When Brian Roper retired as Blinn College baseball coach in 2007, his successor, Harvey McIntyre, began to don Roper’s No. 25 as a tribute to the man who mentored him at Howard College and gave him his first collegiate coaching opportunity at Blinn.
So when assistant coach Troy Moock left to take a job for a pharmaceutical sales company and Roper expressed an interest in filling the vacancy, McIntyre had just one question for the veteran ball coach – did he want his number back?
“I’m excited about every spring, but I’m really excited about this spring, because he’ll be around every day,” McIntyre said. “He’s a father figure to me.”
After eight seasons as the Buccaneers’ head baseball coach, Roper is a father figure to a lot of young men.
Roper managed the Bucs to a 294-144 record between 2000 and 2007, when he resigned to become a full-time educator and spend more time with his family. He reached his 500th career win in March 2006 and holds a 562-263-1 career head coaching record. He has coached four All-Americans and 17 Academic All-Americans, and his teams have participated in the regional playoffs 13 times.
“I talked to my kids about returning to baseball and they were all for it,” Roper said. “I’m excited about having a new role and I’m enjoying it because it’s more about teaching the game than having to be the head coach.”
A graduate of Bellaire High School, Roper earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Texas Tech University, where he was a three-year starter at catcher and team captain for the Red Raiders.
He joined the Buccaneer staff after seven seasons at Howard College, where he had a 268-119-1 record and a .710 winning percentage. In 1994, his team was named the National Junior College Athletic Association Baseball Academic Team of the Year with a 3.31 grade point average. He has coached 16 players who have played in the College World Series in Omaha with Louisiana Lafayette, LSU, Oklahoma State, Wichita State, Florida, Alabama, Rice, Texas, Tulane and Nebraska.
He has been named Texas South Conference Coach of the Year once and Western Junior College Athletic Conference Coach of the Year twice. He previously served as president of the Texas-New Mexico Junior College Baseball Coaches Association.
“He’s going to make us better from day one,” McIntyre said. “He’s won more than 500 games as a head coach. How do you not get better when 500-plus wins, 16 years of coaching and a great person walks through your doors?”
The Buccaneers open their 2012 season on Friday when they travel to Alvin for a 1 p.m. Region XIV Conference game. Blinn makes its 2012 home debut Saturday with a 1 p.m. double-header against Alvin.