Wayne Graham

For the South African field hockey player, see Wayne Graham (field hockey). For the rugby union player, see Wayne Graham (rugby union).
Wayne Graham
Sport(s) Baseball
Current position
Title Head Coach
Team Rice
Conference C-USA
Biographical details
Born (1936-04-06) April 6, 1936
Yoakum, Texas
Playing career
1956–1957 Texas
Position(s) Third base/Outfield
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1971–1979 Scarborough HS
1980 Spring Branch HS
1981–1991 San Jacinto JC
1992–present Rice
Head coaching record
Overall 1,675-514
Accomplishments and honors
NJCAA World Series (1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990)
College World Series (2003)
C-USA Tournament (2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013)
WAC Tournament (1997, 1998, 1999)
SWC Tournament (1996)
C-USA Coach of the Year (2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012)

Wayne Leon Graham (born April 6, 1936) is a former major-league baseball player and the head coach of the Rice Owls baseball team in Houston, Texas. He has coached one College World Series championship team and five NJCAA World Series champions.

Early life

Graham was born in Yoakum, Texas. His father, Earl moved the family to Houston to get a job.[1] Wayne was the batboy for the 1945 semipro Finger Furniture baseball team coached by his father.[2]

Playing career

Graham attended Reagan High School in Houston and played college baseball at the University of Texas,[3] where he played two seasons under coach Bibb Falk.

Graham was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies as an amateur free agent in 1957.[4] He played eleven years as a professional with the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets organizations, including brief major-league stints in 1963 and 1964. He was named Texas minor league player of the year in 1962 after hitting .311 for Dallas-Fort Worth. Graham was called up to the Phillies in 1963 and played in 10 games under manager Gene Mauch. One year later, Graham appeared in twenty games for the Mets under legendary Casey Stengel.

Coaching career

High school

When his playing career ended, Graham returned to the University of Texas to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education in 1970, and he later added a Master's Degree in education at the University of Houston in 1973.

His coaching career began at Scarborough High School in Houston. Graham coached for nine seasons at Scarborough and one year at Spring Branch High School before moving on to coach junior college baseball at San Jacinto College in Houston.

San Jacinto

Beginning in 1981, Graham turned San Jacinto into the nation's most dominant JUCO baseball team. After regular conference titles in Graham's first few seasons, the Gators became a dominant force in 1984 when they began a run of seven consecutive 50-win seasons and berths in the NJCAA World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado.

After losing in the 1984 championship game, San Jacinto won three consecutive titles from 1985–87. After falling short again in 1988, the Gators went back-to-back in 1989–90. Those five national titles in six years eventually led to Graham being named Junior College Coach of the Century by Collegiate Baseball.

In his 11 seasons at San Jacinto, Graham posted a 675-113 record (.857 win percentage), earned five national coach of the year awards and produced countless professional players, most notably Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte.


Graham took over at Rice in 1992. He inherited a program that had tallied only seven winning seasons in 78 years of Southwest Conference play, and had only finished above fourth place once. As at San Jac, he turned the program into a national powerhouse. A program that had never before qualified for the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament has made 21 consecutive tournament appearances (1995–2015) and 20 consecutive regular-season or tournament conference championships (1996–2015) in three different conferences (Southwest Conference, Western Athletic Conference, Conference USA). Rice has also been to the College World Series seven times (1997, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008). Graham's crowning achievement was the 2003 College World Series, in which Rice won its first national championship in any sport in its 91-year history. Not one to rest on his laurels, Graham quipped during a post-game interview, "We want to do it again."

One year later, Graham once again presided over history, as three Rice pitchers were drafted in the first eight picks of the 2004 Major League Baseball Draft, the only time three teammates have ever been selected in the first round.

Graham's Rice teams have produced first-round picks Jose Cruz, Jr. (1995), Matt Anderson (1997), Lance Berkman (1997), Bubba Crosby (1998), Kenny Baugh (2001), Jon Skaggs (2001), David Aardsma (2003), Philip Humber (2004), Jeff Niemann (2004), Wade Townsend (2004, 2005), Joe Savery (2007) and Anthony Rendon (2011). Eight of those players have been pitchers, and Graham is known for developing players that went undrafted out of high school, such as Niemann and Townsend.

Graham was also largely responsible for Rice's on-campus baseball stadium, Reckling Park, being built in 2000. The facility seats more than 5,000 fans and is one of the finest in the country.

Now in his 80s, Graham is one of the most quotable coaches in baseball. On April 16, 2016, Graham won his 1,100th Division I game (3-2, over Western Kentucky ). He has more than 1,600 wins as a collegiate head coach.[5] He has never had a losing season in 38 years as a high school or college coach.

Head coaching records

Below is a table of Graham's yearly records as an NCAA head baseball coach.

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Rice Owls (Southwest Conference) (1992–1996)
1992 Rice 29–26 15–21 5th
1993 Rice 36–18 7–11 5th
1994 Rice 34–21 12–6 t-2nd SWC Tournament
1995 Rice 43–19 15–9 t-2nd South Regional
1996 Rice 42–23 9–15 t-6th Midwest Regional
Rice Owls (Western Athletic Conference) (1997–2005)
1997 Rice 47–16 20–9 1st (South) College World Series
1998 Rice 46–17 26–4 1st (South) Central Regional
1999 Rice 59–15 25–5 1st College World Series (#8 National Seed)
2000 Rice 43–23 19–11 1st Houston Regional
2001 Rice 47–20 26–10 1st Lincoln Super Regional
2002 Rice 52–14 28–2 1st College World Series (#4 National Seed)
2003 Rice 58–12 25–5 1st College World Series (#5 National Seed)
2004 Rice 46–14 24–6 1st Houston Regional
2005 Rice 45–19 21–9 1st New Orleans Super Regional
Rice Owls (Conference USA) (2006–present)
2006 Rice 57–13 22–2 1st College World Series (#2 National Seed)
2007 Rice 56–14 22–2 1st College World Series (#2 National Seed)
2008 Rice 47–15 21–3 1st College World Series (#6 National Seed)
2009 Rice 43–18 16–8 2nd Baton Rouge Super Regional
2010 Rice 40–23 17–7 1st Austin Regional
2011 Rice 42–21 16–8 t-1st Houston Regional
2012 Rice 41–19 17–7 1st Houston Regional
2013 Rice 44–20 15–9 1st Raleigh Super Regional
2014 Rice 42–20 23–7 1st Houston Regional
2015 Rice 37-22 22-8 1st Houston Regional
2016 Rice 38-24 19-10 4th Baton Rouge Regional
Rice: 1,114-466 504–215
Total: 1,114-466

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion


See also


  1. "Oral History Transcript, Houston Oral History Project". Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  2. "1945 Houston Post photo". Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  3. "Wayne Graham Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved December 10, 2012.
  4. "Wayne Leon Graham". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved December 10, 2012.
  5. Rice Athletics: http://www.riceowls.com/sports/m-basebl/mtt/graham_wayne00.html
  6. "Annual Conference Standings". BoydsWorld.com. Archived from the original on February 10, 2013. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  7. "2010 Texas Longhorns Baseball Media Guide: History". Texas Sports Information. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 10, 2013. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  8. "2011 Western Athletic Conference Baseball Media Guide". WACSports.com. Archived from the original on February 10, 2013. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  9. "2013 Conference USA Baseball Media Guide". Archived from the original (PDF) on February 9, 2013. Retrieved February 9, 2013.
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