Few college baseball teams in the country have the amount of experience on their coaching staff as Oklahoma this season. In addition to Pete Hughes, who came to the Sooners after 15 seasons as the head coach at Boston College and Virginia Tech, the Sooners have two other coaches with Division I head coaching experience. Pitching coach Jamie Pinzino was the coach at William & Mary and hitting coach Mike Anderson coached Nebraska for nine seasons. Anderson’s stint with the Cornhuskers included a 2005 College World Series berth. After being fired by Nebraska following the 2011 season, Anderson went back to his home state of Colorado as the head coach at Regis Jesuit High School. His predecessor, Walt Weiss, left after being named manager of the Colorado Rockies. After one season, Anderson was asked to join Oklahoma’s staff by new coach Pete Hughes.
I started when I was young — seventh or eighth grade. Eaton High School in Greeley, Colo., the head coach that was there Jim Danely, is still there in his 48th year. He asked me if I’d like to help with some T-ball programs. It’s one of the best high school baseball programs in the country and I’m fortunate to have gone through his system. I had a great college coach at Northern Colorado and have just been surrounded by great people along the way. I look at coaching as serving.
Sports, being on the field, that’s all I ever wanted to do. I never wanted anything else. This is what I do and I love doing it and I love having a positive influence on young men. My dad, Bennett, passed away in 2003. I had a mom, Joann, that’s a nurse and a father that did everything and anything for his two sons and demonstrated how to serve in the community, serve at a small school and do those types of things. That’s always my intent is to do the best I can at serving in the community and serving our kids. You have a nurse and you have a dad like that, that’s how you grow up.
Being on this staff is one of the best learning experience I’ve ever had. You’re around Jamie Pinzino and Pete Hughes that are Division I head coaches and have quality experiences. It’s a great challenge every single day because I think we challenge each other. You’ve got an innovative, smart, communicative head coach who allows us to do things and expects us to do things. There’s high expectations and I like to think Jamie and I understand our roles as assistant coaches because we’ve been head coaches. My biggest job is making sure that everything that I do is for Oklahoma and for Pete Hughes and that’s it, to try to put him in a better position and to try to put Oklahoma in a better position. It’s unique. It’s fun. It’s a great learning experience.
I loved going back and coaching in high school. I wouldn’t have written the story that way. I wouldn’t have said, ‘Hey, this is what I want to do.’ I had an A.D. at Regis Jesuit that was phenomenal. I probably wouldn’t have taken the position if it wasn’t for Walt Weiss and for the staff there. I loved working with kids and I got to be on the baseball side. That was another learning experience for me to kind of step back and make me start to realize what kids really want to do to advance to the next level. I wouldn’t change a thing. Kelly Doherty, the A.D., made a phone call. I’m from Colorado, so there was a lot of ties. Somebody said, ‘Hey, call Mike Anderson,’ and he did. I talked to Walt about it and talked to some friends about it. Without this A.D., I would not have done it. He’s just a good man. I wasn’t sure where I was going to be at so I said, ‘C’mon, let’s do it.’ Walt got the job in December and they had an opening, so I went for it. I really did anticipate being there longer than just a year.
My mom’s still in Eaton, Colo. It was unbelievable to be back in that area. When I told my wife about this job and that we might have to move back out, it was tough to leave family again. We’ve got a rock-solid family and it was a decision for everybody and they all said let’s do it.
Pete and I have known each other for about 15-16 years. We worked Stanford’s camp together and we did a bunch of things together. We’ve been colleagues, we’ve been friends, we’ve challenged each other in the recruiting process. This cme open and we had some conversations. I would’ve have left Regis if it wasn’t for Oklahoma and for Pete Hughes. I knew the type of person that Pete Hughes was and it gave me the opportunity to work with him. His values are unbelievable.
When I was at Nebraska and we played here, the first thing I did is walk in and look at the flags. Every time it was like, ‘Oh boy, here we go.’ Depending on if we had an offensive team or not but you’d look at the flags first. You knew you were in for a battle. Oklahoma and Oklahoma kids, you just knew the quality of baseball down here was going to be solid. Since I’m here now, I step outside my front door and see if it’s going to be windy today and check the weather. Pinz and I have a little back and forth. I’ll walk in the office and say, ‘Hey, it’s blowing out today,’ and he’ll put his head down or if it’s blowing in, I’ll do the same.
I’ve got the greatest family in the world. I know Pete and his family and he knows me and my family and we can’t do this stuff without a wife and we can’t do this stuff without our kids doing the things that they’re doing. I think Pete and I and our whole coaching staff try to impress upon our kids that that’s what we want within this team — a family approach to everything that we do.