After her Oklahoma Sooners brought home the program’s fourth national championship — and the school’s fourth national title this spring — softball coach Patty Gasso was overcome with tears.
As she embraced her assistant coaches during the player celebration following OU’s 5-4 victory over Florida in the championship series, Gasso paused, bent over, covered her face and sobbed. She also cried while hugging her son, OU assistant J.T. Gasso.
“I lost my dad in February,” an emotional Gasso told ESPN’s Holly Rowe in a tearful postgame interview. “I just tried to stay close to the team. We went through struggles. I went through struggles. To be here right now is an unbelievable blessing.
“And he would be here. It was hard. I held it in. I love these guys. They fought hard for me, for our program. I can not believe that we’ve done this.”
The Sooners, 61-9 overall and undefeated in the College World Series — including Monday’s epic 17-inning victory over the top-ranked Gators at Oklahoma City’s Hall of Fame Stadium — won their 11th consecutive game, 17 of their last 18 and 38 of their last 40. They got hot after starting the season 23-7.
“They (have a) very powerful belief in each other,” Gasso said. “You could feel it. You could see it. They felt like they wasted the first part of the season. They wanted to make up for lost time.
“I’m telling you, that we’re standing here right now is just unbelievable. So, quite a blessing that they used their platform correctly and they believe in each other. It’s a phenomenal group — one I’ll never forget.”
Columnist John E. Hoover is co-host of “Further Review with Hoover & Rew” and can be heard every weekday on The Franchise in Tulsa from noon to 3 p.m. with co-host Lauren Rew. In Oklahoma City, catch him Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings at 10:25 and every Friday afternoon at 4:05. Listen at fm107.7 in OKC, fm107.9/am1270 in Tulsa, on The Franchise app, or click the “Listen” tab on The Franchise home page. Visit his personal page at johnehoover.com.