Finally, the Sooners enjoyed a dogpile.
And yes, it was everything they thought it would be.
“Words can’t describe it,” senior Max White said after Oklahoma’s 7-2 win over Kansas in the Big 12 Tournament championship game. “We won a Super Regional in my freshman year and I guess it’s the last time we dogpiled in a Sooner uniform.
“It’s just relieving. After four years, I’m exhausted. It’s humbling and I couldn’t wish for anything else with this group of guys.”
Recent years have left Oklahoma players and coaches standing silently in their dugout, watching as other teams performed the ultimate baseball celebration. At NCAA Regionals and Super Regionals. At last year’s Big 12 Tournament, when Missouri beat the Sooners and piled high on the infield turf.
Not this time.
Not Sunday at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, where the Sooners took control early and claimed their first Big 12 championship — regular season or championship — since 1997.
It was the first Big 12 championship for OU coach Sunny Golloway in his eight seasons, effectively shrugging off the ape that Golloway said has weighed on him in the quest to hoist a conference trophy. While he didn’t participate in the dogpile, missing it to fulfill television obligations, he understood the reward.
“I’m going to get to enjoy it when I go home and watch the news and the replays,” Golloway said. “I don’t have to see it live to know what it must feel like for my players. That’s the best feeling in the world.
“I tell our guys, ‘You know when you hug each other in baseball?’ They think about it for a while and I say, ‘When you win championships.’ You hug each other after you dogpile, that’s when you hug each other.
“My enjoyment is knowing they did dogpile and then getting to hug each and every one of them.”
Finishing off an unbeaten run through the tournament, the Sooners improved to 40-19. And if there was any lingering question about their postseason status — and that waned as they kept winning this weekend — the point became moot when OU claimed the Big 12’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.