Even further back, Graham received his master’s degree in physical education in 1973 and, if a couple of job hires had gone in a different direction, he might have ended up in the home dugout on Cullen Boulevard.
Twice, Graham, the Hall of Fame coach who will not return to the Owls after this season, interviewed for the vacant head-coaching job at UH.
The first time came in the mid-1970s while Graham was a teacher and the head baseball coach at Scarborough High School.
“Still have the application letter,” Graham said recently as he prepared for his final game against the Cougars at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Constellation Field in Sugar Land.
Even though the job went to Rolan Walton, Graham likes to think he had a hand in the direction of the UH program.
“A lot of things I suggested they should do, Rolan did it,” Graham said. “First of all, I told them they should start charging for games. They weren’t charging for games. Secondly, they needed to recruit righthanded power hitters at the University of Houston because the wind blows to left field. He did those things.”
The second time Graham expressed interest in the UH job came in the late 1980s, when he was in the middle of a junior college dynasty that produced five national championships at San Jacinto College. That time, UH hired Bragg Stockton.
“They’ve always had good talent (at UH),” said Graham, who has a career record 85-36 against the Cougars. “When I was at San Jac, it was where I wanted to go coach, but I never got the opportunity.”