NEW ORLEANS, La. – For any collegiate head coach, the hours of practice, recruiting, travel and games can take a toll. Sam Houston State’s Bob Brock maintains, however, he has not worked a day in his life.
Recently, from the New Orleans Marriott, Brock was named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Hall of Fame alongside fellow 2016 inductees Jacquie Joseph (Michigan State head coach), Mona Stevens (former Utah head coach) and John Tschida (University of St. Thomas head coach).
“Ever since I started, I feel like I have not had a job, I have just been going to the rec department and playing,” Brock said. “Some people say, ‘I love my job.’ I couldn’t hardly sleep at night because I love my job and I couldn’t hardly wait to get here. I still feel that way.”
Brock, head coach of the Bearkat softball team since 2002 and a Sam Houston graduate, ranks eighth among NCAA Division I active softball head coaches in total career victories with 1,114 wins amassed during his 33 seasons at Sam Houston, Texas A&M and Baylor.
He stands as one of only 29 head coaches in NCAA softball history to total more than 1,000 career victories and picked up his 1,100th victory during the 2016 season.
“I was really surprised and overwhelmed,” Brock said when learning of his induction. “I didn’t know what to say. The first thing I did was call my wife and tell her then called some friends I have been coaching with.”
Brock served as head coach at Baylor from 1980 to 1981 and at Texas A&M from 1982 to 1996. Six times he directed teams to the Women’s College World Series, winning national titles in 1982, 1983 and 1987 and finishing as runner-up in 1984 and 1986. He also served as the skipper of the Tampa Bay Firestix (WPF) in 1997.
“It was quite an honor to be up there and see some people I had been competing against since the 80s and all of people congratulating me,” Brock said of the induction ceremony. “It’s a big honor because your peers vote on you. It was a very humbling experience.”
Since returning to his alma mater as head coach, Brock, the 2005 Southland Coach of the Year, has directed the Bearkats to 383 victories, the most by any head coach in Sam Houston’s 35-year softball history. His team’s achievements include Sam Houston’s first NCAA Division I regional playoff appearance (2007) and four trips to the Southland Conference tournament finals in league post-season appearances.
“If it hadn’t been for Sam Houston and Bobby Williams hiring me, I probably wouldn’t be coaching right now,” Brock said. “Over the years, a lot of the people I have been around knew Sam Houston as a real competitive program. I had an opportunity to get it back to where it was. Most of the people felt like we would get that going again. There is a lot of respect for Sam Houston.”
During his coaching tenure, he has mentored 21 All-Americans, 60 All-Region honorees and two members on gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic Teams. Additionally, Brock is a member of the Southwest Conference (inaugural class) and Texas A&M Athletic Halls of Fame.
When Brock took the stage on Friday, he wanted to highlight those who helped him achieve those accolades, not provide a listing of them.
“My speech consisted of a list of names and I went through there and what those names meant to me at the convention and as a coach,” Brock said. “I went through there with 10-second stories on each. By the time I was done, everyone was laughing and I said, ‘I guess I better end this thing.’ There were stories everyone in the building could relate to. I didn’t want it to be about me.”
Brock will begin his 16th season at the helm of Sam Houston when the Kats take the field in February. The veteran has already etched his name into Bearkat softball lore but Brock admits, maybe the truly important things have not changed much at all.
“Sometimes, Father Time has made this body slow down a little bit but I still don’t feel done yet,” Brock said. “I don’t know what I would do. I am having just as much fun as when I started … just a little bit slower movement.”