Look, I would totally understand why losing to a rival in a national championship series would piss a coach off. That isn't why a Texas softball assistant coach was LIVID as the Oklahoma Sooners celebrated their national title, however.
If you were like me and watched the entirety of OU's 10-5 beatdown Thursday night to capture its sixth national championship, you were likely also perplexed at what transpired outside the Longhorns dugout as Sooners players went full dogpile.
Texas assistant coach Steve Singleton needed be held back by head coach Mike White. That led many softball fans wonder who he was mad at and for what reason. That anger wasn't directed at any Oklahoma players, coaches or personnel, though.
He Was Angry With an Umpire Over a Home Run Ball
Why was the Texas assistant softball coach fired up about at the end of the game? pic.twitter.com/3tP83SaQ7F
— rob lange (@roblange13) June 10, 2022
The context here is this: Oklahoma pulled away big time and the game was pretty much over by the time the seventh inning happened. However, Texas' Mia Scott hit a three-run home run with one out left in the game.
Tradition at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium is for the ushers to retrieve the home run ball and give it to a player's family in the stands. Oklahoma has gotten that treatment all WCWS (of course, they hit a lot of home runs), and Singleton just wanted to make sure Mia would get her home run ball.
According to Texas head coach Mike White, the umpire wasn't giving Singleton the time of day when he asked for the ball, which bounced back into play after leaving the yard. He even said the umpire rolled the ball toward the dugout "forcefully."
"Coach Singleton was just trying to get the home run ball back for Mia," White told reporters after the game. "The umpire wouldn't respond to him. Steve was saying, 'hey, can I have the ball back? The umpire barked back at him. After the game was over, he rolled the ball forcefully at Steve. That's what happened. Steve took exception to it. I don't know how much more I should say about it."
That led to Singleton being HEATED after the final out. White even had to restrain him.
I understand the anger, but the bottom line is you have to control yourself there. And shame on the umpire for being just as much a part of it. Because what that moment did is turn the conversation into "what's he so mad about?" rather than "good for Oklahoma winning it all." Softball fans across social media were all wondering the same thing.
What?s up with the Texas assistant coach? He was pissed at someone.
— OU Softball HR Tracker (@soonerprices) June 10, 2022
Who?s this Texas assistant coach wanting to fight?
— Jordan (@OklahomaBorn15) June 10, 2022
I took issue with it because this Oklahoma team was, in all honesty, one of the best teams of all time. That's not an exaggeration. They went 59-3 and led the country in just about every statistical category that matters. The best single-season winning percentage in NCAA history is the 1992 UCLA Bruins, who went 54-2 (.964). Oklahoma wasn't far off that mark at .952.
And the final moment of their terrific season might be remembered by some fans as the one where a Texas coach and an umpire got into it. It's unfortunate, and I wasn't even rooting for Oklahoma. Hopefully that's not the case. Jocelyn Alo and the rest of those sluggers deserve better.
Enjoy all things sports?
Don't miss a story! Sign up for daily stories delivered to your inbox.