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Sunny Golloway Means Business – Tigers headed to Omaha in first season

By on February 26th, 2014 in Baseball 17 Comments »

This guy means business. (photo: Julie Bennett,

New Auburn Baseball Coach Sunny Golloway went out on a limb after being hired to take over the Tiger program. He boldly declared Auburn would not only have a good season in his first year but would play for a national championship in Omaha. 

Yet before Tuesday’s win over Alabama A&M, his team was sitting at 3-4 including an embarrassing 9-3 loss to Alabama State a week ago. Auburn went 1-3 for the week, defeating Arkansas-Pine Bluff but loosing to Ala. State, California and East Tennessee State. Adding insult to injury, the Tigers only have six extra base hits through eight games with a team batting average of .208. The early season slide prompted some unusual steps from the first year skipper. 

As Golloway sees it some of his veteran players have not been happy with his decission to play six freshman ahead of 19 upper classmen. So in a move rarely if ever seen by coaches during the season… he talked with eight of those players Sunday, announcing afterwards that three of them – Senior outfielder Hunter Kelley, senior first baseman Patrick Savage, and junior pitcher Chase Williamson would no longer be on the team.

Kelley, who started 30 games last year, told the Anniston Star that he was devastated. He said the coach just told him he needed to quit the team.”I told him, I totally disagree with what you’re saying. I’ve had a good attitude all year. I’ve busted my ass all fall to be part of this team, to help this team.” When Kelley refused to quit as his teammates had, he was dismissed. Golloway says his actions were necessary to turn the Auburn program around.

He later hinted the three may not be the last veterans to see the door. He said he wants players that pull for whoever is in the line up and not just for them selves. “That’s why we’ve minimized our roster and why we will continue to minimize our roster until our attitude and effort are there. If the attitude and effort aren’t there, you aren’t going to be here.”

Tough words and even tougher actions from a first year coach but Golloway insist it’s what it will take to build a championship contending program. He said he can’t build that contender until all of his players are on the same page. 

The Tigers were definitely on the same page last night as Auburn improved to 4-4 after their 7-3 drubbing of Alabama A&M. The Coach said he could see a difference in his team already. “Several of the guys realized `I want to be here. I want to do whatever it takes and I want to win.’”

Will this action pay dividends for the end of the season? Will it help or hurt team chemistry? I don’t know but one things for certain, his players have no doubt this morning that Golloway means business. And despite the rough start to the season, he says he still  means it when he says, “We are going to Omaha this year. There is no doubt in my mind.”


  1. uglyjoe says:

    Not sure where all of this will end up, but it sure has been exciting to watch. Good luck to Sunny.

  2. zotus zotus says:

    Sometimes the new broom, indeed, sweeps clean.

    Would be hard for his team to misinterpret his words when Coach Golloway says, ” … If the attitude and effort aren’t there, you aren’t going to be here.”

    Would be harder for his team to ignore his message when Coach Golloway shows 3 senior players the door one week into the season.

    If Coach Golloway’s Tigers do make it all the way to Omaha this year, they won’t be the first bunch of young men, on the plains of late, to turn last year’s L’s into this year’s W’s by enduring an involuntary group transplant of Auburn attitude & Auburn effort.

    Godspeed Coach Golloway.

  3. Tigerstripe Tigerstripe says:

    This is poor form from a D1 coach…I hope there’s more to the story than what I read in the article. If you have to send your message by ridding a hard working SENIOR who is almost finished with his college career, then you’re not speaking the right language, IMHO. I’m sure the team got the message when the others left on their own volition. He will probably get results but at what cost? Poor form…

  4. War Eagle Girl War Eagle Girl says:

    I’m on board. No one questioned Malzhan when he let an important Senior go. Maybe this could have been done before the season but didn’t really manifest itself until the season started. All the right words were said ( aka Ernie) but actions didn’t line up.

    From the Anniston article ~ I get that someone questioned someone’s effort and they didn’t agree even though they weren’t in charge and questioned the person in authority (your boss). So your choice is ~ either get on board and try to correct YOURSELF or leave and whine about it to get sympathy. Feel sorry for the player (who is not a kid at this point) but it is a hard life lesson. Since he wants to coach then he can field a team the way he sees fit when it is his turn. It’s tough being a parent (coach) ~ you are not their friend. My son has been known to question authority and he has paid the price. I didn’t always agree with the punishment that the coach applied but I was not in charge. Either finish what you started or quit and we didn’t allow quit in our house. I know that’s not PC but I’m an old person. Amazing that my son gets hired now for his work ethic and attitude….see how that works?

    Golloway was hired to win and move the program forward. After a decent amount of time ( not 7 games) if he has not accomplished what he set out to do, he will be removed from the position. That’s how it works in the working world.

    • Tigerstripe Tigerstripe says:

      No one questioned Malzahn because we had a working relationship with him as an OC and we knew what we were getting as a coach: a man who has high standards and conveys those expectations to young men in order to win but also cares about what kind of men they will become – Auburn men…and any athletes that Malzahn dismissed actually broke written rules.

      Again, I’m going to give Galloway the benefit of the doubt because he’s new and I’m going to assume that there is more to the story. Actually, I’m just commenting on things whilst waiting on Spring football and admittedly do not follow our baseball program closely…

      That being said, collegiate athletics is not the real world. Yes, these men get a free ride which has monetary value but they do not receive a pay check to which they have any control over. They are fodder for our entertainment and cogs for coaches salaries. Two of the team members bailed when given the option but this kid (again – a SENIOR) wanted to stay. If these two never spoke, then where’s the negative feedback from the coach to develop this athlete??? Do this in the real world and you have legal issues on your hand.

      If you don’t like the kid, fine, he’s a senior. Let him sit, he won’t be your problem for much longer. But to release him without breaking any rules and without any feedback or chance to work his way out of the dog house that he didn’t even know he was in??? If that’s the way you want to lead, fine. I just think you get more out of athletes by setting the bar high and communicating expectations (like Malzahn) rather than fear mongering.

      I bet the locker room environment has changed…

      • GreenvilleAUfan GreenvilleAUfan says:

        I do follow baseball and I have to agree with you. There’s other ways to make a point besides asking someone to quit, especially if no warnings were issued before the dismissal as Hunter claims. That doesn’t teach them any life lessons and probably leaves a deep emotional scar. I can’t see Malzahn ever doing that. However, I’m still pulling for Golloway’s success and hope there will be no need for more dismissals.

      • Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

        I don’t know anymore about the situation than you do. But if you have someone with a poor attitude just sitting there, that’s still a person who’s on the roster who can influence the younger guys….and if that guy is just sitting there, because he hasn’t bought into the new coach’s philosophy, then that’s a senior disgruntled guy who remembers the ‘good ole days’ and still talks to the young players……Galloway wasn’t hired to be a shiny happy sunshine pumper. He was hired to get results. My best guess is that he made a decision that he felt would benefit the team…the team above a single player.

        • Tigerstripe Tigerstripe says:

          Well, we all want the same thing – successful programs. I guess sometimes we will differ on how to get there… I just think the Malzahn method is better than the Saban method…

      • Im4Auburn says:

        I agree the “locker room environment has changed.” But is it a place where players love each other and got each other’s back. I don’t know. I got to say I’m disappointed in Golloway. I know its his job that is on the line and he has to do what he can to motivate the team and fear is a powerful motivating force.

        I don’t mean this to be negative but I’m not sure I would want my son playing for someone who rules with fear. I don’t think many people would want to work for someone who manages their employees that way either.

  5. GreenvilleAUfan GreenvilleAUfan says:

    Growing pains??

    Its sad to see senior players dismissed from the team but got to believe Golloway knows what he’s doing. His Sooner teams won an average of 40 wins a season the past few years and he has taken14 teams to the NCAA Tournament. He promised that Auburn would win quickly and I guess that can’t be done without some growing pains. Too bad young guys have to be hurt this way to get it done. IMHO it would have been better to prune the roster during camp or fall ball.

    • tigereye says:

      more than meets the eye here…… you’ve got a senior , Patrick Savage,, well respected by teammates (a lot of crying in the locker-room when he announced he was leaving) , honor student and the community service leader on team. …he had an agreement with all the coaches that he was leaving under his own will to focus on finishing grad school and being with his new daughter, he had the understanding with them that he was leaving under good terms and wanted to be a good auburn baseball alumni. , … then for the coach to come out the next day and belittle him with the label of “bad attitude” is revolting.

  6. NCTiger NCTiger says:

    Man, I can’t agree with that. Bench ’em but don’t throw ’em off the team. My son is a freshman on a Southern conference team and I can tell you that that would wreck him if he was at the end of his college baseball. I mean get rid of a freshman or sophomore, maybe, so he could have a chance somewhere else but a senior? Come on, man… He wasn’t even starting this year! He had only had two at bats! This kid is the problem?!?

  7. TigerWoman TigerWoman says:

    Something doesn’t add up. Coach Golloway labels them as bad apples and the school’s official website has an article about what an outstanding and caring person Patrick Savage has been while in school. It doesn’t sound like he’s the type player that would have a selfish attitude. Here is the link:

  8. Tiger95 says:

    Something about all of this has a stench to it. If the Star article is correct and if what has been said about Patrick Savage is correct, somebody needs to put a copy of the Auburn Creed in Coach Golloway’s hands to be sure he understands what it means to be an Auburn Man. Right off the bat, I can tell you the man talks to much for me and he handles entirely too much of the team’s business in the public. I expect a certain amount of professionalism from a man in his position and you never as a coach throw your players under the bus no matter how badly they may play to cover your own behind. I know the season is young, but Coach Golloway gets a big old “F” from me right now.

  9. WarEagleEngr says:

    I remember reading a Q&A with an OU blogger just after Golloway’s hire, and that blogger emphasized (several times) that Golloway was NOT a player’s coach, that he would trample his players to get wins.

    And he did get wins.

    Not sure if it’s all good or bad at this point. I wonder, have we hired the Nick Saban of baseball?

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