OU makes surprise move

ORU coach Sunny Golloway may not have been OSU's No. 1 choice to replace former head coach Tom Holliday, but it doesn't matter anyway. The University of Oklahoma swiped up Golloway, a former assistant to Cochell in the 90's, and began the long road to repair the holes in its program as well.

When Larry Cochell and Sunny Golloway teamed up as head coach and assistant, respectively, during the 1990's, the Oklahoma Sooners went on a successful run that included three appearances in the College World Series and the 1994 NCAA national championship.

Cochell announced today that the two will be joining forces again. After eight successful seasons as the head coach at Oral Roberts, Golloway is returning to OU to again serve as an assistant under Cochell.

"I just felt like we needed to do something to get our program where we all want it to be," Cochell said. "Sunny has been very successful as a head coach. Bringing him to the Sooner family is special. He knows me and he knows our system, but at the same time, Sunny has grown so much and gained great expertise. He comes to our staff with the respect of baseball people all around the country for what he accomplished at ORU. This is a very positive move for our program."

Golloway said the opportunity to return to Oklahoma focused on a specific goal lured him back to Norman.

"My family and I are extremely excited about the opportunity of returning to the University of Oklahoma," he said. "I look forward to working as an assistant coach under Larry Cochell in helping to lead OU back to Omaha."

Memories of Golloway's first tour with the Sooners also motivated his return.

"I remember the last time I wore and took off that OU uniform was in Omaha," added Golloway. "I look forward to putting it on again knowing that our direction and focus is to get back to Omaha. With the leadership of Joe Castiglione, for whom I have tremendous admiration, and Larry Cochell, this is just a very attractive opportunity that I felt we could not pass over."

At ORU, Golloway posted a mark of 335-156 record (.682). He coached 16 All-Americans, and 25 of his ORU players have either been drafted or signed professional contracts. He was honored four times as Mid-Continent Conference Coach of the Year by his peers (1998, 1999, 2000, 2002).

After his seventh season at the Tulsa-based school, Golloway received one of the top honors a collegiate coach can garner, when he was selected to serve as an assistant coach for USA Baseball's National Team during the summer of 2002. Golloway helped lead Team USA to a silver medal at the first-ever FISU World Championships in Messina, Italy. The National Team also won the championship at Haarlem Baseball Week in The Netherlands, and spent the first six weeks of the summer on a barnstorming tour of the United States.

Prior to leaving for Team USA, Golloway guided the Golden Eagles to their most successful post-season in his seven-year tenure. The Golden Eagles, fresh from winning their fifth consecutive Mid-Continent Conference Tournament title, stunned 14th-ranked and homestanding Wichita State in the opening round of NCAA Regional play, then knocked off the Shockers again the next night, before falling to Arkansas in the Regional final. The national media and baseball coaching community took notice, as the Golden Eagles ended the season ranked No. 21 by Collegiate Baseball and 20th by the NCBWA. It was ORU's first season-ending rank since 1987.

Over the last six seasons, Golloway was responsible for turning the Golden Eagles into one of the nation's winningest programs, tallying 277 wins in that time, an average of better than 46 victories per season, and a .731 winning percentage. Golloway and the Golden Eagles dominated the Mid-Continent Conference since joining the league in 1998, winning six consecutive regular-season and tournament titles, and advancing to six consecutive NCAA Regionals. ORU was an amazing 85-5 in conference play over the last four seasons.

During his first stint in Norman, Golloway helped guide the Kenai Peninsula Oilers to consecutive National Baseball Congress World Series championships in 1993 and 1994. Counting the Sooners' national championship in `94, Golloway won an amazing three national championships in one calendar year.

Golloway was named ORU's seventh baseball head coach on June 21, 1995 at the age of 33.

In his first season in 1996, Golloway began his resurrection project by leading the Golden Eagles to a 32-24 record, an 11-win improvement over the `95 season.

The Golden Eagles took a small step back in 1997, posting a 26-30 mark with a team made up mostly of freshmen, including future All-Americans Jeff Stallings and Ryan Neil.

In 1998, ORU joined the Mid-Continent Conference and quickly reestablished itself as one of the nation's premiere programs, going 45-20 and winning both the Mid-Con regular season and conference championships, the first of four straight conference championship sweeps. The Golden Eagles also advanced to the first of a current streak of four straight NCAA Regionals.

The 1999 season saw more big winning for ORU. The Golden Eagles were 46-15, and followed that campaign up with a 49-15 mark in 2000, another conference title and another NCAA Regional berth.

In 2001, the Golden Eagles spent time in the Top 25 and finished with a 48-13 mark and more conference hardware, again winning both the regular season and tournament championships. ORU was sent to the NCAA Regional in Los Angeles where they lost their opening game to eventual College World Series participant Southern Cal.

En route to their most successful post-season in school history in 2002, ORU posted a 48-19 overall mark and a 16-2 conference record. The team's accomplishments included their fifth-straight Mid-Continent Conference championship, a two-time All-American, a freshman All-American and the conference's Player of the Year.

Last season, the Golden Eagles were 41-20 overall, including a 19-1 mark in Mid-Continent play. They received an automatic bid to this year's NCAA Regionals in College Station, Texas, after wrapping up their sixth straight Mid-Continent Conference title. The program also most recently produced a first team Freshman All-American in pitcher Taylor McIntyre marking the third straight year Golloway has coached a player to first year honors.

Coaching for several successful teams has given Golloway the opportunity to help mold some outstanding players. Among those who have come under Golloway's guidance include current Major Leaguers J.D. Drew, Russ Ortiz, Doug Mientkiewicz, and Mark Redman.

Golloway was born in Springfield, Mo., but grew up in Stillwater, Okla., and graduated from Stillwater High School in 1979. He attended Northeastern Oklahoma A&M Junior College in Miami, Okla., for one year before transferring to Oklahoma Christian College where he received his bachelor's degree in 1984. He has done graduate work at the University of Central Oklahoma and the University of Oklahoma. Golloway lives in Tulsa and is married to his wife, Charlotte. The couple has three children: Sunni Kate, 17; Taylor, 13, and Callen, 3.

Aric Thomas, who has been a full-time assistant coach with the Sooners for the past two seasons, is taking another position within the program.

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