NORMAN — New Oklahoma baseball coach Pete Hughes opened his introductory news conference Thursday by acknowledging the obvious.
“I know what some of you are thinking right now,” Hughes said. “'If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.'”
The Sooners opened their 2013 NCAA Tournament run with a three-game sweep through the Blacksburg Regional, which OU clinched in a 10-4 victory over host Virginia Tech, then coached by Hughes.
Hughes becomes the ninth baseball coach in program history and replaces Sunny Golloway, who accepted Auburn's head coaching gig two weeks ago.
The 45-year-old Hughes brings with him a reputation for revitalizing downtrodden programs.
His first head coaching job came in 1997 at San Antonio's Trinity University, which he led to a 52-30 record in two seasons. He left there for Boston College, a program that had averaged 13 wins per year over the past 35 seasons before Hughes arrived.
Hughes left Boston College after eight seasons with a 250-181-2 overall record, including a school-record 37 wins in 2005.
From there, Hughes went to Virginia Tech, where he spent the past seven seasons and led the Hokies to five straight 30-win seasons and NCAA Tournament berths in 2010 and 2013.
Virginia Tech hadn't reached the tournament since 2000 before Hughes arrived.
“Pete captured our attention for a variety of reasons,” said OU athletic director Joe Castiglione. “He has an extensive track record at building programs, especially programs that face somewhat of an uphill battle, given the stage they were when he became the head coach.”
At OU, Hughes inherits a program with loads of recent success. The Sooners have reached an NCAA Super Regional in three of the past four seasons, and qualified for the College World Series in 2010.
Hughes said recruiting players to Boston College and Virginia Tech required lots of long trips around the country to attract talent, but at Oklahoma, his recruiting philosophy will be “inside-out.”
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)