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Garrido Is Back in Fullerton's Camp : College baseball: Coach, who left for Illinois in 1987, returns to lead the Titans again and assume position of assistant athletic director of community relations. He also signs a three-year contract with a base salary of $66,984.

August 15, 1990|MIKE DiGIOVANNA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

FULLERTON — Augie Garrido, the baseball coach who wasn't the happiest of campers when he left Cal State Fullerton for Illinois in 1987, will pitch his tent with the Titans once again.

Garrido, who guided Fullerton to national championships in 1979 and 1984, was named the Titans' new coach Tuesday, replacing Larry Cochell, who resigned July 3 to accept the Oklahoma job.

Garrido, 51, signed a three-year contract that, according to Fullerton assistant athletic director Steve DiTolla, will pay a base salary of $66,984 a year. He will also receive an annual $10,000 salary supplement, which will come from the athletic department's fund-raising pool.

Football Coach Gene Murphy is the only other Titan coach who receives such a supplement.

In addition, Garrido will receive revenue from summer baseball camps, an amount the coach predicted to be in the $10,000 to $15,000 range, bringing the total compensation package to about $90,000 a year.

Garrido will also assume the newly created position of assistant athletic director for community relations, a role that will involve public relations and fund-raising for the entire athletic department and the Titan Sports Complex, Fullerton's on-campus stadium that is scheduled for construction beginning this fall.

"I'm a very happy man," said Garrido, who flew from Edmonton, Canada, where he was serving as a coach with Team USA, to Orange County Tuesday to hammer out the final details of the contract. "This is my home, and I'm happy to be relocating to the area where my family is. I have deep feelings about the whole thing."

Garrido, who had a 667-292-6 record in 15 seasons as Titan coach (1973-87), had some bitter feelings when he left three years ago. He complained of the school's lack of commitment to the baseball program. Little progress was being made on plans for a new stadium, and Garrido was tired of focusing so much attention and energy on fund-raising.

He rarely had the resources to act on new ideas and said he felt like he was "treading water" at Fullerton. Illinois lured him with a six-figure contract that included revenue from baseball camps, a shoe contract and radio show. The school had also just built a 1,500-seat baseball stadium.

But Garrido, sounding like a born-again Titan, is convinced he won't be plunging into the same old job and the same old problems at Fullerton.

The sports complex is on the verge of construction and much of the fund-raising burden has been eased. In the past, coaches have been directly responsible for raising 40%, or about $100,000, of the baseball budget.

"Their commitment to roll up their sleeves and get in there and help with the fund-raising makes a big difference," Garrido said. "Doing it all by yourself gets old."

There will be plenty to do in the next few years. The base plans for the 1,500-seat baseball portion of the sports complex don't include a baseball pavilion, which is supposed to have a press box, concession stands and restrooms. The school will have to raise an additional $800,000 to build the pavilion, but Garrido doesn't see this as a burden.

"I'm excited about the challenges and opportunities at Fullerton," he said. "A lot of problems need to be solved, and if they are, we can make significant contributions to North Orange County through the stadium. That's a real buzz for me, thinking we can put up a stadium that people will use for the next 50 years."

While the sports complex, scheduled for completion in the fall of 1992, is being constructed, Fullerton will play its next two seasons at Amerige Park in downtown Fullerton. Garrido hopes to turn this potential drawback into an advantage.

"If it's handled right, it could be interesting," he said. "That park has a lot of history. Walter Johnson played there, the Wrigley family built it, and the Chicago Cubs trained there. We could rejuvenate it. I've always looked at things a little weird, but it could be dynamite."

Ironically, the thrust of Garrido's new role as assistant athletic director will be fund raising. But his efforts will be on behalf of the entire athletic department, and he says he won't feel pressured to raise money for bats and balls and uniforms and scholarships--the things he focused on before.

"The administration will take care of the nuts and the bolts of the baseball program," Garrido said. "I don't see it as a burden when it's part of a team effort to make things better. I want to have input into the direction of the baseball program, and I want to make a contribution to more than just baseball."

Garrido's contribution to the baseball program should be significant, according to local coaches.

"He brings instant recognition and a reputation for success," said Rancho Santiago Coach Don Sneddon, who played for Garrido in the 1970s. "His name alone will generate a lot of interest in the program. That's a good selling point."

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