According to Mike Pirtle, he never won a game as head coach of Robert E. Lee baseball.
His final record, though, tells a different story.
He's left a lasting legacy and is now moving on to a new challenge — the head baseball job at Conroe Oak Ridge.
"All I try to do is put the kids in the best possible position to win and it's their job to win and the only thing I can do is lose," said Pirtle, named District Coach of the Year five of the past seven years. "More times than not the kids came through with wins and I am proud of them. I was always very fortunate to have a lot of quality kids."
In his 12 years at Lee, the Red Raiders were 487-217-6, reached the playoffs 11 straight times, captured five district championships, reached the regional semifinals three of the past six seasons and over 60 players went on to play at the collegiate level.
Pirtle takes over an Oak Ridge team that finished 6-6 in District 14-5A this spring, missing out on the playoffs. The War Eagles haven't reached the postseason since 2010.
"I think it's really similar to what it was like when I started at Tyler Lee. They are right on the verge with good kids and a good program, just like at Lee," Pirtle said. "It's going to be tough, but I just like the challenge."
The Red Raiders went 15-14 last season and finished fourth in District 11-5A before being swept by A&M Consolidated — currently in the 5A state semifinals — in the bi-district round.
Pirtle began his Lee career in 2000 after he led Harmony to a state title in 1990 and state runner-up finish in 1996.
"Coach (Mike) Owens asked me three times to come there and I wasn't going to do it. I finally did and it was the best decision I ever made. To not only the baseball end but also in football to coach with some great coaches and be a part of a state championship," Pirtle said.
"I just love Tyler and I think it was God's plan for me to be there," Pirtle said.
Lee baseball assistant David Howard has been with the Red Raiders for 10 years and Pirtle said he's his first choice to be REL's new head coach.
"I think it's time for David to come in and have the opportunity to be the head coach, and hopefully, he will be able to do that," Pirtle said. "You have different roads put in front of you and I feel like that was the case at Tyler Lee and now it's the same here."
Pirtle is the second head coach from a Tyler high school to go to Oak Ridge as John Tyler's Dereck Rush recently left the Lions to take over the War Eagles football team. Danny Long, former Tyler ISD athletic director, is now the AD for Conroe ISD.
Pirtle admits he wasn't looking to move, but after talking with Long first and then Rush, it was an opportunity he couldn't pass up.
"We had 12 great years and all of my kids came through Tyler Lee," Pirtle said. "Sometimes God just gives you different roads to take and sometimes you feel like you need to take them," Pirtle said. "I felt like that was the case when I came to Lee and I feel like it's the case now."
Can't find what you're looking for?