SAN ANTONIO – From the outside looking in, Ryan Shotzberger knew that UIW was special.
"There is just such a commitment to the program, and not just from the players and the staff, but from the administration and the school," Shotzberger said. "Any time you go somewhere, you want to have support and this place supports at a very high level."
It's why the 37 year old decided to make the jump from being Todd Whitting's right hand man as the Houston Cougars' hitting coach, to taking charge of a Cardinals program on the rise.
"It's a great opportunity for us, getting to San Antonio which is a place with really good baseball and just gettign the chance to lead this program," Shotzberger said.
Shotzberger may be a rookie head coach, but he's no stranger to big moments. In his 14 years as an assistant at Houston and TCU, he was part of 10 postseason appearances, including three super regionals and a trip to the College World Series with the Horned Frogs in 2010.
"I was extremely fortunate to work with those guys. Coach (Todd) Whitting, I've taken different things from him, (Randy) Mazey over at West Virginia, (Tony) Vitello at Tennessee and Coach (Jim) Schlossnagle at TCU. Trying to stay ahead of those guys as an assistant coach, it made me better," Shotzberger said.
The time spent on staff at two of Texas' best collegiate programs gave Shotzberger a taste of what he'll face in the Southland Conference, arguably one of college baseball's best mid-major leagues.
"At Houston we played Sam (Houston) three times per year. We played Lamar, we played McNeese State, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, basically the entire league, and every time we played them it was a good game," Shotzberger said. "That's what I'm looking for. There's no clear cut best and worst. Anyone can win on any day and to me, that's exciting."
Shotzberger said he hopes to have his staff finalized as soon as next week.