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

I just worked side-by-side for seven years with Frank Beamer, who is just the ultimate team guy. He's the ultimate in class, a model of consistency and composure. I'm very aware of my surroundings and the people I've worked with over the years, and try to draw inspiration from those people, and those two have been unbelievable in their sports.

I'd be crazy to not take advantage of the resources that I'll have in front of me for improving myself professionally at OU.

Now that I look back at (the heart attack), it makes perfect sense that I had an artery that was 99 percent blocked. I couldn't figure out the past two months why I was so low energy. That's not who I am, on the practice field or anywhere. I was struggling with my intensity level and my energy level.

I struggled getting out of bed in the morning. I'm usually a morning guy, and I couldn't get out of bed until 8 in the morning. My normal workouts were exhausting.

I thought I had something caught in my esophagus because the pain was so localized and deep in my chest. I thought it was a salmon bone actually. I stayed there for six hours, finally it was excruciating, and I needed to get it removed. That was my mindset. So I got in the car, left my wife a note at 1 in the morning, and drove myself to the ER.

We were on track to get a chest X-ray and a CT scan, and he was gonna put a scope down my throat to get it removed because I told him what I had for dinner. In the meantime, he had taken blood work, and he came back in and said, ‘We're gonna go a different route on this thing because you just had a heart attack.'

I had the procedure the next day. They put a stent in. I was 99 percent blocked to my main artery.

I checked out the next afternoon and went on the road recruiting. I drove to Allentown, Pa., six hours each way. I felt good. When you go from 99 percent blocked to wide open, you feel good, you feel better.

It hasn't slowed me down, obviously, with a job transition. I'm hitting the ground running in recruiting, and talking to the roster, and trying to get a program going. To make it yours, it takes a lot of work and a lot of energy, and I haven't felt tired at all.

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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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