'The Right Time': Sunny Golloway has High Expectations for Auburn Baseball

AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM Sunny Golloway
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM
Sunny Golloway
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

June 15, 2013

By Charles Goldberg
AuburnTigers.com

AUBURN — Sunny Golloway is changing uniforms, but not his goals as a college baseball coach. The man who has made 13 NCAA Tournaments in his last 14 full seasons as a head coach plans to make Auburn a national contender again as well. 

Auburn named Golloway its baseball coach Friday after his family took a tour of the campus. Golloway, who was coaching Oklahoma in an NCAA Super Regional last weekend, said he welcomed the challenge to putting Auburn back on the right path. 

"I'm a baseball coach and we always scout things before we get into them," he said. "I fully recognize there's only been the one NCAA appearance here in the last eight years. But I have an expectation to play in the NCAA Tournament and an expectation to being able to compete for championships. Nothing is going to change because I'm not at the University of Oklahoma with an "OU" on the hat. I'll have an "AU" now, but nothing changes. 

"The expectations are to get into the NCAA Tournament and the College World Series. The easiest road to Omaha is right through home, so we want to make Auburn a place where people don't want to come to compete against the Auburn Tigers. It should be a place where we feel very comfortable and our fans enjoy coming out and watching us play. That's an expectation I'm not shying away from. We're going to try to immediately get back to the NCAA Tournament and compete for a championship." 

Golloway replaces John Pawlowski, who was dismissed as Auburn's coach May 27. Golloway leaves Oklahoma after compiling a 346-181-1 record in eight-plus years. Throw in his eight years at Oral Roberts, Golloway has a career record of 681-337-1. 

Each of his last five teams at Oklahoma won at least 41 games and appeared in the NCAA Tournament, including the College World Series in 2010. 

"It's a tremendous day not only for Auburn baseball, but Auburn people and the past players," said former Auburn and major league player Joe Beckwith who helped advise Athletics Director Jay Jacobs during the interview process. "When we started this process I got phone calls from several players who said go out and get the best. Everybody we interviewed had great credentials and they could lead Auburn, but when Sunny became available you had to get excited because of his record as a head coach and for what he had done in the past and what he can do for Auburn baseball and to lead us to championships." 

Tim Hudson, the Atlanta Braves pitcher who was the SEC Player of the Year at Auburn in 1997, also was advisor during the process.

"Coach Golloway's teams play the game the way it's meant to be played — aggressively and with a lot of passion," Hudson said. "There is no doubt Auburn hired the right man to put our program back where it belongs." 

So why Auburn, why now for Sunny Golloway? 

"Timing in life is important, and it's the right time for me, it's the right time for my family and it's a great opportunity," he said. "A lot of time in life you wonder if an opportunity is going to come around again and I feel like the rich tradition of Auburn and what Coach Baird did here proves  Auburn can be a winner." 

Golloway, then an assistant, coached against Auburn and Hal Baird in the 1990s. 

"Being in the SEC is very appealing to anybody in the country. This is without question the best conference in America, and we're really looking forward to the challenge." 

Beckwith said Golloway presents a compelling case for Auburn. 

"Just to talk to him you can see he's a winner, and the current players ought to be excited to have an opportunity to play for him and develop," Beckwith said. "One of his biggest things is player development. I think the players who are coming back are going to be excited to have that opportunity to do great in the SEC and the NCAA."

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