Posted by: John Moss, Tulsa's Channel 8 Sports - email
Proven winner, master motivator, tireless recruiter and charismatic leader – it was those qualities that led the University of Oklahoma to name Pete Hughes as the ninth head baseball coach in program history. Joe Castiglione, vice president and director of athletics, made the announcement on Thursday.
Twice named both the New England Coach of the Year and the BIG EAST Coach of the Year, as well as the 2000 American Baseball Coaches Association Northeast Region Coach of the Year, Hughes owns a well-deserved reputation for setting new standards of excellence at every stop during his 17-year coaching career.
Hughes recorded five straight 30-win seasons at Virginia Tech, including a pair of 40-win campaigns that culminated with NCAA Tournament berths in 2010 and 2013. He inherited a club that hadn’t reached the NCAA Tournament since 2000 and went on to compile a 222-174 (.561) record in seven seasons with the Hokies from 2007-13.
“Pete Hughes is an ideal choice as our new baseball coach,” said University of Oklahoma president David L. Boren. “He is not only a talented coach, above all, he shares the best values of our university family. He will be a player-oriented coach. We enthusiastically welcome him to OU.”
Hughes staged an even more dramatic turnaround at Boston College, taking over a program that had averaged a meager 13 wins per year over the previous 35 seasons. The Golden Eagles finished 17-23-1 the year before his arrival in 1998. Two years later, the club registered an 18-game improvement under Hughes’ leadership, finishing 35-20 and making the club’s second-ever appearance in the BIG EAST Tournament. In 2005, he guided Boston College to a school-record 37 victories.
“As we conducted our research, we kept finding more and more reasons why Pete Hughes would be an excellent fit to lead the OU Baseball program,” said Castiglione. “First and foremost, Pete brings a winning pedigree as a head coach with NCAA postseason experience. His proven track record as an accomplished national recruiter was also a prerequisite for OU Baseball.
“Pete is highly respected in the baseball community with good reason. We are confident that his energetic attitude and competitive spirit will resonate with our student-athletes, our community and Sooner fans across the nation. Pete has embraced the lofty expectations associated with OU Baseball and appreciates the distinguished tradition that has been established over many generations. We are excited and privileged to welcome Pete, Debby and their five children to the University of Oklahoma family.”
In 17 seasons as a head coach, Hughes owns a career record of 524-385-2 (.576), including his stints at Boston College (1999-2006) and Trinity University (1997-98).
“On behalf of Debby and our children, we are incredibly thrilled to embrace this tremendous opportunity at the University of Oklahoma,” said Hughes. “We appreciate the trust and confidence that President Boren and Joe Castiglione have placed in me. There are only a handful of institutions and athletics programs around the nation that I would consider marquee destinations, and the University of Oklahoma easily ranks among the very best jobs in collegiate baseball.
“The combination of respected leadership, a distinguished tradition of academic and athletic excellence, passionate fans and first-class facilities are a rare combination. I’m invigorated by the challenge of getting the Sooners back to the College World Series and can’t wait to get on the field with our student-athletes. I am also enthused to get back to a region where I began my head coaching career and have enjoyed recruiting throughout the years.”
Hughes guided the Hokies to a 40-22 campaign in 2013 and earned the right to host the program’s first NCAA Regional after reaching the ACC Championship Game against the NCAA’s eventual No. 1 overall seed North Carolina. Coincidentally, Virginia Tech would lose to Oklahoma in the final of the Blacksburg Regional. In 2010, Virginia Tech advanced to the Columbia Regional final before falling to eventual national champion South Carolina.
Prior to arriving in Blacksburg, Hughes served eight seasons as head coach at Boston College, where he registered a 250-156-2 (.615) record. He was twice named the BIG EAST Coach of the Year (2000, 2002), the New England Coach of the Year (2000, 2005) and was recognized once as the ABCA Northeast Region Coach of the Year (2000).
Owning recruiting roots in Big 12 Conference territory, Hughes’ initial head coaching opportunity was a two-year stint at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, where he compiled a 52-30 (.634) record.
Student-athletes under Hughes have gone on to great success in professional baseball. In his two stops at NCAA Division I schools, Hughes has seen 38 players taken in the MLB First Year Player Draft. Throughout his 17 seasons, a total of 67 players coached or recruited have been drafted or signed professional contracts. Hughes has coached four All-Americans and one first-round pick in Chris Lambert (2004) at Boston College, who debuted with the Detroit Tigers in 2008.
Early in his career, Hughes held coaching positions in both baseball and football. He was an assistant for both sports at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., for the 1990-91 academic year before moving on to Northeastern University, where he held the same positions from 1991-96.
The Brockton, Mass., native, graduated from Davidson College in 1990 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and anthropology. At Davidson, he was a four-year letterman and third baseman for the baseball team, while serving as the team captain in his senior season. On the gridiron, Hughes was a four-year starter at quarterback for the Wildcats’ football team.
Hughes and his wife Debby have five children: sons Thomas (15), Hal (13), Dominic (11) and PJ (7), and a daughter Grace (9). Hughes’ hiring is subject to the approval of the OU Board of Regents.
The University of Oklahoma owns a distinguished baseball tradition dating back to 1898. The Sooners registered national championships in 1951 and 1994 and have made 10 College World Series appearances, most recently reaching Omaha in 2010. Oklahoma has advanced to the NCAA Super Regional in three of the past four seasons.
Hughes’ Year-by-Year Head Coaching Record
Year Team Record
1997 Trinity University 19-19
1998 Trinity University 33-11
1999 Boston College 26-21-1
2000 Boston College 35-20
2001 Boston College 29-22
2002 Boston College 30-25
2003 Boston College 33-21
2004 Boston College 32-27
2005 Boston College 37-20
2006 Boston College 28-25-1
2007 Virginia Tech 23-31
2008 Virginia Tech 23-32
2009 Virginia Tech 32-21
2010 Virginia Tech 40-22
2011 Virginia Tech 30-25
2012 Virginia Tech 34-21
2013 Virginia Tech 40-22
Overall 524-385-2 (.576)
NCAA Postseason 4-4 (.500)
What They’re Saying About Pete Hughes:
“Joe Castiglione has done it again. Pete Hughes is a “Grand Slam” of a hire for the University of Oklahoma. In my opinion, Pete Hughes was the best kept secret in all of college baseball. He transformed two different programs (Boston College and Virginia Tech) into big winners at the Division 1 level and he did it the right way every step of the way. I coached against Pete’s teams at Boston College while I was at Notre Dame and every time you stepped on the field against them you knew you were in for a fight. He gets his players to play harder than anyone. They always play with confidence, enthusiasm, and toughness. He also is a tremendous family man and will be a real asset to the community of Norman. There isn’t a coach in the country I have more respect for than Pete Hughes.”
Paul Mainieri, LSU Head Baseball Coach
“Oklahoma just hired a great coach, family man and competitor. Pete Hughes left Brockton, Mass. a long time ago, but the “City of Champions” hasn’t left him. He will fight to Omaha from Norman. There is no doubt in my mind.”
Jim Penders, Connecticut Head Baseball Coach
“Pete Hughes is an outstanding coach and an even better person. He did a phenomenal job in elevating the programs at Boston College and Virginia Tech. I look forward to seeing what he can do at a program with the history, tradition and resources of Oklahoma. I am confident the Sooners will contend for National Championships with Pete at the helm. Congratulations to Joe Castiglione on another inspired coaching hire.”
Sean McDonough, ESPN Broadcaster
“The University of Oklahoma has made an excellent choice with the selection of Pete Hughes as their head baseball coach. Pete is a proven winner at every level and I'm confident that will continue at Oklahoma. He is truly committed to helping his players reach their potential on and off the field. He and the Hughes family will have a dramatic impact not only on the Sooner baseball program but the Norman community as well.”
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