NORMAN — New Oklahoma baseball coach Pete Hughes has overcome some great challenges throughout his coaching career, like turning around programs at Boston College and Virginia Tech.
But those difficulties were nothing compared to the heart attack Hughes suffered earlier this month.
He said his main artery was 99 percent blocked when he drove himself to the hospital only a few days after his Virginia Tech squad was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament by the Sooners.
“I think I weigh what I weigh on high school,” Hughes said. “I eat correctly. I thought I had indigestion. I thought I had something caught in my chest from dinner and it stayed for an extended period of time. I drove myself to the hospital.
“The doctor said in front of my wife, ‘The widowmaker.’ We got past that. We got a stent put in. … I feel great. I feel very fortunate. There’s no damage to my heart. I’m 45 years old and in pretty good shape, with bad genetic history. Now we can stay on top of it.”
Hughes said his heart attack wasn’t a factor in his decision to leave Virginia Tech.
“I’m still having trouble grasping that I was physically ill,” he said. “My mindset is at a much younger age.
“I make all my decisions whether I think I can put my family in a better situation or not slow the pace of growth that we’re heading in, and where I can win a national championship and go to Omaha. That’s where this was decision was based.”