCAA College Station Regional championship, a berth in the Super Regionals and
the school's first Big 12 title since 1999.
Childress was named the 19th head baseball
coach in school history on June 21, 2005, after spending the previous eight
seasons at Nebraska--the first five as an assistant under current Arkansas Head
Coach Dave Van Horn and the last three as an assistant with current NU skipper
Mike Anderson. In those eight seasons, the Huskers made the NCAA Tournament
five times, advanced to the Super Regionals four times and made three
appearances in the College World Series (2001, 2002 and 2005).
Childress was a collegiate assistant coach for
14 seasons, including 10 years at the Division I level. He spent seven seasons
at Nebraska overseeing the pitching staff and the Husker recruiting efforts
after serving with Van Horn at Northwestern (La.) State from 1995 to 1997.
As a pitching coach, Childress has constructed
his pitching staffs into some of the best in the nation. His teams have posted
sub-4.50 ERAs in each of the past 12 seasons. The Nebraska pitching staff also
turned in the top five single-season strikeout totals in school history under
Childress' watch, including a school-record 538 strikeouts in 2005, while
issuing fewer than three walks per game in his final five seasons in Lincoln.
Under his tutelage, 43 pitchers were drafted or
signed as free agents over the last 14 seasons. In the last six years, 11 Aggie
pitchers have been selected in the first 12 rounds of the Major League Baseball
draft (Austin Creps, 6th round in 2006; David Newmann, 4th round, Kyle
Nicholson, 7th round and Gary Campfield, 12th round in 2007; Kyle Thebeau, 9th
round, and Alex Wilson, 10th round in 2008; Alex Wilson, 2nd round, and Brooks
Raley, 6th round in 2009; Barrett Loux, 1st round in 2010; John Stilson, 3rd
round, and Ross Stripling, 9th round, in 2011 ).
Over the past 11 seasons, Childress has coached
12 first-team All-Big 12 pitchers and 10 Freshman All-America hurlers. The list
is headlined by Shane Komine, the only two-time All-American in Nebraska
baseball history and a two-time Big 12 Pitcher of the Year. In fact, Childress
has coached three Big 12 Pitchers of the Year (Komine in 2000 and 2001, Aaron
Marsden in 2003), three Big 12 Newcomers of the Year (Joba Chamberlain in 2005,
David Newmann in 2007 and John Stilson in 2010) and a Big 12 Freshman of the
Year (Johnny Dorn in 2005). Not included in that group is Brooks Raley, who as
one of the nation's top two-way players in 2009 earned first-team
all-conference accolades and second-team All-America honors and Loux, who
became the 6th overall pick of the 2010 MLB Draft after earning All-America
honors for the Aggies in 2010.
In 2005, Childress' staff at Nebraska finished
the season with a team ERA of 2.69, ranking in the top five nationally and at
the top of the Big 12. In 2004, Nebraska tied for second in the Big 12 and was
25th nationally with a 3.76 ERA. In 2003, the Husker pitching staff guided
Nebraska to 47 wins and the school's second Big 12 regular-season title in
three years. The Huskers ranked second in the Big 12 with a 3.79 ERA, while
ranking first or second in the league in seven categories, including a league-high
Nebraska's pitching depth carried the Huskers
to 47 wins and a second straight College World Series appearance in 2002. The
Huskers finished second in the Big 12 and 15th nationally with a 3.66 team ERA,
while ranking first or second in the league in four categories, including ERA,
complete games (nine, first), shutouts (five, second) and opposing batting
average (.250, second).
The Husker pitching staff was instrumental in
leading NU to its first regular-season conference title in 51 years in 2001 and
in 2000, the Huskers led the nation with a 3.14 ERA. In 1999, the Huskers
posted a 5.50 ERA, the lowest NU mark since 1994 at the time, and struck out a
then-school-record 438 batters in 526 2/3 innings of action. Despite joining
the staff 34 days before the 1998 season opener, Childress' impact was
immediate, as Husker pitchers allowed just 236 earned runs, the fewest in seven
years, and lowered the team ERA by nearly a run per game.
In his final season as the pitching coach at
Northwestern State in 1997, Childress' staff had a 4.20 ERA and held opponents
to a .268 batting average. He coached former major leaguer Brian Lawrence, who
became the first Demon baseball player to reach the Major Leagues since 1954.
In 1996, the Demons' staff owned a 4.66 ERA and held opponents to a .259
batting average. At Northwestern State, Childress handled the pitching coach
duties, and was also responsible for recruiting, field maintenance,
fund-raising, academic advisement and coordinating camps.
Childress and Van Horn first teamed up at
Texarkana College during the 1991 and 1992 seasons. During that span, the
Bulldogs were 93-22, winning the league title in 1991. Following the two
seasons as an assistant at Texarkana, Childress was an assistant coach at his
alma mater Northwood University. In 1994, he returned to Texarkana as the head
coach and finished with an impressive 43-10 record in his only season as coach.
Before his coaching career, Childress, who
graduated from Harmony High School in Gilmer, Texas, attended Northwood where
he was twice named an all-conference pitcher. Northwood won two NAIA conference
championships during his career and was runner-up at the regional tournament
once. Childress was elected the school's Academic Athlete of the Year as a
sophomore and senior. Along with his collegiate coaching experience, Childress
coached the Texarkana Mavericks to a 31-10 record in summer league play in
Childress graduated with a bachelor's degree in
business administration from Northwood in 1990 and earned a master's degree of
science from East Texas State (now TAMU-Commerce) in 1994. He and his wife
Amanda (A&M Class of 1992) have a daughter, Hannah, 15, and a son Maxwell, 9,
who serves as a bat boy for the Aggies.