Losing Sunny Golloway is a big loss for the Oklahoma Sooners baseball team. The fact that he was so successful from the start proves how great of a coach he is. It is easy to rank Golloway up with Bob Stoops, Sherri Coale and Kelvin Sampson as coaches who came to OU and were successful from the start. For Golloway, he was taking over a program that was already successful while keeping it strong. However, OU is a football college, and that is part of the reason that the OU baseball team is losing such a good coach.
When Kelvin Sampson left so many years ago, it was because he knew that basketball always played second fiddle to the football program. It was the same reason that Billy Tubbs left before him. Sooners fans are faithful, but if it isn’t football, they really are not a great home field advantage in any sport.
With baseball, it is worse. The OU baseball program is not second fiddle to the football program. They are the fifth fiddle, behind football, basketball, women’s basketball, and even softball. Where the football team can sell out over 80,000 tickets a game, the baseball team averages under 2,000 a game.
Sunny Golloway was talking about his reasons for leaving the OU baseball program with the Norman Transcript, and that weighed into his decision. Here are some reasons given by Golloway for leaving for Auburn.
OU baseball has been to the Super Regional’s four times, and the College World Series once. However, the Sooners averaged only 1,900 in attendance since 1999. Auburn has only been in the NCAA tournament once since 2005, but they average 2,500 fans a game.
“I think the lack of a regular-season title has a lot to do with our attendance and our teams going to Texas and playing in front of 8,000 fans and Texas coming here and playing in front of less than 2,000,” Golloway said. “It’s been tough on the University of Oklahoma’s baseball program to not have the support of larger crowds.”
A lot of people are going to point blame at money for the move. People will look at the fact that Auburn will pay Golloway $650,000 a year and OU chose not to make a counter-offer to keep the coach. However, this is not about money. This is about Norman, Oklahoma, and how the Oklahoma Sooners fan base wants all their sports teams to do well, but are not willing to come out to support anything but the football program.
The OU baseball team is losing Sunny Golloway for the same reason they lost Billy Tubbs and Kelvin Sampson. This is a football town, and fans just take the other sports for granted.