DURANT — After 37 years at the helm of the Southeastern Oklahoma State baseball program, which included a national championship and becoming the all-time leader in NCAA Division II victories, head coach Mike Metheny has announced his retirement.
“Southeastern has been a major part of my life. And has meant so very much to me and my family. We have made memories we will forever cherish,” Matheny said. “Words cannot possibly begin to express my appreciation to Southeastern, for allowing me to be associated with this university and its baseball program for 47 years. My Heavenly Father, past players, past presidents, Doc [Don Parham], and [Keith Baxter] have given me the opportunity to coach one of the top baseball programs in America. How could life be any more enjoyable for my family and me?”
He finishes his storied career with 1,324 career victories against 679 losses and three ties to push his career winning percentage to .660, averaging just over 35 wins per season.
SE collected a 9-1 win over Harding in the series opener on March 31 and that victory secured Metheny the NCAA Division II record-setting 1,315th win.
Metheny ranks among the top 20 on the all-time baseball wins list regardless of division, climbing to 19th — just behind Larry Cochell, who has 1,331 after finishing his career in 2005 as the head coach at Oklahoma.
If that list is narrowed to coaches how have picked up all of their victories at one school, Metheny ranks eighth behind Rod Dedeaux, who spent 44 seasons at Southern California.
“It has been my pleasure to be associated with our Southeastern family,” Metheny said. “The closeness and camaraderie of our athletic department has been top notch through the years and I could not have asked for a better working relationship with my peers. My family and I will be forever grateful and continue to be strong supporters of Southeastern.”
His connection with Southeastern has spanned more than 40 years from his beginnings as a player, through being a graduate assistant, an assistant coach and ultimately taking over as the head coach for the 1981 season.
“First and foremost, I want to thank Coach Metheny for his dedication, service, and loyalty to Southeastern over these many years. He has earned his place in history as one of the great college baseball coaches in America,” Southeastern president Sean Burrage said. “Many people aspire to reach the top of their profession but few actually achieve this goal. Coach Metheny is an exception, winning a national championship and winning more games than any other coach in the history of Division II college baseball.”
Metheny guided the program through its successful transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II, and in just the second season at the D-II level he led his squad to the NCAA Division II World Series in Montgomery, Ala., and on June 3, 2000, Southeastern earned its first national championship.
That title earned him the 2000 National Coach of the Year honor at the American Baseball Coaches Convention.
While a member of the NAIA, his teams made seven trips to the NAIA World Series and earned three runner-up finishes.
His teams have claimed 15 conference championships and he has earned conference coach of the year honors nine times and regional coach of the year seven times.
He has coached 54 players who have signed professional contracts and has guided 35 players to a total of 42 All-American honors.
Among those are a pair of National Player of the Year honorees in Alan Cartwright in 1982 and Cary Ammons in 1997.
“I want to thank Mike for his outstanding service and leadership to the university and Southeastern Baseball program. It’s hard to comprehend and even harder to put into words career that has spanned over four decades,” Director of Athletics Keith Baxter said. “You can’t discuss SE baseball without coach Metheny being including in the conversation. He and his family have been Southeastern baseball for such a long time creating great memories that will be with the program forever.”
In January of 1999, he was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame while at the American Baseball Coaches Convention in Atlanta, Ga.
He was inducted into the Southeastern Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010.
Metheny plans on remaining in the area with his wife Pat, daughter Mishael and granddaughter Raini.
A national search for a new head baseball coach will begin immediately.
“For years his teams set the standard that all others strived to achieve.” Baxter said. “The legend may have coached his last game but he has forever made his mark.”