LSU didn’t make it to Omaha this year, but Tiger fans let their roars be heard.
Leading up to this year’s College World Series, The World-Herald honored some of the legendary coaches who shaped the game and conducted a poll: Who is the most iconic coach of all in Omaha? The five candidates: Skip Bertman (LSU), Jim Brock (Arizona State), Rod Dedeaux (Southern California), Augie Garrido (Texas, Cal State Fullerton) and Mark Marquess (Stanford).
Bertman won with more than 46 percent of the vote, four times as much as Garrido in second place. Dedeaux finished third, ahead of Brock and Marquess.
Bertman led LSU, which made the NCAA tournament once before his arrival, to 11 CWS appearances from 1986 to 2000 and won five national titles. The Tigers went undefeated in championship games under his leadership, and only one other coach (Dedeaux) has won more championships.
Bertman’s victory is a credit to the fans. Though all of the candidates earned their legend status, fans drove the poll.
“Skip Bertman was the man,” one fan wrote on Twitter. “Put LSU on the map and kept it there. Built the premier baseball program in a football state.”
While Bertman has been crowned as the ultimate CWS coaching legend, there were plenty of others who deserved consideration. Some who received write-in votes: Cliff Gustafson (Texas), Ron Fraser (Miami), Jim Morris (Miami), Ray Tanner (South Carolina), Mike Martin (Florida State), Gene Stephenson (Wichita State) and Bobby Winkles (Arizona State).
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10. South Carolina may not be the most successful team in College World Series history, but it very well could be the timeliest. The Gamecocks, who are 32-20 in 11 CWS appearances, have two national championships — one in the final series at Rosenblatt and the other in the first CWS at TD Ameritrade. You can see the full CWS team page here.
9. Cal State Fullerton is 34-31 in 18 CWS appearances and has won four national championships, including most recently in 2004. In that title run, Jason Windsor threw 322 pitches in eight days, notching two complete games and a save, while allowing two runs in 21 innings. You can see the full CWS team page here.
7 (tie). LSU was a little behind in making its first trip to Omaha, but since then, it is among the most common programs to reach the CWS. The Tigers have made 18 trips to Omaha — all since 1986 — and hold a 40-27 record with six titles, including a walk-off home run by Warren Morris in the 1996 championship. You can see the full CWS team page here.
7 (tie). Oklahoma State has been a familiar name in the CWS, but hasn't had much luck as of late in the hunt to end a championship drought. The Cowboys are 40-38 in 20 CWS appearances, but the program's lone championship came in 1959 — 18 June trips to Omaha ago. You can see the full CWS team page here.
6. Stanford is 40-29 in 16 CWS appearances with two titles — back-to-back in 1987 and 1988. In the first championship run, freshman Paul Carey hit .381 with two doubles, seven RBIs, nine runs scored and a game-winning grand slam in the semifinals for the Cardinal. You can see the CWS team page here.
5. It took awhile for Arizona to get a title, but once it did, it couldn't ever be counted out again. The program's first championship came in its 10th CWS appearance, but the Wildcats have won four titles in their last eight trips to Omaha. Overall, Arizona is 43-30 in 17 appearances. You can see the CWS team page here.
4. From 1978-2008, Miami made the CWS 22 times under the leadership of Ron Fraser and Jim Morris. In their 25 total appearances, the Hurricanes are 48-42 with championships in 1982, 1985, 1999 and 2001. You can see the CWS team page here.
2. No team can claim as many CWS titles as USC. In this photo, team captains Tim Tolman and Doug Stokke, along with coach Rod Dedeaux, are celebrating the Trojans' 11th title in 1978. USC would add its 12th title 20 years later and has an overall record of 74-26 in 21 appearances. You can see the CWS team page here.
1. Texas has the most wins and appearances of any team. The Longhorns are 86-60 with six titles — in 1949, 1950, 1975, 1983, 2002 and 2005. Texas' 36 CWS appearances are split among four coaches: Bibb Falk (10), Cliff Gustafson (17), Augie Garrido (8) and David Pierce (1). You can see the CWS team page here.