Harrell Funeral Home of Austin
4435 Frontier Trail
AUSTIN TX 78745
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Clifford Lincoln Gustafson, 91, former University of Texas at Austin head baseball coach, passed away at his home on Monday, January 2, 2023. He was surrounded by his daughters Jill and Jann and son-in-law Michael.
Cliff was b... Read More
Clifford Lincoln Gustafson, 91, former University of Texas at Austin head baseball coach, passed away at his home on Monday, January 2, 2023. He was surrounded by his daughters Jill and Jann and son-in-law Michael.
Cliff was born February 12, 1931, in Cadillac, a small Swedish settlement near Kenedy, Texas. He was the youngest of four children and his parents were Swedish immigrant cotton farmers. After the death of his father, Cliff's mother moved the family to San Antonio where he began playing baseball for the first time as a sophomore at Harlandale High School. Upon graduation, Cliff attended the University of Texas at Austin and played baseball for the Longhorns under Coach Bibb Falk. Despite breaking his leg his senior year, he posted a .308 career batting average. After graduating from UT, he received a Masters Degree in Education from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio.
Following a brief professional baseball career in the Dodgers Organization, Cliff accepted a job at South San Antonio High School. In his thirteen seasons as the head coach, the Bobcats won 12 District Championships and a record seven Class 3A State High School Championships. In 1967, his last team at South San finished the season undefeated at 39-0. It was here while coaching at South San where he met his wife of 53 years, Janie Davenport, and they had three children Jill, Deron, and Jann.
In the summer of 1967, Cliff moved his young family to Austin upon accepting the head baseball coaching job at the University of Texas. He brought his own unique way of coaching which later became known as "Gusball". During his 29 years at Texas, Cliff took the Longhorns to the College World Series a staggering 17 times, which is still a record today. He won two National Championships (1975 & 1983) and 22 SWC Championships. He compiled a 1466-377 record and a .785 winning percentage. At the time of his retirement, Cliff was the winningest college baseball coach in the country. He has been inducted into the University of Texas Hall of Honor (1983), American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame (1992), Harlandale ISD Hall of Fame (1987), Texas Sports Hall of Fame (1994), San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame (1997), Texas High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame (1999), College Baseball Hall of Fame (2006), Southwest Conference Hall of Fame (2013), and the Omaha College Baseball Hall of Fame (2015). He was awarded the James Keller Sportsmanship Award (1998) and twice named National Coach of the Year (1982 & 1983). In addition to countless MLB Draft picks, he coached 133 All-SWC players, nine SWC Players of the Year, six Academic All-Americans, 35 first-team All-Americans, 12 second-team All-Americans, and nine third-team All-Americans.
Cliff's greatest joy was spending time with his family. He loved playing golf, his daily jogs, working on the farm, his various animals, and riding horses. He enjoyed solving crossword puzzles, playing solitaire, dominos, listening to country music, playing the piano, and the guitar.
He was devoted to his former players and was always interested in hearing about their lives and whatever career path they had chosen. And he faithfully watched or listened to every UT baseball game and any other UT athletic event whenever he couldn't attend in person.
He was preceded in death by his wife Janie, son Deron, parents Elmer and Wendla Gustafson, siblings Marvin Gustafson, Ella Mae LaRochelle, and Clarice Little.
Cliff is survived by his wife Ann Robinette Gustafson, daughter Jill Balderama and husband Armando, daughter Jann Shepperd and husband Michael, daughter-in-law Julie Jackson and husband Terry, Grandchildren Scott Shepperd and wife Vanessa, Alicia LeGuyader and husband Cedric, Sara-Jane Shepperd and fiancé Christopher Bennett, Jake Balderama, Jillian Shepperd, and Crosby Gustafson Espinoza and husband James, great-grandchildren Marlee Shepperd, Lincoln LeGuyader, Tripp Shepperd, Vivienne LeGuyader, and Ella Shepperd. He is survived by Ann's children Gary Robinette and wife Perry, Patrick Robinette and wife Polly, and Kim Robinette. He is survived by his in-laws John and Beverly Turman, Ina Gustafson, Chris and Janet Davenport, and Lela Kirkpatrick, along with a host of family and friends. He is also survived by numerous players that will carry his legacy for generations.
The family would like to thank his doctor and friend of many years, Dr. John Douglas Hudson. They would also like to thank Omar Olivas, Cella Bella Senior Services & Hospice, and Cristina Haynes.
A Celebration of Life with Pastor Ken Baldwin officiating will be held Thursday, January 12, 2023, at 3 p.m. at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
Honorary Pallbearers are his former players at the University of Texas and South San Antonio High School.
A private burial at the Texas State Cemetery will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to RBI Austin, Texas Sports Hall of Fame, and Center for Child Protection - Austin Travis County.
Family and friends are coming together online to create a special keepsake. Every memory left on the online obituary will be automatically included in this book.
We encourage you to share your most beloved memories of Clifford here, so that the family and other loved ones can always see it. You can upload cherished photographs, or share your favorite stories, and can even comment on those shared by others.
PLEASE NOTE: The reproduction of any copyrighted images is forbidden without express written permission from the copyright holder. We reserve the right to delete, without warning or notice, any image in violation of any copyright laws.
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