With so many accolades already to his name, Lamar head coach Jim Gilligan added another to the list of accomplishments of his career, 1,300 wins. On Feb. 13, 2015 he became the 19th head coach to ever hit the milestone and only sixth active coach with the incredible mark to his name.
It is a great source of pride for Lamar, Gilligan's alma mater, that 1,291 of his now 1,301 victories achieved over the 37 seasons were in a Cardinal uniform as head coach. Counting his playing day and his time as an assistant coach, Gilligan has faithfully served Lamar for some 40 years and has been a part its near-1,500 wins.
As it stands, he sits in sixth place among all active coaches in wins, one game behind Jack Leggett of Clemson, and 14th all-time among Division I head coaches.
He was inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in 2004, one of his greatest honors, and went in alongside Houston Astros legend Jeff Bagewell and Craig Biggio and the Rangera?TMs Kenny Rogers.
City of Beaumont though so highly of him that the city council voted unanimously in 2010 to rename a stretch of Florida Avenue running adjacent to Vincent-Beck Stadium to Jim Gilligan Way. Additionally, Gilligan was honored as a Distinguished Lamar Alum.
a?oeWhen the proposed street name change came up before the council, I had no doubt it would be unanimous,a?? said Becky Ames, Beaumonta?TMs Mayor, during the dedication ceremony for the naming. a?oeWe all love Coach Gilligan.
a?oeWe can now proudly drive down this street renamed in honor of this man who has done so much for Lamar University and the city of Beaumont. He has touched so many people in so many different ways,a?? she said.
Over his span, Gilligan has guided the Cardinals to 13 NCAA Regional Tournaments, the most recent being in 2010 when the team swept its way through the Southland Conference Tournament in Corpus Christi.
Gilligan has won six conference Coach of the Year awards a?" five in the Southland Conference and one in the Sun Belt. He has guided the Cardinals to 12 conference championships and five conference tournament crowns, and has sent over 150 players into the professional ranks and many others to coaching careers.
In recognition of these accomplishments, and many others, Gilligan was inducted to the Southland Conference Hall of Honor, joining seven other former Lamar dignitaries who earned the same distinction, J.B. Higgins (football coach/athletics director), F.L. McDonald (university president), Billy Tubbs (basketball coach/athletics director), Belle Mead (womena?TMs athletic director), Sonny Jolly (track and field coach/athletics director), Katrinka Jo Crawford (volleyball coach) and Paul Zeek (athletic trainer/administrator).
Gilligana?TMs head coaching career tenure is split into two periods. His first period spanned from 1973-86, and he guided LU to seven league championships and six NCAA regional appearances along with two SLC zone titles.
Gilligana?TMs teams played twice in the NCAA finals, one step from a shot at the College World Series, but fell in both. He earned his 500th career victory in 1986, and was the youngest coach to do so at the time.
The 1981 Cards won a school-record 54 games, and his teams reached the 35-victory level on 22 other occasions.
five years in the professional ranks, the skipper returned to Lamar for the 1992 season and wasted little time in rebuilding the proud program. He guided the team to a 1993 Sun Belt Conference championship and advanced to the NCAA Central Regional.
Between his stints at Lamar, Gilligan managed the 1987 Salt Lake Trappers of the Pioneer League when they broke a 68-year professional record by winning 29 consecutive games. To recognize the achievement, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y. created a permanent display featuring Gilligana?TMs No. 29 jersey.
Before becoming Salt Lakea?TMs manager in 1987, he served as the Trappersa?TM pitching coach in 1986. That season, Salt Lake had the best pitching staff in the league, and the Trappers won the Pioneer League Championship.
his return, Lamar has won three league championships, four tournament championships and appeared in six more NCAA Regionals.
Gilligan led the Cardinals to their 10th regular season title in 2004. Lamar also made its third straight NCAA Tournament appearance as the No. 3 seed at the Houston Regional, host by Rice. It lost to second-seeded Texas A&M and was eliminated by top-seed Rice.
In 2003, Gilligan guided Lamar to its ninth SLC regular season title and a spot in the NCAA Regional in Austin. Big Red came within one win of advancing to an NCAA Super Regional after pushing the host Longhorns to a championship game.
UT pulled out a 6-3 win over the Cardinals and went to participate in the College World Series. Gilligan has coach 82 first-team all-conference players and XX number of all-conference players overall.
Gilligana?TMs trademark is getting the most out of his players, especially the pitching staff, having been a pitcher himself. He took an overachieving club in 1995 which placed fourth in the in the Sun Belta?TMs regular season race to Jacksonville, Fla., for the conference Tournament. Four days later, the Cardinals came back to Beaumont (after beating the Dolphins in back-to-back games) to celebrate their SBC Tournament championship and prepare for a berth in the NCAA Regionals.
LU later played in the Midwest Regional in Wichita, Kan., where they beat host Wichita State twice and lost to event World Series participant Stanford twice.
A former southpaw pitching staff for the Cardinals, Gilligan led Lamara?TMs 1967 staff in victories (five), earned run average (2.54) and strikeouts (60). He worked as a graduate assistant for the Cardinals in 1970 and 1971 after pitching a year in the Detroit Tigersa?TM organization.
A 1969 graduate with a bachelora?TMs degree and 1970 with a mastera?TMs degree, he had got his only collegiate head coaching stint besides Lamar in 1972, going 10-10 at Western New Mexico before returning to the same position at his alma mater in 1973.
The primary goal Gilligan has yet to reach is a berth in the College World Series. Ita?TMs an objective he plans to fulfill a part of the commitment to the Cardinala?TMs program.
He and his wife LaVerne reside in Beaumont, and LaVerne has been instrumental in the success of the annual Lamar Baseball Banquet and also assists in securing outfield billboard sponsors.