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Collected Wisdom: Pete Hughes, OU baseball coach

New OU coach Pete Hughes spoke at length about his life, passion for sports and the frightening heart attack that nearly took it all away just after the 2012 baseball season ended.
by Jason Kersey Published: July 27, 2013
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photo - COLLEGE BASEBALL COACH / ANNOUNCE / ANNOUNCED / ANNOUNCEMENT: Pete Hughes is introduced as the University of Oklahoma (OU) Sooners new baseball coach on Thursday, June 27, 2013 in Norman, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
COLLEGE BASEBALL COACH / ANNOUNCE / ANNOUNCED / ANNOUNCEMENT: Pete Hughes is introduced as the University of Oklahoma (OU) Sooners new baseball coach on Thursday, June 27, 2013 in Norman, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

Pete Hughes' first day of college turned out to be among the most important of his life.

Hughes said from that day forward, he knew he wanted to be a college coach. That also happened to be the day he met his future wife, Debby.

A four-year starter on both the baseball and football teams at Davidson College, Hughes was hired as Oklahoma's new baseball coach.

Before that, he was head baseball coach at Virginia Tech, Boston College and Trinity University in San Antonio.

He spoke with The Oklahoman at length about his life, passion for sports and the frightening heart attack that nearly took it all away just after the 2012 baseball season ended.

I knew I wanted to coach from Day 1 in college. I was around our football coaches and the guys that recruited me and their families, and I just knew that was gonna be a part of me. I knew I wasn't gonna be good enough to continuing playing sports, but I love to compete so much. I thought it was a great way to keep the competitive juices alive and to raise a family. I was locked in and motivated to do that from Day 1.

Competing on the recruiting trails, competing on the field. It's just something I love to do. Something that really drives me is competition, and I can't imagine it not being a part of my life. When I got out of college and had to think of a career, I knew it was gonna be a competitive one, whether it was in sales or whatever.

I wanted to work my tail off, and I was gonna do it in whatever sport I was gonna coach, but I just thought, ‘Let me work like crazy and be able to compete 56 times a year.' It used to drive me crazy that we used to do all that work in football for, back then, just 10 days out of the year.

My wife and I have been married 17 years, and with this crazy profession, I've never once walked through the door and had anything put on my shoulders. She takes everything off my plate, lets me recruit like crazy, lets me stay away for extended periods of time and do it without a guilty conscience.

I had two tremendous parents who are no longer with us, but they affect every single decision I make today. I was lucky to have two unbelievable parents — a schoolteacher and a nurse — hard working, humble people.

I've been exposed to two tremendous coaches.

Jerry York, the hockey coach at Boston College. The guy's won five national championships, one of them was at Bowling Green. Nobody wins a national championship at Bowling Green, and he won it in hockey. His model and his approach every day to coaching, and what he gets out of different teams, was great to be around eight years.

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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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