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June 28, 2013

Hughes offers persona, attitude bound for success

NORMAN — It’s a strange thing.

Oklahoma hired a new baseball coach Thursday, and in its accompanying press release announcing Pete Hughes as Sunny Golloway’s successor was a page headed, “What They’re Saying About Pete Hughes.”

LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri, if you can believe it, said, “Joe Castiglione has done it again, Pete Hughes is a ‘Grand Slam’ of a hire for the University of Oklahoma.”

Connecticut baseball coach Jim Penders said, “Pete Hughes left Brockton, Mass., a long time ago, but the ‘City of Champions’ hasn’t left him.”

Broadcaster Sean McDonough said, “Pete Hughes is an outstanding coach and an even better person.”

Miami Dolphin coach Joe Philbin said, “Oklahoma has made an excellent choice.”

It’s all so unnecessary.

Does anybody really talk the way Mainieri would have us believe he talks? Who knew Brockton was the City of Champions?  McDonough calls a mean game, but is he a college baseball authority?

Once upon a time, Hughes and Philbin coached football together at Northeastern University. It’s an interesting connection, but how much baseball credibility does an NFL coach have?

Whatever.

The best thing Hughes has going for him is a track record of success and a persona that would have you believe he’s earned every bit of it.

He parlayed two seasons at Division III Trinity into the Boston College job, where, once there, he used to talk his way into Fenway Park at no charge just to watch batting practice before leaving.

He turned the Eagles into a winner before jumping to Virgina Tech where, after going 46-63 his first two seasons, he went 176-111 over his next five, his last game a loss to OU at the Blacksburg Regional.

“I know what some of you are thinking out there,” Hughes said upon taking the lectern Thursday. “If you can’t beat them, join them.”

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