The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

May 10, 2013

WVU challenge: Deal with success

Mountaineers face crucial series with TCU in Charleston

MORGANTOWN — Dealing with failure is one thing; dealing with success quite another.

West Virginia University, which plays a crucial three-game baseball series this weekend in Charleston against coach Randy Mazey’s former TCU team with first place at stake, has seen both sides of that story.

When the season started, the Mountaineers were picked last out of the nine-team Big 12, and it didn’t help that they were shut out in their first game, and after having lost two of three in their first conference series and being shut out by Marshall, they were 8-12.

That was the bottom, the time when they had to deal with their failure, follow the guidance the coaching staff had given them.

They split their next two games before running off an eight-game winning streak, which allowed them to believe in themselves enough that even a brief losing streak didn’t overwhelm them. They put things back together and rushed into contention in the conference, sweeping Kansas.

Pittsburgh was next, and Mazey remembers what transpired well.

“We had to flip from how to handle adversity to how to handle success. That’s a whole different ball game when you do that,” he said.

Suddenly, they were looking at being able to accomplish more than anyone had ever imagined, but the obstacles in the way were different from those they faced when they were operating in obscurity.

“You start winning, we talked to them then — I think it was before the Pitt game after we swept Kansas and put ourselves in position to do some things in this conference — we said, ‘All credit goes to you about the way you handled the adversity we talked about. You did a great job doing that. Now the trick is to handle the success you’re having,’” Mazey said.

That often can be harder than handling losing.

“I gave them four examples of programs around the country that as soon as they jumped into the top 25 or top 30 they immediately followed it up where they lost two out of three games to a bad team or that type of thing.”

What happens when a losing team becomes a winning team? What are the land mines?

Cockiness comes first, especially in this “me-first” day and age. But there is also dealing with new-found celebrity, of having people know who you are and what you do and telling you how great you are at doing it.

“If you start having success and start listening to everyone who tells you how great you are and saying you guys are wonderful ... if you get caught up in that, then that’s how you have a bad weekend and lose some games,” Mazey told his team.

“You have to continue to do what you did to put yourself in the position you are in, which is play the game from pitch to pitch without distractions and grinding out at bats and executing pitches,” he continued. “If you continue to do what you did on the way up, you have a chance to continue moving up or at least staying where you are. If you relax at all you won’t be able to do that.”

Sometimes, though, kids don’t listen. It’s nice to be a star and to be noticed on campus and to have people who ignored you before now pay attention.

You lose sight on your goals, so Mazey brought it all back into perspective with an eye-opening approach as to what he wanted.

“I told them about some other professions that if you look at you see based on those professions they can’t afford to take a day off. Imagine if a heart surgeon doesn’t give 100 percent at work or if a pilot doesn’t give his all one day. What’s the result of that?

“My main example is as a father. As a father, you don’t have the luxury to take a day off. You’re a father all the time. If you’re a winning baseball program or a championship team and put yourself in that position, you can’t take time off. Every day, every practice you have to try to get better. Every game you can’t give away an at bat; you can’t lose focus pitching to a No. 9 hitter.

“If you’ve proven to be a winner, that’s how you stay there.”

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
WVU Sports
  • Arrest warrant out for WVU recruit

    West Virginia University’s newest men’s basketball recruit, Tarik Phillip, has an order out for his arrest in North Carolina, according to a story in The Dominion-Post, which said three Gaston County Magistrate office spokespersons confirmed.

    April 20, 2014

  • WVU baseball powers past Oklahoma, 9-5

    The WVU baseball team tied a season high with 18 hits to defeat Oklahoma, 9-5, on Saturday afternoon at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
    The win gives the Mountaineers their second Big 12 series win of the season and improves the overall record to 19-16 and 4-7 in conference play. Oklahoma drops to 25-16 overall and 5-7 in Big 12 play.

    April 20, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules

    At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.

    April 18, 2014

  • Means, WVU baseball shut out Oklahoma

    Junior left-hander John Means of the WVU baseball team threw eight shutout innings and the Mountaineers had a five-run first inning en route to a 7-0 victory over Oklahoma on Thursday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
    The Mountaineers (18-15, 3-6 Big 12) broke a six-game Big 12 losing streak after being swept by TCU and Oklahoma State in back-to-back weekends. WVU had 16 hits and did not make an error for the second-straight game.

    April 18, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Dr. Graber disagrees with Gee’s stance on Turnbull firing

    Dr. Stephen Graber, an associate professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, is among the latest WVU teachers to deplore Oliver Luck’s firing of veteran wrestling coach Craig Turnbull.
    He raised some significant questions about that issue last Monday in a meeting of the WVU Faculty Senate.

    April 18, 2014

  • Huggins signs junior college guard

    Coach Bob Huggins completed his 2014-15 West Virginia University recruiting class on Wednesday and deemed it a success after receiving a signed letter of intent from junior college guard Tarik Phillip.
    Phillip joins Jevon Carter of Maywood, Ill., and Daxter Miles of Baltimore’s Dunbar High and out of Notre Dame Prep in Massachusetts in the 2014-15 recruiting class.

    April 17, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing

    The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.

    April 17, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Comparing pay of coaches and professors

    Stringing together some odds and ends which may be of interest to you:
    • A beautiful lady came up to my table last Sunday at brunch in the Village of Heritage Point’s main dining room with a message.

    April 17, 2014

  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

  • WVU’s Harlee named Big 12 Scholar-Athlete

    The Big 12 Conference announced its Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients for the 2014 winter sport season, and West Virginia University senior Jess Harlee earns the honor for women’s basketball.
    Harlee was selected as the award winner based on a vote of each respective sport’s head coaching group, with coaches not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.

    April 16, 2014

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos