When the Rice Institute opened for classes in 1912, the school started fielding athletic teams right off the bat. A baseball team was formed that fall and began competing in the spring of 1913, when the team went 4-3. The team’s first manager was Philip Arbuckle. Not only did Arbuckle coach Rice baseball, but over his career he also coached Rice’s football, track and basketball teams. He also served as athletic director and taught English.
Over the years, Rice baseball would be hit or miss. There were some good years and some not so stellar years. In one stretch, Rice had only seven winning seasons in 78 years of Southwest Conference play.
In 2003, 91 years after the program began, the baseball team brought Rice University its first national championship in any sport. Much credit is given – and deservedly so – to Owls’ head baseball coach Wayne Graham.
Graham came to Rice in 1992 from San Jacinto Junior College, where he had won three consecutive junior college national championships from 1985 to 1987. To date, Graham has consistently kept the Owls nationally ranked by winning conference championships and appearing in the postseason NCAA tournament. He has also coached many Rice players into professional ranks. The Rice University Baseball Players Association website keeps a list of Rice players playing pro ball here.
Working with Centennial Historian Melissa Kean, video producer Brandon Martin takes a look at Rice baseball. For more information on Rice’s history, visit Kean’s blog at www.ricehistorycorner.com.
To help celebrate the university’s centennial Oct. 12, Rice University is producing weekly videos exploring the school’s unique history.
To see other stories in the centennial video series, go to www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL60D6D71E71B66B3D&feature=plcp.