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June 15, 2013
Golloway announced as new head coach
AUBURN | Sunny Golloway was introduced as Auburn's new head baseball coach on Saturday by Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs during a press conference filled with alumni, baseball supporters and former players.
Golloway has spent the past eight seasons as head coach at the University of Oklahoma, where he led the Sooners to seven NCAA Regional berths, four NCAA Super Regionals and the 2010 College World Series.
This past season, Golloway led Oklahoma to the Big 12 Championship and ultimately fell at LSU in the Super Regional.
Pitching, defense, small-ball, pressure and mental toughness will be the pillars of Golloway's coaching style, he explained during his first meeting with the media as the Tigers' new skipper.
Golloway agreed to a 5-year deal worth $650K per year, making him the third highest paid baseball coach in the SEC. Auburn paid former head coach John Pawlowski $350K per year, good for 11th highest paid coach in the conference at the time.
Golloway was being paid $385K plus bonuses at Oklahoma.
Here's a Q&A with Golloway where the hard-nosed coach talks about the decision to move from Norman to Auburn, his philosophy on recruiting and coaching, and much more.
OPENING STATEMENT: Let's start off and get this right - War Eagle! I'm really excited. I'm very, very excited to be here today and very humbled by the opportunity to be the new baseball coach at Auburn University and be part of the Auburn University family.
A little bit about the decision to come here and be a part of this great institution and where I've been. It's real simple. I found out very early that there is a commitment to win championships, and that's what we are about. We've been very fortunate to do that. We've been very fortunate to win and be a part of a lot of championships. In the early '90s, I had the distinct pleasure of competing against Coach Hal Baird. One was in the '94 College World Series. His Auburn baseball team had qualified. We were fortunate enough to win the national championship that year. I was an assistant on that Oklahoma Sooner baseball club. Then in '95, Auburn University had to come to Oklahoma City for a very, very tough task in competing in the regional in Oklahoma City. I got to know, I got to observe, and I got to watch Coach Hal Baird. A true gentleman of the game. I've always admired him from afar. I had some brief conversations with Coach Baird and he told me an awful lot about it, but the most important thing is about the people that live here in Auburn, the people of Alabama and the commitment.
As I've scouted a little bit, I've heard nothing but good things. There are some tremendous athletes on campus right now, and I know we are in a hotbed for baseball talent, and we are going to be able to bring those athletes and have them be student-athletes at Auburn University. Again, it just comes back to being excited. A lot of people have asked me about the SEC now and the reputation. I said that's what we are looking forward to, with the SEC getting nine teams into the NCAA Tournament and two of those moving on to the NCAA College World Series this week.
ON RECRUITING: When it comes to recruiting and it comes to the university, that was something that Jay and I talked about through the process. For me, it's real simple. If you know baseball and you know talent and you have a proven university that young men desire to go to, it's an easy fit. Now, as far as right here in this hotbed, it's been tougher to pull them out of the SEC being in the Big 12. Now, being here at Auburn University, these young men are going to desire to come here and play at this university. It's very simple. You drive around this campus, and I can only imagine what it's going to be like on football game days, when we are recruiting them and bringing them in.
The question about recruiting, it's not going to be a problem. We are going to hit the ground with our feet running, and we are going to go out and we are going to win those battles. I love that part of the job. I love the chase. I love the competition. In my visits with Jay, I told him you win your NCAA bid and you win your championships in the summer and in the fall. In the spring time, you have the pleasure of watching them play. You might call a bunt or a hit and run, but your training has already been done. You stay after it and you stay focused on what you taught them. You've got to have the right athletes and the right character on the field doing that.
ON MAKING THE MOVE TO AUBURN: The intrigue is because of the university. The intrigue is because of what Coach Baird had done here in the past. I had a couple of brief conversations with Coach Baird. When I met Jay, I knew there was a commitment to winning championships. Sometimes, when you sit down with people, you just hit it off and you know. I'm one of those people. I know in my gut. I know when to make a pitching change. I know when to call the hit and run. I'll know when to lay down that bunt and when to make a move.
ON COACHING PHILOSOPHY: Pitching and defense are what wins championships. There is no doubt about that. Fortunately, we had that, but then you've got to be able to score some runs once that pitching and defense is shutting them down. That's really where the game has changed. You have to change with the game. The student-athletes have also changed over the course of time. That's one of the things that Coach Baird and I talked about. You know, in the old-school days, you didn't have limitations, and if you wanted to practice for six hours, you could do that. We weren't smart enough back in the '90s to understand that we were probably losing those student-athletes after the third or fourth hour. We were pretty much coaching that last hour for ourselves. You've got to get them on the yard and make them understand it's about today. It's about what we need to do to be better today.
We are going to have guys that can steal bases. We had a tremendous compliment and, at the time, I laughed about it. It's by somebody that I respected in our conference. They called us at Oklahoma, the Cal State Fullerton of the Midwest. We are going to put a tremendous amount of pressure. The comment was, you don't know what they are going to do or when they are going to do it, but they're going to do it. That kind of sums it up. You don't have to know how we are going to or when we are going to, but we are going to do it. We are going to keep you on your toes and make you play defense. We are going to make you pitch to beat us. There are philosophies that are going to be part of the system. When we are up, we are going to make you throw us out. If we are behind, we won't take as many risks as far as trying to score that extra run at home. We will let the next guy drive us in. It's all part of baseball. Baseball is a risk versus reward sport. You've got to teach your student-athletes that. Once they understand that and they grasp the concept and they understand that they are really one playing a team sport, because you've got one guy going to the plate.
The last thing I will elaborate on that is with the mental toughness. You've got to be (mentally tough) to play this sport. Let's think about it, you are going to fail seven out of 10 times at the plate. I don't think Coach (Gus) Malzahn is going to be O.K. with that if it's our completion rate from our quarterbacks, and I know in basketball if our one and two are shooting at that rate, they are not going to be on the court very long. In baseball, that will sure get you into the Hall of Fame and the big leagues. If we've got nine guys getting that done in our lineup, we are going to win an awful lot of baseball games and an awful lot of championships. We've got to make sure our young men learn to deal with the small failures to have the team success and that's about mental toughness. That's about us being together. I'll tell you, if you are having a bad day and you are 0-for-3 with three strike outs, the quickest way to get over that day is to turn around and encourage one of your teammates or congratulate one of your teammates that's gone 2-for-3. Sure enough tomorrow, you are going to be the one going 2-for-3 and he's going to be 0-for-3, but it will be a different group of guys. We've just got to have at least four or five out of our nine having a good day. We'll have different guys that pick us up. We'll have a couple of horses in there that surely won't have off and on days too often. We'll play it as a team and we will be mentally tough.
ON THE TIMETABLE FOR BRINGING AUBURN BACK TO WINNING CONSISTENTLY: I won't put a time table and I won't pull a Jimmy Johnson, so to speak, and guarantee that we are going to go win the Super Bowl, but I will tell you that we are going to win and we are going to win quickly. I know of the history, recent history, and I know of the long-term history. It's not so much about the past, other than talking to Coach Baird and knowing that it can be done. The system and what he did is proof that it can be done. The resources are in place, and it's about moving forward. It's about the future. I'll tell you real simply, Mr. Jacobs came up here and spoke about the last whatever it was, 14 out of 15 regionals as a head coach. They were great times, and I'll tell you about some great memories. The other thing I'll tell you about is the one year we didn't get in the NCAA and our RPI was 29. We deserved to get in. You don't want to get me started there. We're going to have a strong RPI, and we are going to represent the university in a first-class manner, and we are going to be deserving of playing in the NCAA Tournament.