Ty Harrington never played baseball at Baylor. He never coached at Baylor – in fact he was never a student here at all. But every time he enters Bear Country, he comes home.
Harrington grew up all over Texas, but Waco, he calls home – and the Baylor Bears, family. As head coach of the baseball program at Texas State University, he has taken his team all over the country. When the Bobcats play the Bears however, he roots for both teams.
Harrington’s love for Baylor goes back to his parents, Lee and Elaine Harrington, who said Baylor was the start to their family. They met while attending school and were married before graduating together in ’58. So it’s no wonder that Baylor holds a special place in Harrington’s heart.
For bringing his parents together, he said he feels “indebted and appreciative,” but it goes beyond that. When Lee and Elaine died in 2006 in a car accident, they left a legacy in Waco that Harrington finds comforting.
“It brings back a lot of memories of my mother and father every time we play Baylor,” Harrington said. “There’s not enough words that I could say to talk about how important Baylor was to them.”
But it’s not all memories when Harrington returns. With a full coaching schedule, Harrington cherishes the trips to Waco that give him a chance to see his friends and family members who still live here.
“This business is so crazy and so time oriented that you don’t get to spend enough time in communication with friends and family and this gives me a chance to do both,” he said, “so I enjoy going back to Waco.”
Among those Harrington calls friends at Baylor are the coaches he faces on the field. Coaches like Steve Smith, head coach of the Bears, who said “all of us in coaching have so many friends that it is really not an issue or concern, especially when we are not in the same conference.” But Smith recognizes the unique emotions that Harrington feels when he returns to Baylor because of his parents “who were so loved.”
Those friendships make every win or loss bitter-sweet. On Feb. 26, the Bears defeated the Bobcats 3-2, but Harrington will make the trip back to Waco on April 6, for the second time of the season. Win or loss though, Harrington said he likes playing the Bears not only because it’s “one of the best programs in the country,” but also because it “brings back memories” of his parents.
“The baseball side is always good,” he said, “but the emotional side is special.”