Oklahoma Interim Head Baseball Coach Sunny Golloway met with the media for the first time Monday.
Along with an extended group of local media, Golloway had to put up with a badgering reporter from ESPN that asked the same question many times concerning how the team felt about Larry Cochell's recent comments and how they would effect the team in the future.
Through it all Coach Golloway stayed cool, and here are a few of his comments from the press conference today.
JH: How was your practice today after all that went down yesterday?
SG: "It was really our second practice since all this has kind of taken place. We had a good workout yesterday, but we had not had an opportunity at that time to be addressed by Coach Cochell. I am proud of our young men and I want everybody to know that. They are representing the University of Oklahoma in a first-class manner, as anybody that is close to them believed that they would do. However, I want to constantly remind the public and our young men that they are a first-class group and we are all growing stronger together."
Channel 9 News: Coach, the season has not gone like you hoped. How is the teams morale at this point?
SG: "It is real simple. We know we are going to be playing our first game tomorrow and we have 12 regular season games to go. That is how we are looking at it. We talked to our three captains and one of them you are going to talk to in a few moments — Matt Bose. He has painted a picture where we go out and win those 12 games and hopefully can move on to the post season. That is how we are looking at it.
"The season is what it is at this point, but we feel we have the short season and we still need to perform well and represent the University of Oklahoma in a first-class manner. And we truly believe that we will."
Channel 9 News: This has generated some national press all over the country. What damage has this done for the negative image at the University of Oklahoma and how will this impact future recruiting?
SG: "Our young men understand the national attention that this has brought on. They truly understand that through this adversity how they handle themselves speaks volumes for the University of Oklahoma. Not just our team, but the people that we are surrounded by. I am telling you right now that we understand that at the University of Oklahoma everybody is treated fairly and everybody is treated as family. They know that better than anybody."
"Our team is just a representation of our fine, great University, and really our great state. Our young men understand that and I realize that seems like we are putting and awful lot on their shoulders, but they will handle it, and they have. They have made us very proud up to this very point and I know they will continue to do so."
Mark Rogers: What are your feelings on being thrown into this on an interim basis? And what kind of chance you have at getting the job?
SG: "We are really trying to not focus on personal emotions through this time. What we are trying to do is understand the big picture. We are all going to go out and represent the University of Oklahoma, and I think that is the best way to do it. The men are staying focused. We are trying to stay focused on those student athletes. That is the concern of our coaching staff, and that is what goes on with these young men on a day-to-day basis. If we stay focused with that, then everything else should take care of itself."
Mark Rogers: Do you feel that your team will go out and win and get on a hot streak because of the situation that they are in?
SG: "Our young men understand that they want to go out and represent the program. In a team meeting, one of them said they want the '05 Sooner program to be remembered for something great. Now what they do from here on will dictate that. That is the challenge they really presented themselves with, and that is to go out and not let this be the end of the story.
"They are writing this story already because of how well they are representing the University of Oklahoma and how proud we are of them. Plus, how well they are working in practice as the practices have been off the chart, as far as the effort and they way they are flying around. They are making a lot of people very proud, including themselves."
JH: Have you noticed any kind of emotional hangover from this situation at all with your team?
SG: "Again, we are trying to not look at that. We are just trying to look to the future and not try to read too much. I know that we are giving everybody a lot of time for the emotion. We are just going out and focusing on the things that we need to, and that is baseball. These young men are getting ready to go out and take finals next week, they are getting ready to compete in a baseball game tomorrow night, and we are going to make sure they stay focused.
"They understand that their focus has to be on taking those finals, being a student/athlete and playing those games. It is in the classroom and on the competition field for them that defines them as a student/athlete."
Channel Nine News: This latest event not withstanding, what should be Larry Cochell's legacy at OU?
SG: "We are going to remember and continue our relationship with Larry Cochell based on how he has always treated us. I will say this... yesterday I saw Larry Cochell leave even after he addressed the team. I know that he has been a tremendous leader that I have always known as a great teacher. He did both of those things. He both lead, he was a great teacher.
"I will just give you a small picture of that by explaining to young men and teaching them that when you make a mistake, you learn from that mistake and you move on. It was really amazing what he said to the team and how he said it, and I wouldn't expect anything less."
The Sooners first game with Golloway as the interim Head Coach is Tuesday night against Wichita State. The Sooners will throw righthander John Brownell. First-pitch is set for 7 p.m.
Golloway, Sooners ready to move forward
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