Mossman Prophecies No. 031
July 2, 2007
A few years ago I was talking with Patty Gasso during
media conference day prior to the beginning of yet
another appearance for her Oklahoma softball team in
the Women’s College World Series.
I complimented her on getting her club back to the
pinnacle event of the sport. Her response was interesting.
She said, “When you coach at Oklahoma, you almost
feel like you have to get to the championship.”
Apparently the unintended consequence of a deep athletics
program is that coaches feel a little pressure from
their most immediate peers.
If that’s the motivator for OU’s
softball coach, so be it. It works.
Gasso’s consistency is mind-boggling, especially
when you remind yourself that she is coaching softball,
as Three Dog Night put it, “in Oklahoma, not
The Sooners have logged 13 straight 40-win seasons
and five appearances in the WCWS. Even the most ardent
follower of collegiate softball would look at those
numbers and immediately attach them to a Pac-10 school.
Nope, that’s OU.
How has Gasso done it? For my money, her tenure, despite
all of the victories, is best defined by what she has
Since 2001, her teams have produced 11 first, second
or third-team All-Americans and the school career record
holders in at bats, runs scored, hits, batting average,
runs batted in, doubles, home runs, extra base hits,
total bases, stolen bases, on-base percentage, innings
pitched, pitching appearances, pitching games started,
pitching victories and pitching winning percentage.
Do you know what that means? That means that senior
day at Marita Hynes Field hasn’t been merely
a tearful goodbye. It has been one punch after another
to the gut of Gasso’s program.
She and her staff stand there each year and watch some
of the best players in the history of the Big 12 Conference
wave goodbye. All of us do the same while whispering
under our breath that surely there is no way that OU
can replace this player or that player. There’s
no way, we silently speculate, that the team can be
as good next year.
Then the next season rolls around and Gasso proves
all of us lame in our understanding of how a real good
coach sustains a real good program.
Neither geography or graduation day are Gasso’s
best friends, yet the beat goes on. As this piece is
written, OU is 39-4 and ranked No. 2 in the nation.
The good news is that people have taken notice. It’s
hard to find a seat at OU’s ballpark and the
group that follows the softball team is as loyal as
any band of Sooner faithful. There’s a lot of
good mojo in the air.
That’s because one of Oklahoma’s very best
coaches, and not just in softball, is running the show.
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Kenny Mossman, Associate Athletics Director for
Communications, provides his perspective on Oklahoma
Athletics in his regular column on SoonerSports.com.