Staff, Wire Reports
The Cullman Times
Other than coming about a week earlier than he would’ve preferred, Sunny Golloway had no qualms with his introductory press conference on Saturday as Auburn baseball’s new head coach.
Golloway arrived on the Plains after spending eight seasons with Oklahoma, where he led the Sooners to seven NCAA regional berths, four super regionals and the 2010 College World Series. Oklahoma (43-21) was bounced out of the super regionals by LSU last weekend.
“It’s been a crazy week since the super regional,” Golloway said on Saturday. “I wish maybe we had to prolong this one more week and that I was getting back from Omaha. Regardless of the outcome of this year’s season, it would not have made a difference. This is a place we are excited about being at, and it has become home really quick.”
Golloway cited coaching in the Southeastern Conference and "the history of the Auburn program" as big reasons for the move, which didn’t come long after the school announced its splashy hire of Arizona State’s Clint Myers as the Tigers’ new softball coach.
Golloway also led the Oral Roberts program for eight seasons. He has a career record of 681-337-1, including 12 seasons with at least 40 wins.
The Sooners, home to No. 3 draft pick Jonathan Gray, won the Big 12 tournament last season before advancing to the aforementioned super regional.
With high school and Major League Baseball’s amateur draft behind him, recent Cullman graduate Keegan Thompson said he’s glad to finally know who he’ll be playing for when he ships out to Auburn this fall. John Pawlowski, the Tigers’ head coach the entire time Thompson was recruited, was fired last month after Auburn failed to make a regional for a third straight year.
Golloway made it crystal clear on Saturday that his coaching philosophy revolves around pitching and defense, music to the ears of Thompson, who is projected to be the Tigers’ ace or No. 2 pitcher next spring.
“Hopefully he can come in and develop us pitchers to where we can go deep in the postseason,” Thompson said.
Thompson previously expressed his desire for the new hire to retain Scott Foxhall, Auburn’s pitching coach during Pawlowski’s tenure. Based on one of Golloway’s comments on Saturday, Thompson probably shouldn’t hedge his bets on that wish being fulfilled.
“I’ve got a couple of staff members that have made the trip with me here,” Golloway said. “They have got to make sure their family is on board before I announce them, but everything looks really good. You are only as good as the people around you, and we are going to make sure we are surrounded by quality people.”
% The Times’ sports editor Rob Ketcham contributed to this report.