In 1993, Murray State head coach Johnny Reagan retired from coaching baseball with 776 career victories to lead the Ohio Valley Conference for 20 years. But on April 5, 2013 a new mark was set that fans in attendance at Raymond C. Hand Park will never forget.
Governors head coach Gary McClure broke the record held by Reagan on Friday night with a 7-3 win over Tennessee Tech, giving McClure his 777th victory of the twenty-six year career.
McClure began his coaching tenure in 1998, a year after being a graduate assistant at Austin Peay under then head coach Billy Merkel. Months later, the former assistant earned his first win as a head coach on February 27, defeating Trevecca 8-1.
Fast forward twenty-six years, McClure has earned five OVC Coach of the Year awards, seven regular-season OVC titles, five OVC tournament titles, and five NCAA tournament appearances.
Following the win over Tennessee Tech, fans on hand applauded McClure as his 2013 team congratulated him on the playing field. One of which was second baseman Jordan Hankins, who is now in his third season under McClure.
“We definitely congratulated him,” Hankins said after the game. “I’m very very happy for him.”
Starting pitcher Lee Ridenhour earned the win on the mound for the Govs, pitching eight innings with just one earned run and nine strikeouts, and says it is an honor to contribute in McClure getting the historic win.
“Being a part of it isn’t going to change. Every time I see that Coach McClure is the OVC winning-est coach, I’m going to remember I was a part of that,” Ridenhour said. “It was an overall team effort that got that win tonight, so it’s a great feeling.”
Looking forward, McClure will have many more chances to build upon the record he now holds. But along the way, he will remain thankful for the career he has had and what’s to hold in the future.
“I thank God for the opportunity to do what I love to do,” McClure said. “I love to compete, and I’ve been able to do it for a long time, so I’m very thankful for that.”
“These guys haven’t made me wait long. We had to win 25 games to make this happen, and we’ve only played 30, so they definitely got it done as quick as they could,” he added. “I’ve had all facets of people, places, and my family that have been be so supportive here. We’ve had great players and coaches, and that’s why we got it done.”