ENMU’s Clabaugh steps down

Freedom New Mexico

PORTALES — Eastern New Mexico University baseball will have quite a different look next season.

Veteran coach Phil Clabaugh tendered his resignation on Tuesday. He has been ENMU’s only coach since the program was revived at the school in 1992.

His 20-year record was 456-579-2. Counting four years prior to that as the coach at Western New Mexico, his overall mark stands at 552-714-3.

“This was totally his decision,” ENMU athletic director Jeff Geiser said Tuesday night. “He was ready to retire.”

The Greyhounds ended the 2011 season last weekend with a Lone Star Conference sweep of Northeastern State at Greyhound Field to finish 16-28 overall, including 11-22 in the Lone Star Conference. They went 11-10 at home this season.

Like numerous programs at ENMU, the baseball team has struggled to compete with some of the LSC’s programs with more funding and newer facilities. At the same time, Clabaugh worked hard to improve Greyhound Field, including the building several years ago of a clubhouse and indoor practice facility near the field.

“By his body language, you could tell he was getting tired,” Geiser said. “We’re sad to see him go. You don’t really appreciate somebody until you have to fill their shoes. It’s not going to be an easy position to fill.”

The Greyhounds had three winning seasons under Clabaugh — 29-25 in 1995, 34-19 in 1996 and 25-21-1 in 2000. They posted consecutive .500 campaigns in 2008 (26-26) and 2009 (28-28).

Geiser said the school will begin advertising the position immediately.

“We’re going to do a search and have it filled as soon as possible,” he said, adding that he hopes to have it done within a month.

“I don’t think coach Clabaugh is leaving the cupboard bare,” Geiser said. “I think he’s leaving the new coach a pretty good team.”

Clabaugh could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.