Golloway exit leaves OU searching nationwide

NORMAN, Okla. — Once again, athletic director Joe Castiglione and the Sooner program is looking to fill a coaching void, and the 15-year Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Programs makes it clear again it'll be a national search.

Seeking a replacement for the departed Sunny Golloway, Castiglione is prepared to find the most suitable option around the country to replace him.

"We appreciate Sunny Golloway's contribution to the Oklahoma baseball legacy and now look forward to an exciting new chapter for our program," Castiglione said. "This is a place where coaches and student-athletes can realistically aspire for championships, including the national championship, and we anticipate great interest in our head coaching position from top candidates across the country."

So, just who will those candidates be?

Perhaps the first and most logical choice is Arkansas assistant Todd Butler, who was a team captain at OU back in 1988 and still holds the club single-season record for stolen bases with 46 that year.

Sources, however, say Butler is headed to Wichita State, but the Sooners could still make a play for him.

Other good options also remain.

One of those is New Mexico head coach Ray Birmingham, who just completed his sixth year with the Lobos and led them to their fifth 30-win season and fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in that time frame, despite getting ousted in a pair of games in the Fullerton Regional.

Another viable candidate from a nearby program OU fans are certainly familiar with is Dallas Baptist's Dan Heefner.

Heefner, who has won six straight against the Sooners, including a pair this year and a 2011 NCAA Tournament game, owns a 216-123 career record with the Patriots.

He's led the Patriots to a trio of NCAA Tournaments and one Super Regional back during that 2011 season.

Also amongst OU's expected list of suitors is Sam Houston State's David Pierce.

A bit of a newbie to the collegiate head coaching game, all he's done in two seasons is command his troops to a 78-44 record and pair of regional appearances.

His Bearkat club challenged the LSU Tigers, nearly eking out a victory under his direction.

Pierce has also served as an assistant for Rice and Houston.

Speaking of Houston, keep an eye on Todd Whitting.

Though he's yet to lead his team to the NCAA Tournament and has a sub-.500 overall record at 81-89-1 in three seasons, Whitting does have a nice resume.

He turned the nation's youngest team into a 30-game winner with their 36-22 record, including a 13-11 mark in Conference USA play.

As associate head coach for TCU under Jim Schlossnagle, he also helped that club make its first program appearance in the College World Series.

And while this is nowhere near an exhaustive list, this is a group of the most likely candidates.

Stay tuned as more developments come with the OU coaching search.

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