College baseball players come and go every season. Most schools see their coach leave every few years.
Carl Albert State College has been lucky when it comes to the coaching front. Mark Pollard took the head baseball coaching position in 1983. And he’s never looked back.
Pollard has racked up 951 wins during his 31 seasons as the Vikings’ head coach, and he’s always taken the approach of winning with local talent.
“They’ve allowed me to do it my way and our way is south eastern Oklahoma, western Arkansas predominantly,” Pollard said. “That’s what we want to do. The commitment to this community and to this area, for what we’re doing and what we’re trying to sell people on, we ought to do it with Oklahoma and Arkansas kids.”
Pollard has led CASC to the junior college world series five times in his career. Though some argue that the best times are in the past for Pollard’s team, that is far from fact.
We had a lot of success and we went to the world series four or five times and people think he’s old now and he’s not doing it the right way,” Pollard said. “We’re still doing it the right way. The rest of the league has caught up. The league is good. Three of the last five national champions have come from our conference. That’s pretty good. When you’re producing national champs, that’s a good league.”
Not only has the CASC program seen good teams come in but talented players and coaches have come to be apart of Pollard’s legacy.
“He’s been in the business a while,” CASC sophomore Micah Crenshaw said. “He knows what he’s doing. He knows what he’s talking about. He’s just a good coach.”
“Being able to coach right beside him, learn from him,” CASC assistant Tyler Guthrie said. “One of the best in college baseball as a whole.”
Even after 31 years on the job, you can still hear the passion for the game in his voice. You can see the energy he still has for his baseball program as he leans against the batting cage on an off day. But the one question that he can never seem to answer is how much longer will he do it.
“Yeah, I don’t know where the end is. I’m not sure,” Pollard said. “I’m closer to the end than I am the beginning. I know that. That’s just a fact of life. We’ll see what happens. Four, five, six years down the road we’ll take a look at it and see if we’ve still got the passion, still have the energy.”