Over the next week, Florida coach Tim Walton is looking to guide the Gators to their first Women’s College World Series title at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
He’ll be doing it in the same state where he learned what it takes to win a national title.
The Oklahoma graduate was a pitcher on the Sooners’ 1994 national championship baseball team and won a WCWS title with OU as an assistant on Patty Gasso’s staff in 2000.
Walton, a California native, first came to Oklahoma after two years at Cerritos College in California.
“Coming out here and being in a big-time program and a big-time atmosphere away from home, it’s prepared me for a lot of things,” said Walton, who was the winning pitcher in OU’s 13-5 win over Georgia Tech in the 1994 CWS title game. “Just the sports mentality (in Oklahoma). Being in California, there’s a lot of different professional teams, so coming out here and being a part of something like that shaped a lot of my ideals. It gave me the drive, the will, and the want to actually coach at a school that has football and football is the breadwinner. It’s a lot of fun having that kind of atmosphere, and I think it all started for me when I stepped on campus at Norman.”
Walton has built much of his Florida staff with connections he made while at OU. Assistants Jennifer Rocha and Kenny Gajewski are also Sooner graduates.
Rocha, formerly Jennifer Jaime, went 43-17 during her time as a pitcher at OU from 1996-98. Rocha served as a graduate assistant on the Sooners’ 2000 title team and has been Walton’s pitching coach at Florida since he was hired in 2006.
Gajewski was a teammate of Walton’s at Cerritos College and on OU’s 1994 national championship team. He also served as OU’s turf and maintenance director from 1997-07 before joining Walton at Florida in 2012.
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