The Richmond Times Dispatch reported earlier today that current Virginia Tech baseball head coach and former Boston College head coach Pete Hughes is set to be named the new head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners. The news comes on the heels of the Hokies elimination at the hands of the Sooners in the NCAA Tournament after hosting a Regional bracket for the first time ever.
Hughes went 222-144 in seven seasons in Blacksburg. Before that, he spent eight years in Chestnut Hill, where he cracked the 30-win barrier five times in compiling a 250-181-2 career record. The Birdballers also had winning conference records in the Big East every year except for two, one of which was his first year at Shea Field. Hughes' final season with the team was the squad's first in the ACC in 2006, but they still finished over .500 at 28-25-1 despite a 9-21 record in one of the nation's best leagues.
He departed BC for Virginia Tech, taking control of a program that hadn't produced a high-round draft pick since Joe Saunders went in the first round since 2002. Since 2007, about 30 Hokies have been selected, including 3rd round pick Austin Wates (Houston Astros, 2010), and 2nd round compensatory pick Chad Pinder (Oakland A's, 2013). He revived the Hokies program to a 40-win season this past year, including a top 25 ranking and wins over Virginia, Miami, Florida State, and Georgia Tech. Hosting a regional for the first time ever, they lost their opening game to UConn (shudder), yet rallied to make it to the Regional Finals against Oklahoma with wins over Coastal Carolina and the very Huskies team that beat them. The Sooners eliminated them in their first game, though, to advance to the Super Regionals.
The 2013 season was Virginia Tech's second berth in the national tournament under Hughes, who led the team to the 2010 tournament after a 40-win season. The team played in Columbia, South Carolina regional as the #2 seed and lost to the eventual national champion and regional host Gamecocks, also in the Regional Final. VT finished their stretch under Hughes with only two losing seasons, his first two, and 30 wins in each of the next five, including the two 40-win seasons.
Famously, a few days after the loss to the Sooners, Hughes suffered a heart attack. After suffering symptoms for roughly six hours, he drove himself to the hospital, and had a stent placed in his chest on June 6th.
He'll now take over a program with 35 national tournament appearances, including a string of six consecutive (including this year). Oklahoma is the current defending Big XII champions, with 10 qualifications in the College World Series tournament. He'll replace Sonny Golloway, who had a .637 winning percentage in five years. Coming off back-to-back appearances in the Super Regionals, he is leaving to take over the head coaching position at Auburn.
Congratulations to the man who once led the Eagles to competitive heights and into the ACC era! We wish you nothing but the best in the Big XII.