Dave Gorrie, arms crossed against his robust chest, stood in front of the dugout at Pepperdine University's Eddy D. Field Stadium, pondering his next move.
For the past 10 seasons, that image was as familiar at the school's ballpark as the palm trees that sway in ocean breeze beyond the outfield fence.
Last week, however, that image faded into the past when Gorrie, 57, announced his retirement after 29 years in coaching.
"It was a difficult decision," said Gorrie, who coached baseball at UC Santa Barbara for 19 years before moving to Pepperdine. "As I went through this season, I was beginning to feel that one season was melting into another.
"It wasn't necessarily a burnout situation. I feel like I've worked very, very hard and accomplished as much as I would be able to accomplish. I just need a change to invigorate myself."
Gorrie compiled a career record of 764-599. At Pepperdine, his teams were 409-202, winning at least a share of the West Coast Athletic Conference title in each of the past five seasons. The Waves advanced to the National Collegiate Athletic Assn. playoffs six times and finished third in the College World Series in 1979.
Pepperdine finished 37-24-1 this season, losing to Arizona State in the NCAA West II Regional.
Gorrie said he was not forced to retire.
"It was a good year and it had nothing to do with my decision," Gorrie said. "You've got to remember, I've been doing this for 29 straight years. I just found the need . . . for a change."
Gorrie will continue to teach physical education at Pepperdine and plans to write a baseball coaching manual and work with a group seeking to find a cure for multiple sclerosis.
Athletic Director Wayne Wright has interviewed possible successors to Gorrie for a week.
"Pepperdine baseball, especially in the past 15 years, has been one of the top programs in the country," Wright said. "We're very sensitive to maintaining that."