The winningest baseball coach in The Master’s College history called it quits on Saturday after a doubleheader split that exemplified his roller-coaster four-year career.
Chris Harrison, who only a year ago guided the Mustangs to a school-record 28 victories, resigned his position at the request of school officials.
Harrison, 34, NAIA District 3 Coach of the Year in 1991, said he was told by Athletic Director Bill Oates that the school administration “wanted new direction” for the baseball program.
“It’s just one of those things that happen,” said Harrison, who also vacates his post as the college’s sports information director. Harrison’s career record at Master’s was 83-100-2. Until this season, he was the only baseball coach in the school’s history with a winning record.
The Mustangs’ 14-32-2 finish changed that, but Harrison was optimistic about the future.
“That’s the type of program we have here,” he said. “You can’t build a team where you have front-line guys and then others who you’re grooming. We never had those kinds of resources. It was build, then rebuild.
“I knew going into this year we would be down. We just didn’t have that much coming back.”
Harrison took the reins at Master’s in 1991 after his brother, Pat, left to take a job as an assistant at Oklahoma. Prior to coming to at The Master’s, he coached at Kansas State, Gordon (Mass.) College and in Holland.
Mustang players were told by Harrison late Friday night that Saturday’s District 3 doubleheader at Biola would be his last appearance as their coach.
Master’s defeated Biola, 8-1, in the first game, but lost the second, 10-9, leaving the tying run stranded at third base.
Harrison had a career record of 47-40 in District 3 games. He said his overall winning percentage would have been better had he not annually scheduled tough nonconference opponents.
“Outside of league we got hurt bad, but I felt like we needed to play the top competition we could,” Harrison said. “With the young team we had this season, we took our bruises.
“I guess we could have played 35 games, an easier schedule, gone with our top pitchers more and probably had a better record. But I never wanted to play it like that.”
Harrison said he might pursue another job in baseball. He turned down a Division I assistant’s job last season to remain at Master’s.