AUBURN – Vowing that winning championships is “what we are about,” Sunny Golloway was introduced Saturday morning as Auburn’s head baseball coach.
Auburn athletics director Jay Jacobs welcomes Sunny Golloway to Auburn/Todd Van Emst photo
After nine seasons as head coach at Oklahoma, Golloway visited the Auburn campus for the first time Friday and signed a five-year contract worth $650,000 per year.
Former Auburn coach John Pawlowski was fired after missing out on postseason play for the fourth time in five seasons. Among those who interviewed for the job were Samford head coach Casey Dunn, Liberty head coach Jim Toman, Mississippi State pitching coach Butch Thompson, Arkansas assistant Todd Butler and North Carolina pitching coach Scott Forbes.
Athletics director Jay Jacobs, baseball administrator David Mines and former Auburn pitchers Joe Beckwith and Tim Hudson conducted the interviews. In the end, Jacobs said, the choice was clear.
“When we started out we wanted to hire a coach who was a proven winner and someone who had a proven track record of winning, someone who had a track record of developing players. Sunny has had more than 100 players drafted. He’s been to 14 of the last 15 NCAA regionals. That is real important, but the thing we all came to love and admire about Coach is he is a teacher. He wants to invest in these young men’s lives in every possible way, not just on the baseball diamond but in their lives.”
Golloway said the choice was also clear for him and his family.
“It’s real simple,” Golloway said. “I found out very early there is a commitment to win championships, and that’s what we are about. We’ve been very fortunate to do that, to win and be a part of a lot of championships.”
Golloway said he and Jacobs connected immediately.
“I knew for sure once I met Jay Jacobs,” Golloway said. “I couldn’t get my family here quickly enough to meet him.”
More from Golloway:
On recruiting players to Auburn
“When it comes to recruiting, it comes back to the university. That’s something Jay and I talked about. For me, it’s real simple. If you know baseball and know talent and have a proven university that young men desire to go to, it’s an easy fit. We know Atlanta. We know the East Cobb League. There’s not a quality program in the United States that doesn’t.
“We have had athletes in the past in previous stops we have recruited from Florida all the way to California. It’s been tougher to pull them out of the SEC. Now, being here at Auburn University, these young men are going to desire to come here and play at this university.”
On former Auburn coach Hal Baird
“I had the distinct pleasure of competing against Coach Hal Baird (as an Oklahoma assistant in the 1994 College World Series and 1995 regional).
“He is a true gentleman of the game. I have always admired him from afar. I had some brief conversations with Coach Baird. He told me an awful lot about it. The most important thing was about the people in Auburn and the people of Alabama. We were very intrigued. Getting the opportunity to meet the president and meet Jay Jacobs, we were very impressed.”
On developing players
“In my visits with Jay, you win your NCAA bid and win your championships in the summer and in the fall. In the spring, 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 and you stay after them, you stay focused on what you taught them. You have to have the right athletes and the right character on the field doing that.”
On his philosophy of the game
“You have to get them on the yard and make them understand it’s about today. It’s about what you need to do to get better today. It’s about pitching and defense, and we are going to put a lot of pressure on our opponents. We are going to have guys who can steal bases. … They called us the Cal Fullerton of the Midwest because of the way we played the game. We are going to put a tremendous amount of pressure. We are going to keep you on your toes and make you play defense to beat us.”
On what it will take to win
“To play this sport, you have to be mentally tough. You are going to fail seven out of 10 times at the plate. If we’ve got nine guys getting that done in our lineup we are going to win a lot of games and a lot of championships. We have to make sure out guys understand we have to deal with the small failures for the team to have success. That’s about mental toughness and about us being together.”
For a video of Jacobs and Golloway, follow the link below.