Wayne Leon Graham (born April 6, 1936) is the former head coach of the Rice Owls baseball team in Houston, Texas. He has coached one College World Series championship team and five NJCAA World Series championship teams. Also a former professional baseball player, Graham played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets.

Wayne Graham
Biographical details
Born (1936-04-06) April 6, 1936 (age 83)
Yoakum, Texas
Playing career
Position(s)Third base/Outfield
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1971–1979Houston (TX) Scarborough
1980Houston (TX) Spring Branch
1981–1991San Jacinto College
Head coaching record
Accomplishments and honors
NJCAA World Series (1985–1987, 1989, 1990)
College World Series (2003)
C-USA Tournament (2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2017)
WAC Tournament (1997–1999)
SWC Tournament (1996)
C-USA Coach of the Year (2006–2008, 2010, 2012)
National College Baseball Hall of Fame (2012)

Early lifeEdit

Graham was born in Yoakum, Texas. His father, Earl moved the family to Houston to get a job.[1] Wayne was the batboy for the 1945 semi-pro Finger Furniture baseball team coached by his father.[2]

Playing careerEdit

Graham attended Reagan High School in Houston and played college baseball at the University of Texas,[3] where he played two seasons under coach Bibb Falk.

Graham was signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent in 1957.[4] He played eleven years in pro ball, with the Phillies and Mets organizations. Graham was named Texas minor league player of the year in 1962 after hitting .311 for the Dallas-Fort Worth Rangers.

Graham received two brief MLB call-ups in the early 1960s. In 1963, he was recalled by the Phillies, playing in ten games for manager Gene Mauch. Graham then appeared in twenty games for the 1964Amazin’ Mets”, under the tutelage of legendary skipper Casey Stengel.[4]

Coaching careerEdit

High schoolEdit

When his playing career ended, Graham returned to the University of Texas to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education in 1970, and he later added a master's degree in education at the University of Houston in 1973.

His coaching career began at Scarborough High School in Houston. Graham coached for nine seasons at Scarborough and one year at Spring Branch High School before moving on to coach junior college baseball at San Jacinto College in Houston.

San JacintoEdit

Beginning in 1981, Graham turned San Jacinto into the nation's most dominant JUCO baseball team. After regular conference titles in Graham's first few seasons, the Gators became a dominant force in 1984 when they began a run of seven consecutive 50-win seasons and berths in the NJCAA World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado.

After losing in the 1984 championship game, San Jacinto won three consecutive titles from 1985–87. After falling short again in 1988, the Gators went back-to-back in 1989–90. Those five national titles in six years eventually led to Graham being named Junior College Coach of the Century by Collegiate Baseball.

In his 11 seasons at San Jacinto, Graham posted a 675-113 record (.857 win percentage), earned five national coach of the year awards, and produced countless professional players, most notably Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte.


Graham took over at Rice in 1992. He inherited a program that had tallied only seven winning seasons in 78 years of Southwest Conference play and had only finished above fourth place once. As at San Jacinto, he turned the program into a national powerhouse. A program that had never before qualified for the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament made 23 consecutive tournament appearances (1995–2017) and won 20 consecutive regular-season or tournament conference championships (1996–2015) in three different conferences (Southwest Conference, Western Athletic Conference, and Conference USA). Rice has also been to the College World Series seven times (1997, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, and 2008). Graham's crowning achievement was the 2003 College World Series, in which Rice won its first national championship in any sport in its 91-year history. Not one to rest on his laurels, Graham quipped during a post-game interview, "We want to do it again." On April 16, 2016, Graham won his 1,100th Division I game (3-2 over Western Kentucky). He has more than 1,600 wins as a collegiate head coach.[5] Graham was also largely responsible for Rice's on-campus baseball stadium, Reckling Park, being built in 2000.

In 2004, Graham once again presided over history, as three Rice pitchers were drafted in the first eight picks of the 2004 Major League Baseball Draft, the only time three teammates have ever been selected in the first round. Graham's Rice teams have produced first-round picks Jose Cruz, Jr. (1995), Matt Anderson (1997), Lance Berkman (1997), Bubba Crosby (1998), Kenny Baugh (2001), Jon Skaggs (2001), David Aardsma (2003), Philip Humber (2004), Jeff Niemann (2004), Wade Townsend (2004, 2005), Joe Savery (2007), and Anthony Rendon (2011). Eight of those players have been pitchers, and Graham is known for developing players that went undrafted out of high school, such as Niemann and Townsend.

During the 2017 season, despite finishing in 6th place in Conference USA, Graham led Rice to their 23rd consecutive NCAA Tournament. Needing to win the Conference USA tournament title to qualify for the NCAA tournament and to keep the streak alive, he led to Owls to the conference title. Rice won four consecutive games and rallied late in the championship to upset #11 nationally ranked Southern Miss 5-4 on a walk-off double. Graham never had a losing season as a high school or college coach until his final season at Rice, 2018. His contract was not extended after that season.[6]

Head coaching recordEdit

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Rice Owls (Southwest Conference) (1992–1996)
1992 Rice 29–26 15–21 5th
1993 Rice 36–18 7–11 5th
1994 Rice 34–21 12–6 t-2nd
1995 Rice 43–19 15–9 t-2nd NCAA Regional
1996 Rice 42–23 9–15 t-6th NCAA Regional
Rice Owls (Western Athletic Conference) (1997–2005)
1997 Rice 47–16 20–9 1st (South) College World Series
1998 Rice 46–17 26–4 1st (South) NCAA Regional
1999 Rice 59–15 25–5 1st College World Series
2000 Rice 43–23 19–11 1st NCAA Regional
2001 Rice 47–20 26–10 1st NCAA Super Regional
2002 Rice 52–14 28–2 1st College World Series
2003 Rice 58–12 25–5 1st College World Series Champions
2004 Rice 46–14 24–6 1st NCAA Regional
2005 Rice 45–19 21–9 1st NCAA Super Regional
Rice Owls (Conference USA) (2006–2018)
2006 Rice 57–13 22–2 1st College World Series
2007 Rice 56–14 22–2 1st College World Series
2008 Rice 47–15 21–3 1st College World Series
2009 Rice 43–18 16–8 2nd NCAA Super Regional
2010 Rice 40–23 17–7 1st NCAA Regional
2011 Rice 42–21 16–8 t-1st NCAA Regional
2012 Rice 41–19 17–7 1st NCAA Regional
2013 Rice 44–20 15–9 1st NCAA Super Regional
2014 Rice 42–20 23–7 1st NCAA Regional
2015 Rice 37-22 22-8 1st NCAA Regional
2016 Rice 38-24 19-10 4th NCAA Regional
2017 Rice 33-31 16-14 6th NCAA Regional
2018 Rice 26-31–2 11-15–2 7th
Rice: 1,173–528–2 531–244–2
Total: 1,173–528–2

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Oral History Transcript, Houston Oral History Project". Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  2. ^ "1945 Houston Post photo". Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  3. ^ "Wayne Graham Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved December 10, 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Wayne Leon Graham". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved December 10, 2012.
  5. ^ Rice Athletics: http://www.riceowls.com/sports/m-basebl/mtt/graham_wayne00.html
  6. ^ "The Wayne Graham era at Rice draws to a close". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  7. ^ "Annual Conference Standings". BoydsWorld.com. Archived from the original on February 10, 2013. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  8. ^ "2010 Texas Longhorns Baseball Media Guide: History". Texas Sports Information. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 10, 2013. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  9. ^ "2011 Western Athletic Conference Baseball Media Guide". WACSports.com. Archived from the original on February 10, 2013. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  10. ^ "2013 Conference USA Baseball Media Guide". Archived from the original (PDF) on February 9, 2013. Retrieved February 9, 2013.

External linksEdit