From 2007 through 2016, there was no shortstop more dangerous at the plate than Troy Tulowitzki.
Tulowitzki amassed 38.1 fWAR during that 10-year stretch and slashed .293/.365/.506 with 216 home runs and 54 stolen bases for the Rockies and Blue Jays. He earned five All-Star Game nods, two Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers. He called it a career in 2019 after a five-game stint with the Yankees.
But Tulowitzki is not out of baseball. Not by any stretch. Fans can even get a glimpse of him in a jersey in the dugout. Only now, he isn’t taking at-bats but coaching others through them.
What has Tulo been up to since ending his MLB career? The Sporting News takes a look.
Troy Tulowitzki coaching career
It didn’t take long after the end of his playing career for Tulowitzki to embark on his coaching career. He played his last game in the majors on April 3, 2019, and announced his retirement on July 25 that year. That same day, he was announced as the newest member of the Texas Longhorns coaching staff.
“The day I announced my retirement, I had already decided I wanted to get started coaching at a major D-I school,” he later told The Denver Post. “My sales pitch for the college game was this: ‘Look, I never saw myself as real, real talented. I was never supremely gifted like (Alex Rodriguez); that wasn’t me.
“But because of all the work that I put in, and how focused I was on my craft, I made myself really good. I know how I got there, and that’s why I’ve always thought coaching was for me.”
Tulowitzki initially reached out to his alma mater, Long Beach State. He told The Athletic that it had just put a new coaching staff together. That led him to Texas through his friends.
Burnt Orange Nation reported that Huston Street, longtime MLB pitcher and a Longhorn alum, called Texas head coach David Pierce to tell him that Tulowitzki would be retiring and wanted to coach in Texas. Pierce was skeptical of the idea, but Tulowitzki was persistent.
“It’s been a very unique situation,” Pierce told Burnt Orange Nation. “I think it needs to be unique. Most people that coach, of course we do it for love, we do it for the game, we do it for players, but you have to make a living. When you have a situation like that, where potentially the person can walk on you at any time, it has to be the right situation.”
Tulowitzk has been working as an unpaid volunteer assistant coach with a focus on infielders and hitters.
The 2020 season was cut short because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, Tulowitzki helped Texas post its highest team batting average (.275) and home run total (68) since 2010. The Longhorns won 50 games and reached the College World Series, but could not advance to the finals.
When the Longhorns were eliminated, Tulowitzki went right to coaching the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team.
“There is no question in my mind that the next great star college baseball coach is going to be Troy Tulowitzki,” Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan told The Athletic. “He has a great baseball mind, he’s going to be a great recruiter, wherever he gets a head [coaching] job, he will be a tremendous success.”
The Longhorns have only improved with Tulowitzki. Here’s a look at their team ranks in Division I this season:
|Stat (NCAA rank)|
|Batting average||.318 (5th)|
|On-base percentage||.412 (15th)|
|Slugging percentage||.560 (4th)|
|Fielding percentage||.986 (1st)|
|Home runs||128 (T-3rd)|
Tulowitzki will now try to help coach the Longhorns to a seventh College World Series title. The Longhorns will compete in Bracket 1 with Texas A&M, Notre Dame and Oklahoma beginning Friday.