PULLMAN – Marty Lees is adamant that the reality of his current situation has set in, despite the whirlwind week he just went through.
The Oklahoma State baseball team on which he was assistant coach was eliminated from the regional it hosted on Sunday.
On Thursday, athletic director Bill Moos introduced him as the 15th head coach in Washington State baseball history.
“I did want to say this,” Moos said to a room of about 30 onlookers. “I got my guy.”
Washington State plucked Lees from a three-year stint as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Oklahoma State. Prior to that, he spent 11 seasons under Oregon State coach Pat Casey, which included winning back-to-back national championships in 2006-07.
Moos met with Lees on Monday and accepted the job two days later.
On Thursday, he set out his vision for a program that hasn’t won a conference championship since 1995.
He stuttered a bit when asked if he’s been able to digest the fact he’s now leading a Pac-12 program.
“Yes. … You visit with a lot of people and they say, ‘Jeez, it’s pretty quick, shouldn’t you wait a couple days?’ But it’s like I told my wife, we’ve been preparing for this for 15 years,” Lees said. “We’ve always believed, if it’s right here in your heart and you believe it, it just happens.
“We’re very fortunate and certain this is the right place for us.”
Lees didn’t mince words when talking about his expectations in Pullman.
“We can win a championship here, there’s no question,” Lees said. “The history here at Washington State is there.
“You look at Buck Bailey, and of course Bobo Brayton, and I had a chance to play against that team right at the end and I didn’t do so good when we played over in Lewiston.”
He’ll inherit a team that went 29-27 (11-19 Pac-12) in 2015 and hasn’t made a postseason appearance since 2010.
Former coach Donnie Marbut bemoaned Washington State’s lack of baseball facilities shortly before being dismissed. The Cougars have proposed a baseball clubhouse to be built adjacent to Bailey-Brayton field.
Facilities didn’t come up in initial conversations between Lees and Moos.
“There are things I’d like to see done, but it’s really secondary, right now, to what needs to happen,” Lees said. “ … I’m confident Bill and I will sit down and talk about the things that make sense.”
Much like successful coaches in numerous sports at Washington State, Lees’ focus is doing more with less.
He comes with a recruiting pedigree which could mitigate the concerns about facilities.
“When I think about facilities and I see the way recruiting is going, I think about parents investing in a school, I think about them investing in a coach,” Lees said. “Those things, to me, are the most important thing.
“Once you start talking about facilities, everything you have that’s nicer than somebody else’s is good, but for me the thing that’s got to be the long, hard thing you stand upon is what parents think of you as a person.”
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