Sept. 23, 2013
Meet Oklahoma’s Pete Hughes
By Sean Ryan
Pete Hughes arrived at Boston College, the program averaged 13
wins the previous 35 seasons. The Eagles averaged 31 wins over
his eight seasons.
At Virginia Tech, Hughes guided the Hokies to a
pair of NCAA tournaments in seven seasons, the program’s first
since 2000. Included was a turn as Regional host in 2013.
Unlike his previous two stops, Oklahoma has a storied college
baseball tradition that includes 10 trips to the College World
Series. Hughes replaces Sunny Golloway, who departed for Auburn
after five straight 40-win seasons and a 2010 trip to Omaha.
First Inning - What attracted you to Oklahoma,
and what made it a fit right now, especially after leading
Virginia Tech back to the NCAA tourney?
I was blown away by the resources at Oklahoma.
They certainly put you in a position to be THE recruiting
presence in the region. The resources also put you in a position
to compete for a national championship. I feel like the timing
in my coaching career was right to make a move. I honestly
believe I have 10 more years in this crazy profession, and I
would like to see how far we can go.
Second Inning - It seemed to happen quickly -
walk me through the hiring process. How quick was the actual
Oklahoma did all of the background on the
candidates they wanted to speak to, well before I was contacted.
I spoke to Oklahoma on a Saturday, met with them in Dallas on
Sunday, was offered the job on Tuesday, flew to Norman on
Wednesday and had a press conference on Thursday. Pretty
Third Inning - Some may wonder: Why leave the ACC
for the Big 12?
The Big 12 is a very successful conference with a
strong tradition in its own right.
Fourth Inning - How did the shootings on Virginia
Tech’s campus change you as a coach or person? And what do you
remember from playing the first sporting event on Tech’s campus
after the tragedy?
The shooting on campus was one of those
life-changing events for everybody involved, including myself.
It certainly reminded me how insignificant our profession, and
the world of college athletics really is compared to the gravity
of that event. That game was surreal, however it was an honor
to be able to put some smiles back on a lot of people’s faces,
if only for three hours.
Fifth Inning - What are a few of your fondest
memories from coaching the Hokies?
My fondest memories will always begin and end
with the coaches I coached with and the players that played for
us and the relationships that were made. Hosting a Regional this
past June will be something I will always treasure. In seven
years, we transformed a cow pasture into a Regional host. I was
so proud to be a part of a tremendous coaching staff and team to
have brought that event to Blacksburg. Also, when our guys
raised close to $40,000 for childhood cancer awareness-special
group. Lastly, I had the privilege of working side by side on a
daily basis with one of the greatest coaches of our time, Coach
Beamer. What an inspiration for my growth as a coach and person.
Sixth Inning - What will you miss about coaching
in the ACC?
I will miss the week-in and week-out grind of
conference play. The competitive spirit was always at its
highest levels. That’s the funnest part of our profession. There
was never a weekend off, and I loved that about the ACC. I will
also miss some of the strong relationships I formed with my
peers throughout the league.
Seventh Inning - What will you miss most about
Without a doubt I will miss the people within the
community and the people within the athletic department that
allowed me to raise my family in such a special way for the past
seven years. Blacksburg is unique to itself. It is absolutely
one of the crown jewels of all college communities.
Eighth Inning - Giving back to the community was
important to you at Tech. Will you continue “19 Ways” or
something similar at Oklahoma?
Yes absolutely. We have already established 19
ways as part of our Sooner Baseball program. I am also humbled
that Coach Mason has decided to continue on with 19 ways at
Virginia Tech. It is a tremendous way to honor my mother’s
legacy and to help out a lot of people who are in need.
Ninth Inning - What are your impressions of the
Oklahoma baseball program as you take over?
I am blown away by the tradition of this athletic
department and our baseball program. I am following a long line
of some of the best coaches in college baseball. Coach Enos
Semore brought Oklahoma to Omaha five straight years in the 70s.
Coach Cochell brought three different institutions to Omaha and
won a National Championship in 1994. Specifically, I am
impressed with our players and their eagerness to learn and how
hungry they are to reach the highest level of college baseball.
(photo courtesy of Virginia Tech Media Relations Office)