NORMAN — Sunny Golloway said he doesn’t hold any grudges over the negative things being said about him as he departs Oklahoma for his new job as Auburn’s head coach.
I spoke Tuesday afternoon by telephone with Golloway to discuss his departure, his future, the state of OU baseball and the negative reaction he’s received from some former players.
Here’s the highlights of my interview with Golloway:
Q: What factors helped you make the decision to take the Auburn job?
A: It was a family decision. I was a better move for the security of my family personally.
Did the challenge of playing in the SEC intrigue you?
They got nine teams in the NCAA Tournament, and I was really concerned about three teams in the Big 12. Personally, I thought Kansas was a really good baseball team. They made it to the championship game from their side of the bracket, so I thought they deserved it. I always feel like both side of our bracket, whoever gets to our championship game deserves to get in.
Nine teams versus three was a deciding factor.
When you think back on your time at Oklahoma, what will stand out as your fondest memories?
I’m gonna remember the players, especially this year’s team. They were a very close group. I know something was said on the Internet, and you’re gonna have bandwagon people that didn’t get to play or whatever. I think as adults, we need to remember we are talking about young kids, and we’re talking about nocturnal activity.
I’m not going to comment on who, but I’ve gotten a lot of texts saying, ‘Coach, we don’t feel that way and we’re sorry that happened.’ I’ve gotten a couple of texts saying, ‘I’m sorry I did that,’ and I’ve forgiven two of them.
Were those tweets hurtful?
It’s against the law to drink and drive because you could hurt somebody. How are we going to monitor this new social media that’s at your finger tips that young people have access to? I’m not sure, because a lot of hurt and a lot of untruths and a lot of regrets can come from it.
But it’s OK. It’s just words, so you forgive and move on. This was a very close team. These players were told by the coaches that we love them. We all hugged after two championships at Bricktown and Blacksburg. I hugged every human being on the team.
It hurts. You give 14 years of your life to this place, go through what I went through with Gene Stephenson, then go to four Super Regionals and Omaha, then get negative things said. You wonder what you did wrong. You must’ve done things to offend people. You shed tears over it, pick yourself up, brush yourself off and move on.
I don’t hold any grudges. But for guys like (radio host) Jim Traber, coach Enos Semore and whoever else wants to jump on, this is their day. They’re allowed to be critical.”
Thoughts on the program moving forward?
The program’s moving in the right direction. I hope it moves in even a stronger, better position without me. No coach before me has said that, and I’m saying that. I want my time here and what I’ve done to help strengthen the future, and I would tell the new head coach that he got a great job and he is gonna have a great time.
How difficult were the phone calls to Oklahoma after you accepted the Auburn job?
There were a couple of guys who were really hurt. (Second baseman) Hector Lorenzana said, ‘Dang coach, why?’ But after we talked and I explained it to them, they were very understanding.