The Norman Transcript

OU Sports

June 30, 2013

Castiglione swings for fences with Hughes

NORMAN — Isn’t it interesting what a little time and a different sport can do for an athletic director?

Isn’t it interesting, too, when both approaches, executed by the same person, end up working?

Of course, the jury’s out on new Sooner baseball coach Pete Hughes, who Sooner athletic director Joe Castiglione introduced to the world Thursday. 

Yet, it’s only because Hughes has yet to put together a body of work at L. Dale Mitchell Park. As much as he could have put the Sooner Nation’s heart to rest over his hire, he did so Thursday.

“I’m excited to be a part of such a phenomenal college community,” Hughes said during his first monologue as Sooner coach. “There’s nothing like coaching a baseball team with a rabid following that is emotionally invested in the same thing you are.”

He must have already met Bob Stoops before taking the lectern, because there’s a guy coaching a team with a rabid following. 

Anyway, but for inflating the following of the program he’s taking over, Hughes was aces in his first public appearance as new coach.

What’s particularly interesting are a couple of things about his ascension into the role.

“I was contacted,” he said. “I’m leaving a tremendous situation, so that should tell you what I think of this job and this athletic department. I was fortunate enough and grateful enough to be contacted.”

Castiglione went after him. Know another guy Castiglione went after? Lon Kruger. 

What’s interesting about that? Well, Hughes has very little in common with Kruger, but he has a fair amount in common with the guy Kruger replaced, Jeff Capel.

Capel was a young coach on the move, from Virginia Commonwealth, who’d made his name by making noise in the NCAA tournament. He was the shot OU took when it went looking for the nation’s next great college basketball coach.

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