NORMAN, Okla. -- Sunny Golloway is the new head baseball coach at the University of Oklahoma. After successful stints on the Sooner staff as an assistant and interim head coach, and a strong eight-year run as the head coach at Oral Roberts, Golloway’s appointment was announced Friday by OU Athletics Director Joe Castiglione.
“Sunny proved himself as a head coach at Oral Roberts and on an interim basis here at Oklahoma,” Castiglione said. “I am confident that he will do so again now that he has this position on a full-time basis. Based on his sparkling record and his experience with our national championship in 1994, this program can look to his leadership and aspire for the absolute pinnacle of college baseball.
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“His passion for this program is obvious and his enthusiasm never falters. I know that we have a coach who is devoted to the University of Oklahoma and one that is completely committed to the long-term success of the program.
“Sunny has the full support of our university administration. We are dedicated to working with him and his staff in providing the resources they need to compete at the highest level.”
Golloway characterized his new position as exciting and humbling.
“My family and I are extremely excited about this opportunity to coach at the University of Oklahoma,” he said.m“I am humbled to be included among the outstanding fraternity of coaches at OU. It is the very best group in the country.
“We look forward to directing this program towards championships year in and year out, and that will be the primary focus. I think about that a lot. But honestly, the first thing that came to mind when this job was offered to be was how excited I was to be able to coach these young men again at OU. I feel very close to them. We look forward to continuing in 2006 the late-season run we put together in 2005.”
Last season, Golloway was elevated from associate head coach to interim head coach on May 1, when Larry Cochell resigned. Golloway rallied the program to a 12-6 mark down the stretch and led the Sooners to a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Including eight seasons (1996-2003) as the head coach at Oral Roberts and the record as OU’s interim coach, Golloway is 347-162 (.681). That percentage ranks No. 10 nationally among active head coaches with a minimum of five years of experience.
When Golloway took over the Sooners in 2005, the team was 23-20 with a seventh-place Big 12 mark of 7-11. The team won its last three Big 12 series to move its overall record to 35-26 and its Big 12 mark to 14-13, good for a fifth-place finish.
“Sunny not only kept the team together through a trying time, he led it to a strong run down the stretch,” Castiglione said. “There are not a lot of coaches who could have done what he did in that situation and it is an understatement to say that he deserves a lot of credit for that accomplishment.”
Golloway, an assistant coach at OU from 1992-1995, returned to OU from Oral Roberts prior to the 2004 season. In his first season back, he helped direct a win in the prestigious Kia Klassic, as the Sooners became a fixture in the nation’s top 25 rankings again, recorded the program’s highest finish (second place) in Big 12 Conference history and made a return to the NCAA Tournament, hosting of a regional tourney.
As an assistant on the accomplished OU coaching staffs of the early 1990s, Golloway made three trips to the College World Series, including the 1994 National Championship run.
Golloway’s impact has been felt in other areas of the program as well. OU’s two recruiting classes since his arrival have ranked in the top 10 in Collegiate Baseball’s national rankings. He worked with the 2004 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and three other players who earned All-Big 12 honors. Additionally, he helped improve the fielding percentage by 14 points from the previous season.
At ORU, Golloway posted a mark of 335-156 record (.682). He coached 16 All-Americans, three Freshman All-Americans and 26 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). Golloway also twice garnered Coach of the Year acclaim from the Oklahoma Baseball Coaches Association in 1998 and 2001 and was nominated again in 2003 for the fourth time in his career.
Among his many other laurels as the ORU head coach, Golloway shaped the successful careers of 34 all-conference selections, four conference Players of the Year and Pitchers of the Year and one conference Newcomer of the Year.
In his final six seasons at Oral Roberts, Golloway was responsible for turning the Golden Eagles into one of the nation’s winningest programs. The program flourished under Golloway’s guidance and tallied 277 wins in that time, an average of more than 46 victories per season, and a .731 winning percentage.
Golloway and the Golden Eagles dominated the Mid-Continent Conference after 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 his last four seasons.
Golloway’s strongest postseason run with Oral Roberts came at the end of the 2002 season. The Golden Eagles, fresh from winning their fifth consecutive Mid-Continent Conference Tournament title, stunned 14th-ranked and home-standing Wichita State in the opening round of NCAA Regional play.
ORU 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.
Golloway is a former Team USA assistant and head skipper of several collegiate summer teams. In the summer of 2002, he was selected to serve as pitching coach for USA Baseball’s National Team. Under his direction, the team recorded the lowest ERA in its history.
Golloway also 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
During his first stint in Norman, Golloway helped guide the Kenai Peninsula Oilers of the Alaska Baseball League to consecutive National Baseball Congress World Series championships in 1993 and 1994. As a result of his successes in those back-to-back years, he was named the NBC Coach of the Year in 1993 and 1994.
Counting the Sooners’ national championship in 94, Golloway won an amazing three national championships in one calendar year.
Coaching for several successful teams has given Golloway the opportunity to help mold many outstanding players. Among those who have come under Golloway’s tutelage are current Major Leaguers Mickey Callaway, Ryan Christenson, J.D. Drew, Braden Looper, Greg Norton, Russ Ortiz, Doug Mientkiewicz and Mark Redman.
Although born in Springfield, Mo., Golloway 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 and his wife, Charlotte, live in Norman. The couple has three children: Sunni Kate, 19, Taylor, 15, and Callen, 5.
DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS JOE CASTIGLIONE
On hiring Sunny Golloway:
"We feel that we have found someone that shares the unwavering commitment to our vision, our values and passion that we have to build an outstanding baseball program and to help our student-athletes be the best they can be. He was always in this process and always in the mix.
"Regardless of what has been written and speculated, much of it false and often baseless, when you go about a search you try to keep it as quiet as possible. We feel that process always brings the best decisions. The coach we are introducing has demonstrated enormous passion for the University of Oklahoma and has demonstrated exceptional skill. He has made it clear that his focus has been on student-athletes and trying to get them to be the best they can be.
"He's been here as an assistant one other time and then left a head coaching position to come back here and be an assistant again. He has committed his talented skills to help this program become better, become more competitive and become, obviously, more successful in everything we do."
As a head coach, he has an exceptional record himself. He's in the top 10 in winning percentage of the active head coaches in collegiate baseball. He's been to seven straight NCAA Tournaments. He took a program at the midway point of a season from a bubble team to making sure they had racked up a place in the Big 12 Tournament.
"He gave us a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament. That is one of the many goals that this program always has. It is with great pleasure and confidence that I'm very proud to present to you the next, and I believe, very successful head baseball coach at the University of Oklahoma, Sunny Golloway."
HEAD COACH SUNNY GOLLOWAY
On becoming head coach:
"I would like to first and foremost like to thank Joe Castiglione and his outstanding staff at the University of Oklahoma for this great opportunity to be the head baseball coach at the University of Oklahoma. I would also like to thank President Boren and the Board of Regents for this great opportunity.
"My family and I are extremely excited about the opportunity, but we are also equally humbled, about the opportunity to lead this program. We understand clearly what it entails at the University of Oklahoma and we accept this knowing that. Again, we are very humbled about this opportunity.
"We look forward to working with the wonderful people here at the University of Oklahoma that we have already had a good opportunity to get to know. We are very excited about continuing those great relationships that we have already started."
"I would also like to mention our baseball family, an outstanding baseball family. Debbie Boyls, our baseball secretary, does an outstanding job and we are very fortunate to have her. Ryan Wade, our volunteer coach, we appreciate his efforts and everything he's done along with Andrew McGuire, our graduate assistant.
"Also, Fred Corral. I want everyone to know that Fred Corral is not only what I consider the best pitching coach in college baseball and for that matter any level, having already spent time in professional baseball. Fred is a genuine person and he's also a great personal friend of mine. We have been through a lot as we took over as interim. I know a lot was made of me as an interim head coach, but Fred and the rest of the baseball family spent countless hours with me as we tried to make decisions and plans to go forward and it meant the world to me. "
"My family is here today. They've been through a lot and we're just humbled as we've had a lot of conversations this morning. I want you to understand that this is a joint effort as we all accept the responsibility of moving forward as a head baseball coaching family. We understand all the responsibilities and things that we will foster in the future here at OU. We take those challenges on forthright, head first and very excited along the way. There's no question about that."
"I would also like to thank Larry Cochell. He gave a high school coach an opportunity to coach at Oklahoma in 1992 and for that I am forever grateful. Coach Cochell taught me a lot as a young baseball coach and I have been able to go out and utilize a system that I believe works.
"I want everyone in this room to understand that Larry Cochell always understood that this was about student athletes and about teaching. He taught even as he resigned his position. His message to our athletes was that you take responsibility for your actions and you move forward and learn from those. To me, that was one of the greatest lessons that he could have taught. I will always consider him a close friend and mentor and will always mean the world to me."
"Much has been made about the process. At no time did I ever feel that this coaching search wasn't in the best interest of the University of Oklahoma and I mean that sincerely. I know our athletic director did their due diligence and went about things in a timely fashion to get the very best person for the University of Oklahoma baseball program.
"Let's make very clear that this program deserved the opportunity and time to go out and try to find who they felt would be the very best person for this position. During the process, we accepted it and stayed the course. We are very excited about the opportunity and outcome."
On the players:
"I have great memories with those players and those last 18 games. The things these athletes did for their university and the way the represented the University of Oklahoma to the nation, spoke volumes. We should want every student-athlete around the country to represent their institution the way our baseball players at the University of Oklahoma represented our school.
"These guys went out and made the coaching staff better by the way they approached things. The accepted our coaching willingly and allowed us to move forward. They made all of us very proud and we all learned from each other. That is always what came to the forefront of my mind, that I wanted the opportunity to continue to have with our student-athletes, which I believe are the best in the country."
On what players have decided to stay:
"I haven't talked to Ryan Rohlinger in over a week, but I'm real excited about contacting him this afternoon. I have talked to Daniel McCutchen and he's still looking forward to coming back to the University of Oklahoma. We're very excited about our future and the guys we have returning here. There are still six players out of our early signing class that we are going to contact this afternoon and we look forward to them being future Sooners."
On Gene Stephenson being chosen first:
"It was easy to keep my head up. I will tell you that Gene Stephenson has an impeccable record and a hall of fame type coach. He's No. 1 in winning percentage and I felt that it was no foul in Gene Stephenson being named the head coach at that time."
On being disappointed early on:
"I do have a strong belief in a greater being controlling our lives. I understood through the process that if I was meant to be the head coach at the University of Oklahoma, I would be. It ended up that's how things worked out. During that time, sure there was disappointment, but that would be the case for anyone. My feeling was that I wanted these players and this program to be taken care of. At no time did I feel that the process wasn't doing that. The process was to do that."
On his players being there at the press conference:
"That's where the rubber meets the road. I'm excited about getting out there and recruiting while working on the day-to-day operations for our baseball program and putting together that I am hopeful will be the best coaching staff in the country. Then in the fall, getting back here and working with these athletes.
"Most of them are out playing around the country this summer and I'm going to spend some time getting out there and watching them and making sure they're busting it like they should be to get better. This is an important time for them, as far as really getting better getting in good shape in the fall so they can begin pursuing a Big 12 Championship."