After more than 1,000 victories at the high school level, Robert Wakefield thought it was time for another challenge. The longtime Moore softball coach is taking over the softball program at Mid-American Christian University.
"I have been at Moore for 13 years and just thought it was time to move on and the Mid-American job came open," Wakefield said. "I had an interview and was offered the job and decided to take the job. I have kept my ears and eyes on something really closer to home during the spring."
Wakefield is replacing Jerald Lewis, who stepped down May 31 after guiding the program for six years. Lewis went 9-32, and 1-25 in the Sooner Athletic Conference, in his final season.
Wakefield brings winning history Mid-American has never enjoyed.
"Coach Wakefield brings years of successful coaching experiences to our softball program," MACU Athletic Director Willie Holley said. "His accomplishments speak for themselves, as he is a High School Hall of Famer in both slow pitch and fast pitch and has received numerous Coach of the Year awards. All of that coupled with spiritual leadership spells success for our softball program."
Wakefield has lived his adult life on the diamond. Prior to arriving in Moore, he coached the Plainview baseball program for 19 seasons and the Plainview fast-pitch program for 14 seasons.
All told, he’s won more than 1,100 victories as both a softball and baseball coach. He owns a 465-186 fast-pitch career win-loss record.
Leading the Lady Evangels will be a different challenge.
"The recruiting will be the big difference," Wakefield said. "Playing NAIA softball in the Sooner Athletic Conference will be very difficult. With being a coach so long in Oklahoma, I will know most of the coaches and, hopefully … they will recommend good players for me."
Wakefield's former players were not surprised by his decision. Chelsea Garcia was a member of Wakefield's last state title winning team and is now the starting shortstop at Oklahoma State.
"I feel like he will be able to do the same things and more," Garcia said. "There are parents in high school you have to deal with. Not so much at the collegiate level. It's a great opportunity for him."
Wakefield's decision to move on comes a year after the Moore district forced all softball coaches to choose between coaching fast pitch and slow pitch. It was not a policy that he was happy with at the time.
In his final season for Moore, Wakefield guided the Lions to a 31-8 record before falling in the first round of the slow pitch state tournament to Union.
"It was a very tough decision to leave Moore coaches and players," Wakefield said. "I went home and talked to my wife and prayed about it for a few days before I decided to make the move."