RUSSELL RALEY RETURNS TO OU AS VOLUNTEER COACH

Monday, 01 August 2022 18:32

RUSSELL RALEY RETURNS TO OU AS VOLUNTEER COACH

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NORMAN – University of Oklahoma head baseball coach Skip Johnson announced Monday that former OU player and assistant Russell Raley is returning to the Sooners as volunteer assistant coach.
 
Raley, a player at OU from 2003-06 and an assistant coach with the Sooners from 2008-11, spent the last five years at UTRGV, including the last four as associate head coach. He also coached at Little Rock, Incarnate Word and Texas Tech after his initial stint at OU. In his coaching career, Raley has tutored a total of 24 student-athletes that were selected in the MLB Draft, including 13 infielders.
 
Raley will work with the infielders and assist with the offense at Oklahoma.
 
"We are excited to bring Russell back home to Oklahoma," Johnson said. "He is another coach with Omaha experience and has an impressive track record of player development, infield defense and offensive success. As a player and assistant coach, Russell was a part of some really good OU teams, including the 2010 team that went to the College World Series. We look forward to him being a part of our staff as we continue to build and sustain this program."
 
As a player at Oklahoma, Raley was a member of three NCAA tournament teams, including the 2006 squad that won the Norman Regional and reached the Super Regional. As an assistant coach, he helped the Sooners compete in the postseason all four years, host two regionals and play in the 2010 College World Series.
 
During Raley's time at UTRGV, the Vaqueros posted a winning record in four seasons and fielded at .970 or better three times. He took over coordinating the offense prior to the 2019 season and oversaw an immediate 41-point increase in on-base percentage and a 27-point increase in team batting average from the previous year. UTRGV also increased its scoring output by 91 runs (243 in 2018 to 334 in 2019) and 1.6 runs per game (4.5 rpg in '18 to 6.1 in '19).
 
The Vaqueros maintained the offensive pace, averaging more than 6.0 runs per game and an OBP of .380 or higher for the 2020, '21 and '22 seasons, while posting a .284 team batting average in 2021 and .290 team average in 2022. Raley oversaw two of the top six home run seasons in program history (63 in '22 [third] and 50 in '21 [sixth]), two of the top five doubles totals (107 in '21 [fourth] and 101 in '22 [fifth]) and two of the top six fielding percentage marks (.972 in '18 [second] and .971 in '19 [sixth]) in program history.
 
Raley helped lead Little Rock to its best season as a member of the Sun Belt Conference in 2016, notching a program-record 17 SBC victories and a third-place finish. The Trojans led the league in team batting average (.302), OBP (.386) and slugging (.428) while posting a program-record .975 fielding percentage that season. In 2017, Little Rock led the SBC with 109 doubles and reached the conference tournament for the second straight season, a feat not accomplished over the previous 17 years.
 
In his season at Incarnate Word in 2014, Raley worked with infielders and assisted with outfielders and hitters, helping the Cardinals set a program record for fielding percentage (.974). He served as hitting and first base coach at Texas Tech in 2013 while also working with infielders and outfielders. That year, the Red Raiders turned a program record 68 double plays and fielded at a .974 clip.
 
From 2008-11, Raley helped guide Oklahoma to three NCAA Regional appearances, including a top-8 national seed in 2009, and the 2010 College World Series. The Sooners compiled 170 wins (average of 42.5 wins per season) and finished among the top three in the Big 12 over his four-year stint as an assistant coach. OU batted .307 or better in all four seasons and led the Big 12 in 14 offensive statistical categories, including batting average (2011), doubles (2008-09) and both hits and home runs in back-to-back years (2009-10). Oklahoma led the Big 12 in runs scored during each of Raley's final three seasons on staff.
 
An All-Big 12 infielder at OU, Raley appeared in 208 games and compiled 237 hits in 754 at bats (.314 career average), along with 143 runs scored, 103 RBIs, 27 doubles and 75 walks. He still ranks among OU's career leaders in games played (T-10th), at bats (10th) and hits (12th). He earned first-team All-Big 12 honors in 2004 and second-team honors in 2005 and '06.
 
Raley was selected in the 21st round of the 2006 Major League Baseball Draft by the New York Yankees. He spent two years in the Yankees organization, playing at second base, third base and shortstop, batting .264 with nine doubles and 17 RBIs in 43 games at the Single-A and Double-A levels.
 
A Uvalde, Texas, product, Raley graduated from Oklahoma in 2007 with a degree in human relations. He and his wife Chelsey, also an OU alumnus, have one son and one daughter.

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