June 30, 2013
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN — New Auburn softball coach Clint Myers was in town to do the things you do when you get a new job. You know, paperwork, shaking hands, meeting the right people, talking with his new players, checking out the athletic facilities.
Oh, and he snuck in the ballpark one night.
"The gates were open, so I guess it's not sneaking," he said with a laugh.
Clint Myers, one of the most successful coaches around, wanted to look around, and, besides, he wasn't going to sneak up on anybody, not after a successful run as a junior college softball and baseball coach, and not after leading Arizona State to the softball College World Series seven times in the last eight years on the way to two national titles.
Heck, his work at Central Arizona College was similar. He went 481-43 from 1987-95 as the school's softball coach while winning six junior college national titles; and went 406-192 as the school's baseball coach on the way to two Junior College World Series appearances.
Part of the appeal of Auburn is coaching with his sons. At Central Arizona, Clint Myers was going to scale back.
He gave up his role as associate athletics director and division chair of his department at Central Arizona, he gave up his role an academic advisor and his spot on the school's senate, he was going to allow someone else do the physical training of police officers at 4:30 in the morning.
He was going to simply going to continue coaching baseball while doing a little fundraising and playing golf for the cause at Central Arizona and build on where he had gone 887-235 in both baseball and softball.
That plan lasted about six weeks before Arizona State, his alma mater, called.
"Hey, we'd like to have lunch with you," Myers remembered.
He met with Arizona State officials at a Cracker Barrel. His "retirement" was almost over. He would become Arizona State's softball coach, where he would become a frequent visitor to the College World Series. Eight years later, his career win total would be 1,314.
Auburn hired him away June 14 to turn its program. Arizona State wished him well on the move that day, and thought so highly of him it promised he'd be inducted into the Sun Devil Hall of Fame. It was Arizona State that hired Myers to coach Division I in the first place.
"They wanted to know if I'd be interested in coaching softball, but I hadn't coached softball in 10 years.
"'You know I haven't coached it.' 'Yeah, but would you be interested?' Coaching at Arizona State had always been a dream. I thought maybe baseball. I said I'd be glad to talk."
Myers listened and like it, enough to take a pay cut to become Arizona State's new softball coach.
"I always believed I could coach in Division I in baseball and softball," Myers said. "I was surprised when they hired me. The previous 10 years, I was a baseball guy. They said, 'We'll take a chance.'"
It wasn't such a big leap for Myers.
"The game is the same. The difference is the pitching," he said.
Myers explained his vision of softball to his Auburn players during the week.
"I thought the questions they asked were ones would give them the impressions of who I am," Myers said. "We teach concepts. We don't clone. We don't want people to lose their individuality. As long as the concept is the same, how you get to that concept is going to be a little different."
Myers will teach the game with his coaching sons, a draw that made Auburn an appealing job.
"We are going to be the best teachers we can possibly be, but for it to work, you have to buy in," Myers said. "We told the team we are highly organized. They won't be standing around. We have 'X' amount of hours to practice, and we're not wasting them. When we get good enough, we may not need 'X' amount because we can get I all done. Right now, we've got to teach.
"We're not going to inundated them with all kinds of new things. We're going to inundated them with all kinds of competition and buying in with some other things we talked about. They were intrigued.
The next step: Practice when the fall semester starts and thinking of the College World Series.
"We have some catching up to do," Myers said. "There will be eight-to-10 teams out of this conference that will make post-season, so when you're playing your conference series, in essence, what you're doing is rehearsing for your NCAA Super Regionals.
"If you win the two out of three, you go to Oklahoma City. Our goal every SEC weekend is to win two-out-of-three because we have to prepare ourselves for that Super Regional, because that Super Regional is the one that will propel you to the College World Series."
Charles Goldberg writes for AuburnSports.com. Follow him on Twitter Follow @AUGoldMine