Guss Hrncir

 

Guss Hrncir
Guss Hrncir

Guss Hrncir spent 35 years of life devoted to teaching and coaching high school baseball & football, but he will forever be remembered for so much more.  At the age of 95, Gustav “Guss” Vince Hrncir passed away peacefully at his home in Amarillo the morning of March 16, 2022, with his loving wife, Vinita by his side.

Guss is survived by his wife Vinita Hrncir, Amarillo, TX, sister Emilie “Micky” Sebesta, Rosenberg, TX, daughter Deborah Walker and her husband Stephen Walker, Palm Desert, CA, son Jim Hrncir and his wife Jan Hrncir, Irving, TX, daughter Sheri Gibson and her husband Rob Gibson, Farmers Branch, TX, son Pat Hrncir and his wife Carla Hrncir, Dallas, TX, son Clay Gibson and April McKee, Amarillo, TX and grandchildren Jack Walker, Channing Laughridge, Taylor Hrncir, Justin Gibson, Charly Gibson, Cameron Gibson, Ciara Gibson, Forrest Gibson, Hayden Hrncir, Jack Hrncir, and Bobby Hrncir.  Additionally, Joy Lacy has remained a loving sister-in-law to Guss for more than 50 years.

Guss is preceded in death by his father John Paul Hrncir, mother Emilia Sciba Hrncir, sister Margaret Humpola, sister Anita Jakubik, brother Leo Hrncir, brother Otto Hrncir, sister Janie Jakubik, brother Hilmer Hrncir, and brother Edwin Hrncir.

Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, Amarillo, TX. The Hrncir family will be hosting a visitation on Tuesday, March 22nd from 5:00-7:00 P.M. at Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, 2800 Paramount Blvd., Amarillo, TX.  Funeral services for Guss will be on Wednesday, March 23rd at 2:00 P.M. in the Boxwell Brothers Ivy Chapel with Father John Valdez of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church presiding, followed by a military graveside committal service at Llano Cemetery, Field of Freedom.  For those wishing to further celebrate the life Guss, the Hrncir Family will be hosting a reception at The Barfield, Autograph Collection Hotel, 600 S. Polk, Amarillo, TX beginning at 5:00 P.M.

Guss Hrncir was born in Sugarland, Texas on April 26, 1926.  He was the eighth of nine children with four brothers and four sisters.  Guss’ grandparents were 2nd generation immigrants to the US from Moravia, Austria and his grandfather was the oldest of 17 children.  During his final days, Guss proudly emphasized he and his family were “Bohemian”, referring to the Bohemian crown lands, controlled by Austria and later Czechoslovakia.  Growing up in Rosenberg, TX, Guss attended Rosenberg High School and excelled in football, fastpitch softball, basketball, tennis, and track.  He learned to play baseball from his older brothers, a game where he would ultimately make his mark in college, the semi-pro ranks, and Texas High School coaching.

Upon graduation from Rosenberg High School and shortly after his 18th birthday, Guss enlisted in the United States Navy on July 14, 1944, following the lead of his older brothers in serving his county. He served for two years in an amphibious transport group in the Pacific, shuttling marines to and from the battlefronts at Okinawa, Iwo Jima, and ultimately sailed into the waters just off the shore of Nagasaki shortly after VJ day.  Coach Hrncir was not just a history teacher, he and his brothers lived WWII history in both the Pacific and European Theatres.

After being honorably discharged from the Navy on June 10, 1946, Guss returned home to work in Rosenberg and soon learned that as a US Navy Veteran, he could attend college on the GI Bill.  He enrolled at the University of Texas and became an instant intermural sports star.  At the urging of friends and family, he tried out and walked on the University of Texas baseball team. Initially frustrated and ill-advised, Guss begrudgingly gave up on his dream of playing for the Longhorns during his sophomore year but soon learned he missed the game and gave it a second try. During his junior year, he earned playing time and had moderate success during the Longhorns 1949 National Championship run but was sorely disappointed that Coach Bibb Falk did not award him a letter.

A highly motivated Guss Hrncir came back his senior year and started hitting well, especially during Southwest Conference play while playing right field.  The Longhorns won the Southwest Conference championship in 1950 and again found themselves in the NCAA Tournament, facing the Arizona Wildcats in the District 6 playoff. Texas was beaten by Arizona in the first game and facing elimination, Guss came through for the Longhorns in game 2.  Arizona had taken an 8-6 lead into the ninth inning before Texas loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth.  With two outs, Guss Hrncir slashed a double to left-center to score three runs and Longhorns won the game, 9-8.  They also came from behind again in game 3 to earn another trip to NCAA College World Series which was to be played for the first time in Omaha, Nebraska at what later became the storied Rosenblatt Stadium.

Guss took his first trip on an airplane in June of 1950 to Omaha. Texas dropped the first game of the series to Rutgers, and then behind a hot-hitting right fielder named Hrncir, Texas won the next four games before facing Washington State in the finals. Guss caught the final out in the right field to beat Washington State 3-0 which earned Texas their second straight NCAA National Championship.  Hrncir hit .522 for the series, drove in 12 runs, and today still shares the record for the most doubles hit in a College World Series with the likes of Sal Bando, Barry Bonds, and Robin Ventura.

After graduation from the University of Texas, Guss began his coaching career at Orchard High School from ’51-’53 while also playing minor league baseball in the summers for the Abbeville Athletics (’52) and Lake Charles Lakers (’53).  He quickly realized that his passion for coaching outweighed his desire to play pro baseball.  After a one-year stint at East Bernard High School, Guss was hired to be the baseball coach at Lockhart High School where he compiled a 101-42 record over 7 years, winning six district titles and three regional championships. His success earned him an opportunity to become Lockhart’s head football coach but after one season, he was offered the position of head baseball coach and assistant football coach at Amarillo High School, by the legendary Bum Phillips in 1961, where he led the Sandies for the next 18 years until retiring from coaching in 1979.  Over his tenure as head baseball coach at Amarillo High School, Coach Hrncir won 260 games to his 186 losses, winning four district championships and taking his 1977 Sandies team to the Texas State Quarter Finals.

Guss ended his 28-year high school coaching career in 1979 with a 395-249 record (.613), but more importantly, he won the respect and hearts of the many individual players he coached throughout his career. Even in his later years, Guss could still recall key hits, errors, spectacular defensive plays, stellar pitching performances, great wins, close losses and bad calls by the umps in vivid detail and the individual players by name that made them. Always colorful, Coach Hrncir’s dry wit brought levity to intense and seemingly hopeless baseball situations to help players relax and play within themselves.  He appreciated and rewarded desire and effort, whether a raw talented sophomore or lessor gifted senior.

During the fall, Coach Hrncir easily transitioned to football field where he enjoyed working with the offensive unit and individual players in perfecting technique and execution. His sophomore and JV teams played hard and were well prepared for the varsity ranks. On par with his coaching talents, many AHS students considered him to be one of their favorite teachers, bringing both American History and World History to life and going beyond the textbooks with his own unique style and interaction to make learning fun.  After retiring from coaching, Guss continued to teach World History at Amarillo High School for another seven years

Professionally, Guss garnered many accolades and coach of the year awards. The City of Lockhart proclaimed a Coach Guss Hrncir Day in his honor and the new state-of-the-art weight room and training facility at Amarillo High School bears his name thanks to the generosity and respect of one of his former favorite players.  In 2010, Guss was honored at the final College World Series played at Rosenblatt Stadium along with his surviving Texas teammates.  Guss was also privileged to be invited on an Honor Flight trip to Washington DC, an adventure in which he was accompanied by his son, Clay Gibson, a US Marine Corp veteran.

As an added bonus to coaching and teaching, Guss developed and cherished his life-long relationships with his fellow coaches, teachers, and former players, many of whom he considered his very best friends. Guss loved his family and always made every effort to plan an adventurous and meaningful summer vacation, whether to Wimberly in his Lockhart days, camping and fishing trips to the mountains of New Mexico and Colorado, trips across the western US, with a stop along the way in Las Vegas, or annual visits to be with his parents and ever enjoyable brothers and sisters and their families in Fort Bend and Brazoria Counties in South Texas.  Through his love for the outdoors, Guss taught his sons and daughters how to hunt quail, fly fish, golf, play basketball and baseball, and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

Even as Guss aged, his natural athletic talents never diminished.  His excellent hand-eye coordination made playing pool or handball, pitching horseshoes or washers, shooting a shotgun, or strategically casting a dry fly beneath the bank of trout steam look easy. He could pick up an old wooden tennis racket or a rusty golf club and with little to no practice, play and beat the more seasoned and younger competitors.

Coach Hrncir will be dearly missed but not soon forgotten.  From his devout Catholic upbringing and strong Christian values, it was extremely important to Guss that his same love for Jesus Christ was passed down to his children as well evident in the way he lived his life.  Guss and Vinita’s love and devotion to each other and their Lord kept their relationship strong and resilient through life’s storms and even recent health-related setbacks.  Now Guss is with the One that created this gifted athlete, an amazing coach, teacher, husband, loving father, son, and brother. He is most certainly back in his 1950 College World Series form where he will remain for eternity until we see him again.

25 Replies to “Guss Hrncir”

  1. Guss was such an amazing man. My mother thought the world of Guss and Vinita as did Warren and I. We so missed them when they moved from Quitaque. May Guss Rest In Peace and may Vinita be comforted through our Lord’s Grace and Mercy. Fly high good and faithful servant.

  2. What a great man. I experienced Guss as dad to my best friend, Sandie football coach and as an adult ,my friend. Coach Hrncir remained the same man in each phase. I particularly enjoyed Coach’s mannerism, gestures, wit and humor. He generally used each helping to make a““coaching point” or a life lesson . Thank you Gus’s. Continued prayers for the family. I love the Hrncir’s

  3. I graduated from AHS in 1976, and ended up teaching there and retired in 2011.

    How lucky I was to have Coach Hrncir for a teacher.
    He made history so much fun, and had a wit that you had to be listening carefully or you would miss his point.

    Great man that will be missed!

    May the family be comforted during this time.

    Sincerely,
    Michele Dement

  4. When I first met Coach Hrncir I was a sophomore on the football field. I learned very quickly he demanded your best. That trait continued as my baseball coach for 3 years and ended with the 1977 team. What a honor it was to have played for him. Rest In Peace Coach!!!

  5. Clay, Sheri and Pat, I’m so sorry for your loss. Coach Hrncir was never my coach, but I loved and admired him. As a swimmer sitting in his class I was allowed to feel as important and as valued as any baseball player or football player. That mattered. He mattered to me. What a great human. Thanks, Coach.

  6. It was an honor to play for coach Hrncir at Amarillo High School. He was loved and respected by players and fellow coaches alike.

  7. Best baseball coach I ever had. In all his subtle ways, he motivated me to be a better player and person. I look forward to seeing one of my all-time favorite human beings in Heaven.

  8. What a great and amazing man he was i had the privilege to meet and work for guss and vanita both he will forever be missed but never forgotten my deepest condolences to the Hrncir Family may god give y’all strength in this time of need..may you R.I.P. guss

  9. America has lost another world war two veteran. There are very few of them left. Guss was a terrific guy. He really enjoyed sports but was too frugal to pay green fees.
    When he lived in our neighborhood and on Halloween I gave the people at our door coupons to go by his house and collect a dollar. I don’t think he ever figured out who was doing it.
    I’m sorry I didn’t keep up as well as I should have with him.
    He will really be missed.

  10. Beautifully written and filling in so much information most of us didn’t know.
    Thank you for sharing Guss with all of us. His ripples of integrity and sense of humanity and humor last forever.
    With loving appreciation, DJ

  11. Coach was the best! He was my JV football coach and was very helpful to me as a coach and a mentor. He made me laugh and inspired me to be a better person! My prayers to all the Hrncir family. I know he is in the presence of the Lord!

  12. Remarkable man and a great coach. It is hard to think about playing high school football without him coming to mind.

  13. I am so glad that Coach k Hrncir was still coaching when I was a part of the AHS football program in the late 1970s. He was a real bigger than life character and a gifted coach and teacher.
    I will never forget him-
    Thanks Coach Hrncir!
    Jeff Frazer

  14. Thinking about all the wonderful moments and memories that I have with you grandpa. I will never forget falling asleep in your arms while listening to you tell me about playing baseball , or feeding the catfish with you in Quitaque. There are just not enough words to describe how special you were to so many people. You will always be my Tree House Troll, and I will always remember your kindness and wisdom. YOU WILL BE MISSED BEYOND MEASURE!

  15. A beautiful tribute to a talented, amazing, well-loved gentleman! My loving prayers for his family.
    ❤️🙏🏻🙏🏻❤️

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