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The Randy Mazey Impact: What Makes WVU Baseball’s Skipper Special

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WVU Baseball HC Randy Mazey
Ed Thompson / WVSN

During his 12 year tenure at the helm of the Mountaineers, Randy Mazey hasn’t shied away from doing things his way, whether it’s his unique brand of leadership, balancing the line between a firm voice of authority and a caring mentor, the uncompromising ‘Mazeyball’ nature he instills in his players, or the way he’s decided to call it a career, retiring from his game day role at just 57 years old—still in his prime for a profession like coaching—in order to spend more time with his family.

Sunday’s game against the Kansas State Wildcats marks Mazey’s final home game as head coach of the Mountaineers. West Virginia Sports Now spoke with a pair of former West Virginia stars in order to gauge Mazey’s impact on Mountaineers’ baseball, which he helped navigate the challenge of joining the über-competitive Big 12 conference, resurrecting the program from years of anonymity in doing so.

How to be an All-Star

Former Mountaineers’ star Victor Scott II earned a MiLB All-Star selection in 2023, pacing the minor leagues with 94 stolen bases. While the 5-foot-10, 190 pound outfielder has always had a well of natural speed at his disposal, he said it’s his former skipper—who he described as a ‘player’s coach’—who helped him tap into that ability.

“Coach Mazey is the man. He passed down a lot of information to me…. Not necessarily being a good athlete, but having the IQ of a baseball player,” Scott said. “I remember him pulling me aside and talking about stealing bases… about impacting the game with my legs because he didn’t feel like I was doing it as I should’ve been.”

Scott continued to unpack how that foundational conversation played out.

“‘Your biggest asset is going to be your speed, so how do we utilize that best?’” Scott said, describing Mazey’s frank assessment of his own talent. “It honestly kind of made me the player I am today.”

No matter how much Mazey’s baserunning acumen might’ve helped Scott’s career, that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the veteran head coach’s leadership ability.

A Premium on Leadership

During West Virginia’s run at a share of a regular season Big 12 title in 2023, Randy Mazey reiterated that winning games was a secondary goal for himself and the Mountaineers. He sees winning as a byproduct of proper leadership, a natural result of raising players into principled young men during their formative years.

Scott, who described himself as leading through example, said that Mazey helped him improve as a communicator, honing his leadership in doing so. He also shared a pair of anecdotes where his former head coach stood by to support him, both in the early days of his Mountaineers’ career and following his days in Morgantown. 

“He gave me a tailored suit and said ‘hey, this is what you’re gonna wear, and this is the game you’re gonna play,’” Scott said. “When I graduated this past December, he was there rooting me on, seeing me walk across the stage. That was huge, to know he doesn’t just care about the baseball but the person as well.”

Whether it’s offering tailored suits on his own dime or teaching his players how to carry themselves, mentoring takes precedence for Randy Mazey.

“He always made it a point that he wanted to make sure we were good gentlemen off the field as much as we were on the field,” Jackson Wolf, who pitched for the Mountaineers from 2018 to 2021, added. “If you do all these things, if you make sure you take care of all these things, winning will come. Winning is secondary: while it is a priority in the organization, it will be secondary as you continue to work and make sure you take care of all the small things.”

The Other Side of Leadership

While Scott emphasized the caring nature of Mazey’s leadership, Wolf—currently a member of the San Diego Padres’ organization—showed a different side of his old head coach: a firm, principled leader. Wolf acknowledged that Mazey’s style might not be for everyone, but credited that straightforward approach for the Mountaineers’ turnaround in recent years, separating the wheat from the chaff in building a strong culture.

“He embodies leadership characteristics. He stuck to his word on everything. He’s a very strong coach,” Wolf said. 

“There’s a lot of people that transferred out because they couldn’t handle firm leadership. I think that’s what ultimately made West Virginia baseball turn around… While he definitely had qualities of being a soft-spoken human being, he definitely got on us quite a bit and made sure that we were staying straight, making sure we were doing all the things that we needed to do to succeed not only personally, but as a team.”

What You See is What You Get

In the cutthroat world of college athletics, characterized with competitions for scholarships and signings, Wolf emphasized Mazey’s honest, open nature… especially as a player without heavy recruiting out of high school himself. Wolf said that the Randy Mazey who recruited him was the same Randy Mazey who coached him for four years, staying the course with that inimitable style.

“You go through the ups and downs while being at West Virginia: me being a person who stayed four years and stuck it out, rode those ups and downs and saw how much that strong leadership molded me into who I am today, definitely appreciative,” Wolf said. “I’d like to congratulate him on a good career and thank him for the time he put in with me and to let him know—he already knows—the program is in good hands with [current bench coach and future head coach Steve] Sabins.”

WVU released the video package below in honor of Mazey before his last home game.

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