For all intents and purposes, Austin Knight was going to be an assistant on the College of the Desert’s baseball staff.
He checked out Palm Desert, Calif., the home of the community college. He had just earned his master’s in kinesiology and was in the process of joining the school’s kinesiology department. And then with one call from a university needing to fill a coaching vacancy, Knight’s plans changed.
Knight will now be a volunteer assistant coach at Texas A&M under head coach Rob Childress. His duties will include coaching the infield and assisting on-campus recruiting for the Aggies. Knight will replace Mike Clement, who was hired to be the hitting coach and recruiting coordinator at Kansas State.
“It’s weird how it worked out,” Knight said. “It was going to take a week or two to officially get hired on with the kinesiology department, so I hadn’t been able to fill out anything or sign any paperwork until that point. It’s just crazy how it all worked out.”
Knight graduated from Ryan in 2006, where he played third base and shortstop for head coach Bret Warnack before heading to Dallas Baptist.
He played shortstop during his freshman and sophomore seasons for the Patriots before moving to second base his final two years.
In his senior year with the Patriots, he hit seven home runs and had 17 doubles while committing only four errors.
In 2008, Knight was a member of the first team in school history to make it to the NCAA regional tournament, which was played at Texas A&M.
After he earned his bachelor’s degree in biblical studies, he became a volunteer assistant coach with the Patriots.
“I just treated it as a learning experience, and an opportunity to see if coaching is where I wanted to be, and it definitely was because I enjoyed it so much there,” Knight said. “I didn’t know if I was going to be the volunteer at Dallas Baptist for two years or five years or how it worked.”
The opportunity arose to go to Palm Desert and gain experience in recruiting and have control of the infield.
Then, on Aug. 10, Knight got the call asking him if he’d be interested in joining the staff in College Station. Knight was told he’d have the weekend to think it over. After a couple days of talking about it, praying about it and talking to the coaches at the College of the Desert, he realized he couldn’t waste the opportunity.
He jumped on a plane back to the Dallas-Fort Worth area on Tuesday, drove to College Station early Wednesday morning and got the call Thursday saying the job was his.
Knight, who turns 25 on Sunday, was told by Texas A&M that he wasn’t necessarily the best Patriot on the team, but the Aggies’ coaches were fond of the way Knight went about the game.
“It was a no-brainer almost,” Knight said of his decision to join the Aggies’ staff. “One thing that sold me was they said the volunteers they’ve had in the past have gotten recruiting jobs within a couple of years because they do such a good job of mentoring the volunteers and really teaching them the ropes and that kind of deal. It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn from an incredible coaching staff and program.”
BEN BABY can be reached 940-566-6869. His e-mail address is email@example.com.