The faint rumors had swirled all season. Friday night, they came true.
Brenham head baseball coach Jim Long announced his retirement after 17 season as the Cubs head coach.
“It’s very hard to leave,” Long said. “I love the town, I love the players, they’ve been great to me, and it’s been a great journey for me. And the Lord had blessed me. I give all the praise to Him for putting me in this position and giving me the opportunities to touch these lives and they’ve touched me over the years.”
Long said the decision to step away came once Brenham ended District 17-4A play, after his dermatologist told him to start spending less time in the sun. Through the final weeks of Cubs practices, Long could be found wearing a cowboy hat with the hot afternoon sun high in the sky.
“The doctor said I can’t be out there in the sun,” Long said. “And I’d like to live a lot longer. So that was contributing factor.”
Long took over head coaching duties for Brenham in 1995. In his 17 season, he led the Cubs to the playoffs every year, and to the state tournament in 1999, 2003, 2009, 2010 and 2011. The Cubs won their first title under Long in 2010.
“It’s just been a tremendous honor to coach with coach Long,” Brenham pitching coach Trey Marik said. “I’ve learned so much about the game, so much about life, about how to treat people, about the Brenham tradition and what it means. It’s just been a great honor.”
Long said the greatest memory he’s had in his 30-year coaching career was winning the Class 4A title, although working with the players through the years has given him some of his greatest memories.
“I could stand here for hours and tell you some stories of these young men,” he said.
Long’s affect on the team was obvious after the Cubs left the field for the last time with their head coach. After a 10-minute huddle in left field, the Cubs broke one last time, misty-eyed and heartbroken.
“He’s taught me so much,” junior shortstop Cullen Jozwiak said. “On and off the field he’s just a great guy, a great coach. He’s probably one of the greatest people I’ve ever had in my life. He’s had the biggest influence out of anybody I’ve ever come across. Just to see him leave is heartbreaking.”
“It’s been awesome,” senior second baseman Garrett Webb said. “I wouldn’t have wanted to be coached by any other coach in Texas. He’s a great coach, you can see by his resume. But it’s not just baseball. His character—just things we’re able to take away from him goes beyond baseball. It’s been a blessing to play under him.”
Senior right fielder Jesse Baker shared those sentiments.
“It’s been amazing. We’ve had our ups and downs, which I guess most coaches and players have, but he’s an amazing man and I’ll never forget him,” Baker said.
Although Long is departing from his position from the Cubs, he plans to still continue his career in baseball.
“We’ve got some options we’re going to look at,” Long said. “I’ve talked to a few people over at the Round Rock Express and the Texas Rangers to do some stuff with them. But everything is up in the air right now.”