“I've always wanted to coach at a school where you were the institution in the region,” Hughes said. “This is the state university, and it's in one of the most fertile baseball grounds in the country. Oklahoma, bordering Texas.
“If we're going outside of that, something's wrong. We will consume those areas.”
Hughes visited his new players on a conference call just before speaking to reporters Thursday, and said all seemed receptive.
Left fielder and leadoff hitter Craig Aikin, who just finished his freshman season, attended Thursday's news conference.
He said when the Sooners were playing at Virginia Tech, he noticed that the Hokies players were loose and having fun, and he attributed that to Hughes.
“We played a handful of teams like that,” Aikin said. “The coach is really involved with those guys, and guys are just really wanting to play hard for him. They're just having the time of their lives.
“I'm really excited to play for him.”
Hughes will earn $350,000 per year at Oklahoma, according to a SoonerScoop.com report. The Washington Post reported that Hughes made $157,000 last season at Virginia Tech.
Thursday, Hughes also addressed his recent health scare. He suffered a heart attack only a few days after Virginia Tech was eliminated by Oklahoma.
He said he had 99 percent blockage in his main artery, but had a stent implanted and his artery is “100 percent wide open now.”
“I feel great,” Hughes said. “I feel 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.”
MORE FROM NEWSOK
THE PETE HUGHES FILE
Position: Oklahoma head baseball coach, hired June 27
College: Davidson College (1990); Hughes, a four-year letterman and third baseman, also was the Davidson football team's four-year starting quarterback.
HEAD COACHING CAREER
1997-98: Trinity University, 52-30 (.634)
1999-2006: Boston College, 250-181-2 (.580)
2007-2013: Virginia Tech, 222-174 (.561)
Overall record: 524-385-2 (.576)