Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

June 16, 2013

Golloway explains why he left OU for Auburn

NORMAN — In real terms, Sunny Golloway’s decision to leave Oklahoma for Auburn took four days. That was the amount of time that lapsed from his initial contact with the school to the announcement he was leaving the Sooner dugout Friday evening.

What started as an exploration quickly turned into a different job.

“My intentions into looking into the job were to see if it was one we desired,” Golloway told the Transcript late Saturday afternoon. “We found out it is.”

The Sooners went 346-181-1 in eight-plus seasons under Golloway including 116-97-1 in the Big 12. The trip to the College World Series in 2010, coupled with four berths in the NCAA tournament Super Regional series and this season’s Big 12 tournament title made it a successful run.

So, why leave OU?

There were issues Golloway saw that gave him a reason to end it. Golloway’s contract at OU was set to expire after two more seasons. Golloway said he did not receive a counter offer from OU athletic director Joe Castiglione when they discussed the situation Friday morning.

“Joe was really good about understanding it,” Golloway said. “He thanked me for my time and I feel has been first class and gracious about wishing me the best.”

There were issues that money couldn’t solve, too. Auburn has played in the NCAA tournament just once since 2005. Yet, it still averages around 2,500 fans a game.

OU, for all its baseball success, hasn’t averaged more than 1,900 fans a game since 1999. This past season was the 11th straight year the Sooners have finished outside the top 40 in college baseball attendance.

“It clearly is part of the equation,” Golloway said. “You clearly have a better home-field advantage with more people in the stands.”

Golloway said the fans who routinely attended games at L. Dale Mitchell Park were great, but the inability for OU baseball games to register as must-see events was discouraging.

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