Skip to main content

Famed Texas baseball coach Cliff Gustafson dies at 91

Former Texas head coach Cliff Gustafson (file photo) was a two-time national champion.

Legendary Texas baseball coach Cliff Gustafson, who guided the Longhorns to two national championships and 22 Southwest Conference titles, died Monday at age 91.

He passed away in his sleep from congestive heart failure at his home in Austin, Texas, his family confirmed to the Austin American-Statesman.

Gustafson compiled a record of 1,466-377 at Texas from 1968-96 with 17 appearances in the College World Series, including championships in 1975 and 1983. He was the winningest coach in college baseball when he retired.

“The University of Texas Baseball program is deeply saddened by the passing of Coach Gustafson,” current Texas coach David Pierce said in a school news release. “He was a remarkable coach and an incredible man that touched so many lives during his illustrious career. Coach Gus truly built The University of Texas Baseball program to the most recognizable brand in all of college baseball.

“His leadership on and off the field has been an inspiration to so many coaches, players and staff for many years. Personally I am very grateful to Coach Gustafson and his family for the times that we have spent together since I’ve been in Austin. Texas Baseball will always honor and miss Coach Gus. Our thoughts and prayers are with Coach and his family. Rest In Peace. Hook ‘Em!”

Gustafson was named the national Coach of the Year in 1982 and 1983 and coached 35 first-team All-Americans.

“When you talk about all-time coaching greats at The University of Texas — in all sports — Coach Gus is right up there with the best,” Tommy Harmon, an All-American catcher and longtime assistant coach under Gustafson, said in a statement. “The historic run he had in building on the great legacy of our baseball program will never be forgotten, and the stature he took it to continues to this day.

“He was a man who just loved baseball, loved his players and every year gave his teams everything he had. There was no doubting it, for Coach Gus, it was Family, Faith and Baseball … and I’m not sure in which order.”

Gustafson is a member of the National College Baseball Hall of Fame, the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame and the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame.

–Field Level Media