Hughes remembers some of the names and faces from OU’s meeting with Virginia Tech in the NCAA tournament’s Blacksburg regional. The Sooners’ 10-4 victory advanced OU to its third Super Regional in four years. It was Hughes’ last game in the Hokies’ dugout.
“One thing I took from Virginia Tech is those guys played hard. They got after it and they had a lot of fun,” OU outfielder Aikin said. “Guys were really cut loose and playing a game. It was a game and they were playing it.”
That is the style Hughes will bring to the Sooner dugout next spring. He knows he didn’t walk into the typical rebuilding situation, and wanted to make sure the players understood the situation.
“I said hello and gave them some quick reminders and a little pep talk. When we get them back to Norman I can’t wait to coach these guys. They’re a talented group,” Hughes said. “I did guarantee that it will be the most fun phase of their baseball career. With change, there’s a lot of worry.
“But also with change, there’s a lot of good that can come about, too. For me to take over a super regional team, you don’t change, you try to accentuate and maximize your philosophies on a very talented group. It was a good discussion.”