Randy Mazey comfortable with decision to step down as WVU's baseball coach following 2024 season

Feb. 9—MORGANTOWN — This time next year, Randy Mazey said he may try his hand at being a sports reporter.

The WVU baseball head coach was kidding, of course, yet seemingly the sports world could be better if Mazey was able to bring as much to that profession as he has to the Mountaineers' baseball program.

With his 12th season at WVU set to begin next week with a road trip to the state of Florida to play a four-game series against Stetson, it will be the beginning of Mazey's final run with the Mountaineers.

"I'm trying not to think about it that way, " he said during a press conference Friday. "My wife makes me think about it that way. Every time I get home from something, she says, 'Do you realize this is the last time you'll ever get to do that ?' I don't think that part of it will hit me until the last game, the last home game."

Last July, it was announced Mazey was stepping down after the 2024 season and longtime assistant Steve Sabins would take over the program.

Although just 57 years old—Mazey will turn 58 during the season—he said the decision to step down was in the best interest of the program.

"Had I not decided to do it when I did it, I don't know how the next two, three or four years would have gone, " Mazey said. "I did it for the right reasons and I feel good about it."

Mazey told the story of how he stood in the WVU dugout during a game last season thinking about his son and daughter playing in baseball and softball games across town.

His heart told him then that he'd rather be across town.

"In this profession, you miss so much of life, " Mazey said. "You miss so much of your family. I wanted to be able to spend time with them than I had ever been able to do.

"I feel like we have got this program to a place where it's just not successful, but it's sustainable."

In his 11 previous seasons, Mazey has built expectations for the Mountaineers.

WVU is coming off a 40-win season—just the second in program history—and Mazey was named the Big 12 Coach of the Year in 2023 after guiding WVU to a share of the conference title.

The school hosted an NCAA regional in 2019, and there would be major disappointment in 2024 if WVU didn't get back to the NCAA tournament.

WVU recently announced that season-ticket sales for baseball this season had eclipsed 1, 000, the most in school history.

"When we got here, you had visions of all this, " Mazey said. "Realistically, a lot of people thought I was crazy for coming here.

"We had visions of the facilities, the conference and the type of players we could get here. I think we've accomplished a lot in my time here."

One of those players is J.J. Wetherholt, who was named the Big 12 Player of the Year last season and is now projected as a top pick in the 2024 Major League Baseball draft.

"Coach Mazey has been pretty much everything you could dream of as a head coach, " Wetherholt said. "He's been like another father to me and has taught me so much stuff. He means a lot to me and has been a great mentor. He was a big reason why I came here and it's been everything I hoped for. We want to send him out with a bang."

From the preseason talk, there could be a lot of bangs coming out of the WVU lineup this season, as well as a deep pitching rotation featuring a lot of live and powerful arms.

It's possibly the type of power team built to once again climb up the national rankings. WVU reached a program-high No. 7 in the national polls last season, another of Mazey's accomplishments during his building of the program.

Yet there is still a process of bringing it all together. No steps can be skipped in that process, something Mazey knows well after more than 30 years in the dugout.

While this may be Mazey's last hurrah, he's not about to take any different approach.

"There's still some things that would be cool to do in my last year that we haven't done, " he said. "I'm not limping off into the sunset just yet. I like this team and what they're capable of accomplishing. It would be really cool to send me off with a bang, so to speak. That's what my goal for right now is."

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