West Virginia baseball head coach Randy Mazey made an immediate impact in his first season, leading the program to its first winning season in four years. Mazey changed the culture during the 2013 season as WVU moved into the Big 12 Conference. After finishing tied for No. 3 in the league, it was clear Mazey was the right man for the job.
When Athletic Director Oliver Luck offered Mazey the job, one of the selling points Luck had for Mazey was the University was going to try to build a new baseball facility. To Mazey, Luck’s idea to reenergize a baseball program was encouraging.
“I don’t want to have to say it was a necessity to have a better facility than we had, but it was a necessity to have a better facility than we had,” Mazey said.
Mazey, Luck and WVU President James P. Clements broke ground on WVU’s new athletic facility Thursday. The facility is a part of the University Town Centre’s phase three construction in Granville. For the West Virginia skipper, it was important to be a part of this.
“It’s kind of real now. It’s been, to this point, drawings and artist renderings,” Mazey said. “It’s easy to see when we bring somebody up here, the setting sells itself. This is going to be one of the prettiest settings in all of college baseball.”
West Virginia’s baseball facility, which is expected to be a state-of-the-art ballpark, will sit at the same level as and above some of the other Big 12 venues. This will give Mazey and his staff the ability to compete on a high level not only from game to game, but on the recruiting circuit, as well.
“With the move to the Big 12, we just couldn’t compete; we couldn’t recruit based on what we had from a fan standpoint. So hopefully this will really propel the interest in WVU baseball,” Mazey said.
The new stadium will open in time for the 2015 baseball season.
West Virginia will play three of four Big 12 Series this season, including one against Texas, at Hawley Field.
“We have all the talk in town about Big 12 baseball, yet no one has seen a Big 12 game here unless people have driven to Charleston,” Mazey said. “So I’m excited for the people of Morgantown to see us play here.”
And since WVU returns a number of key members from 2012’s squad in Jacob Rice, Ryan McBroom and 2013 Big 12 Pitcher of the Year Harrison Musgrave, Mazey has revved up the nonconference slate. This year, WVU will be tested during a spring break trip that includes games on the road at UC Riverside, Sacramento State, UNLV and Cal State Northridge.
Additionally, WVU will take on Virginia Tech in Princeton, W.Va., at Hunnicutt Field and make trips to both San Diego State and Houston.
The bottom line is – looking at the upgraded facility, season schedule and team talent – Mazey seems to be excited for just about everything.
“I just don’t think the excitement around WVU baseball has ever been as high as it is now, so we’ll try to keep that going as long as we can,” Mazey said.