Golloway confident Sooners can get back to Omaha

New Oklahoma baseball coach Sunny Golloway talks about continuing what he started, the hiring and resignation of Gene Stephenson, OU's scholarship situation and much, much more in an exclusive interview with OUInsider.com

It took a while, but Sunny Golloway is finally the Head Coach of the Oklahoma Baseball Team. Recently, Golloway sat down with OUInsider.com to talk about his new position with the Sooners.

JH: You only had a little over a month to work with the team once you became the Interim Head Coach until the end of the season, so I am sure you are looking forward to the chance of working with this team on a full-time basis?

SG: "That is so true James. And more than the fact that they are outstanding athletes, it is because of the fact they are outstanding young men. When we start in the fall and go into the entire fall, it will be much different for us than the short time we had at the end of the season. We are looking forward to that."

JH: Do you believe that his program is still capable of winning National Championships?

SG: "There is no question that the University of Oklahoma is worthy of going to Omaha and competing for a College World Series. I believe that our players believe that, our coaching staff will believe that, and that is what our day-to-day efforts will be.

"I want to emphasize that and talk about it on a daily basis, and we did through those last 18 games last year. We talked about what it would take to win a regional, super regional and College World Series.

"It is such a great experience having been there and coached players, that I think that any coach who doesn't help his athlete try to finish in the College World Series would be cheating those young men. At the University of Oklahoma, we have every opportunity to go to the College World Series."

JH: Through the search several teams talked to your pitching coach, Fred Corral, who was offered a job at Georgia and who was the leading candidate to be the new pitching coach at Nebraska. How tough was it to keep him in Norman?

SG: "The facts that they were all good programs that approached Fred just speak volumes for Fred Corral's ability to coach, tutor and bring along college pitchers. Fred Corral is outstanding and he legitimately has a chance to be the best pitching coach in the United States.

"The way he goes about his work day-in-and-day out is outstanding. That motives me on how hard I go about my work day-in-and-day out. I am telling you that we are very, very blessed and very fortunate to have him here. The fact that we came close to losing him a couple of times, I don't know exactly how that happened, but I will tell you this — we look back and things happen for a reason. I am talking to you today because certain things happened and certain things happened for Fred Corral. I would like to say that both of us were destined to be here at the University of Oklahoma."

JH: You have one more assistant coach to hire, so how do you expect to go about doing that and can you gives us an idea who might be involved?

SG: "We have several people that we want to talk to about that. The most important aspect of that position is to get a national recruiter, somebody that we feel can go out and do a great job at evaluating talent and bring the best talent to the University of Oklahoma.

"We are looking at a coach who can be a recruiting coordinator, and who can also work with our hitters on a daily basis. We are looking for a coach that fits our core values here at the University of Oklahoma. We want somebody trustworthy, somebody with a lot of integrity who will fit with our staff very well."

JH: Are you worried about your scholarship situation?

SG: "No, we feel that situation will work itself out. We are very close to working it out. You have attrition every year regarding that. Again, we are very close to where we have been in the past. We are probably in the same shape with 80 percent of the programs around the country. A lot was made about a that little regarding our scholarship situation, but again we are doing our due-diligence regarding that matter."

JH: Can you talk about your emotions over the last few days until you were hired, especially with the fact that OU had hired Gene Stephenson only to see him resign a few hours later?

SG: "On the emotional side it tends to be a little bit of a roller-coaster. But for us, we really did feel at peace about the whole thing. We kept saying throughout, and I continued to say that if I was meant to be the head baseball coach at the University of Oklahoma, then I would be.

"When Gene Stephenson was named we understood that and we accepted that, and at that point we were ready to move on. Then of course, things ended up taking another turn and we are now where we sit today."

JH: During the whirlwind of events the players were always behind you. How much does that mean to you?

SG: "Player support means a great deal to me because I have always felt that the relationship that I have with these student/athletes is what coaching is all about. They mean the world to me, and that is really what it is about.

"As I said earlier, that is where the rubber meets the road because the players and coaches are getting on the field doing the work day-in-and-day-out representing this institution first-class manner.

"These athletes do that and that is why they mean so much to me. They simplify what student/athletes are all about."

JH: There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the program this year and a lot of criticism in the last couple of weeks, so what kind of message do you want to send to the fans of the OU Baseball Team?

SG: "The fans are really what it comes down to. I want everybody involved with our team — from our alumni, our former coaches, our current players, our current parents and our boosters — to all understand that this is really about our student/athletes and the rich tradition of Sooner Baseball.

"Everybody has touched the program in some fashion, and I think the important thing is that everybody does their very best to help these student/athletes in our program. It is not about Sunny Golloway. It is not about our current coaching staff.

"We are going to show them and we are going to foster tradition. We are going to care take it as far as the alumni go and do our due-diligence on a daily basis to make sure this is about a Sooner family.

JH: You have said that you want all the factions around the OU baseball program to come together. But considering how political they are, how are you going to accomplish that?
SG: "James, I feel everybody has an opportunity to come together. I can't foresee the future and I don't have a crystal ball, but I will tell you this — and that is we are going to go about our work day-in-and-day-out. We are going to be about it in an honest hard-working fashion, and we will again extend our right arm to all of our alumni because we want them to understand that this is their program.

"Coaches come and go over the course of time, but alumni are forever. I understand that and I want to have conversations at the appropriate time with the appropriate people to make sure that everybody understands that. We are going to extend an invitation with open arms to our alumni.

"I do feel, at this time more than ever, that this is an opportunity for everybody to come together for the well-being of our program. Everybody needs to come together for the well-being of our program. I hope that will happen, and over the course of time and hard work, I believe that it will happen."

I also had a chanced to talk with OU Pitching Coach Fred Corral about the prospects of putting together for next year.

JH: Fred, do you know who is coming back and who you are doing to have available next year for the pitching staff?

FC: "We have some outstanding arms still in the mix and coming our way. The fact that Matt Lovelady (RHP) from Modesto Junior College and Chris Henry (LHP) from San Joaquin Delta Community College, Calif., are coming in is outstanding.

"We have a young arm in North Carolina that we hope is still available to us. He was a commitment to us throughout the whole process and he has academically become eligible. We have been waiting for this process to come to fruition to actually get the kid locked into Oklahoma. If his arm comes our way we are going to have three very good arms added to the program.

"Then you look at what we have coming back in Will Savage, Brad Burns, Steven Guerra and possibly Daniel McCutchen. Then we think we are going to get Ryan Mottern coming back from surgery. I am very excited about the pitching staff that we have coming back and the process of those guys getting better day-to-day."

JH: Is Westmoore product Jarod Freeman a hitter or a pitcher? From what I understand, he is having a great summer down in Dallas as a hitter/first baseman. But you used him as a hitter mostly last year?

FC: "Freeman is a half-breed because he is both hitter and pitcher. He is going to be a guy, just like you saw in the latter part of the season, when he pitched so well against Ole Miss, well, his numbers didn't look it, but he was outstanding. His competitiveness is so good that I can't see how we can't offer him an opportunity on the mound. I know his bat is very exceptional and he is going to be an exciting player for us."

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