One of the pioneers of Texas Longhorns baseball, Cliff Gustafson, sadly passed away at the age of 91, on Monday, January 2, 2023.Gustafson guided the Longhorns to 22 Southwest Conference titles, as well as national championships in 1975 and 1983. 17 times his Texas teams participated in the College World Series and he rewarded with a “National Coach of the Year” twice.
Here, you’ll find everything about Cliff Gustafson, including who he was, how he died, what was the cause of his death, tributes for Cliff Gustafson, and much more!
Who Was Cliff Gustafson?
Cliff Gustafson was born on February 12, 1931, in Kennedy, Texas. His time with the Longhorns actually began in 1952, when he was a member of a Texas squad that won the Southwest Conference title and advanced to the College World Series. One of the rare coaches in the sport who has both played and coached in a College World Series is “Gus”.
Gustafson won more than 1,400 games while serving as the Longhorns’ head coach from 1968 and 1996. The Longhorns participated in the NCAA College World Series 17 times during that time and won two national championships in 1975 and 1983. In 1982 and 1983, Gustafson won the “National Coach of the Year” award twice. Before the Southwest Conference (SWC) disbanded in 1996, Gustafson steered the club to 22 championship victories.
Gustafson achieved a winning percentage of 0.792 during his time as head coach, which has never been surpassed by another Division I head coach. Gustafson played baseball for Texas prior to beginning his illustrious coaching career. He was a member of the SWC champion and College World Series-advancing 1952 squad.
Fans, athletes, and former students all share a special affection for the great coach. From the standing ovation Gustafson received in 2019 at a brunch at Maudie’s in South Austin to the outpouring of support for Gustafson following his heart attack in 2020, he was always treated with gratitude and love. We will miss him and his No. 18 jersey.
How Did Cliff Gustafson Die? Cause of Death
Cliff Gustafson, a legendary former head baseball coach of the Texas Longhorns and one of the most successful coaches in collegiate baseball history, died on Monday, January 2, 2023, at the age of 91. The Austin American-Statesman was informed by Cliff Gustafson’s family that he left us at the age of 91.
The family claims that Gustafsonpassed away from congestive heart failure while he was sleeping on Monday morning.Jann and Jill, Gustafson’s daughters, were beside his bedside when he took his last breath.
Jann Gustafson Shepperd remarked, “He was incredibly special and certainly the best parent.”
Texas Ball also shared the news of his passing via Twitter.
Nobody has yet disclosed any information on his funeral arrangements, but we’ll let you know as soon as we got any.
Tributes Emerged for Cliff Gustafson
Greg Abbott, the governor, expressed his sympathy to the Gustafson family on Monday via Twitter, stating that “Coach Gus will forever be a Texas legend.”
Cecilia and I send our deepest condolences to the Gustafson family.— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) January 2, 2023
Coach Gus will forever be a Texas legend.
Rest In Peace. #HookEm
“Cliff Gustafson was an outstanding person and coach. I’ll remember to forget his occasional bursts of fun among the gravity of his work.”
Greg Swindell tweeted,
Word is out now. Coach Gus. An amazing man passed peacefully this morning with his daughters by his side. A lot of young men lives were changed in the 3, 4, and sometimes more years they spent in his guidance. He will always have a place in my heart. RIP COACH GUS. #18forever pic.twitter.com/Jdul8fmwb3— greg swindell (@GregSwindell) January 2, 2023
“Now, word has spread. Tutor Gus This morning, a remarkable man died away quietly with his daughters by his side. In the three, four, and occasionally longer years that they were under his direction, many young men’s lives were transformed.”
Brian Davis, senior manager at the University of Texas wrote,
“Many modern-day fans are unaware of Cliff Gustafson’s contribution to Texas baseball. He was a huge, twice-national champion who made a huge difference in people’s lives and was a true Longhorn icon.”
Many of today's fans don't grasp the impact Cliff Gustafson had on Texas baseball. He was a giant, two-time national champion, impacted many lives, a true Longhorn icon. RIP— Brian Davis (@BDavisUT) January 2, 2023