Rice baseball tags Matt Bragga as new head coach

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Rice baseball is now under new leadership. Former Tennessee Tech coach Matt Bragga will take over the head coaching position for the Owls.

Bragga had Tennessee Tech in the super regional for the first time in program history, ultimately losing to the University of Texas in an elimination game.

"Matt Bragga is the right person to carry on the terrific legacy and national prominence of Rice baseball," said Joe Karlgaard, the athletic director at Rice.

Wayne Graham's 27-year successful tenure with the program has come to an end. The program decided to not renew his contract after the Owls had a losing record and did not reach the NCAA Tournament.

His tenure at Rice finishes with over 1,100 wins and a national championship win over Stanford in 2003.

TCU pitching coach Kirk Saarloos seemed to be the favorite for the Owls new coach until taking an offer to remain with the Horned Frogs. Other TCU assistant Bill Mosiello and Southeastern Louisiana coach Matt Riser were also in the running.

Bragga finished his final season with the Golden Eagles with a 41-21 record and 23-7 conference record. His 15 years with the program finish at 445-383-2 and he has had 33 players selected in the MLB draft.

Bragga's collegiate baseball career was at the University of Kentucky, playing a plethora of positions.

"I am humbled to lead the Rice Baseball program and honored to carry on the rich tradition established under Wayne Graham," said Bragga. "My goal is to compete in the College World Series and win championships. I will also work to ensure our student-athletes reach their full potential both on and off the field, at one of the greatest institutions in the world. I want to thank President Leebron and Joe Karlgaard for putting their trust in me to lead this storied program and the young men who comprise it."
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