With Mike Littlewood stepping down, how will former BYU baseball coach be remembered?
Just days after his team swept a WCC series against Santa Clara, BYU skipper announced his decision to resign
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It was a strange week for BYU baseball. After the Cougars swept a series with WCC foe Santa Clara, head coach Mike Littlewood resigned on Monday.
Earlier that week, the Cougars lost 7-5 at Dixie State. Littlewood’s team had won 17 games this season and had suffered some key injuries that set back the squad’s depth and abilities.
The reason given for Littlewood’s departure was “personal reasons.”
Cougar Insider predictions
Here is the question of the week: What do you think of Mike Littlewood’s sudden exit as head baseball coach and how should he be remembered?
Dave McCann: Like many, I was completely surprised by the announcement. Mike has poured his heart and soul into the baseball program for 10 seasons. He has recruited a group of talented young players that will take BYU into the Big 12 in 2023. In my brief interaction with him since the news of his resignation broke, he told me that he and his family will be “OK.”
The former All-WAC third baseman expected the same drive and determination from his players that he brought to Miller Park every day. I don’t know anyone who loves baseball more than Littlewood. Prior to taking the BYU job in 2012, he turned down a full-time position as an NBA official because it required him to give up his head coaching position at Dixie State University. The Cougars have been fortunate to have him, and while the details of his departure remain unknown, BYU’s WCC titles in 2016, 2017 and 2019 will remain as reminders of the Littlewood era in Cougar baseball.
Dick Harmon: Mike Littlewood’s reputation as a player and coach is nothing but a road of businesslike professionalism. I’ve known him since he played as a student-athlete. He knows how to recruit to BYU and play within the system. Because of this, I was shocked when I read about him resigning midseason for personal reasons.
BYU might have done a better job of sending out this news because it leaves fans, supporters and boosters with a lot of questions, like why wasn’t there a quote from an administrator praising him for his decade of work as a coach? The terse nature invited volumes of questions. Some reports say he didn’t even address his team. This leaves a lot of speculation and that isn’t good for Littlewood or the program. Then, again, there certainly may be privacy issues that need to be respected. I just hope this isn’t a medical issue with his family, forcing him to take time away, and if it is, prayers are with him. I grew up in Provo with Vance Law, the previous coach. He didn’t leave BYU on happy terms. Now comes this abrupt departure of Littlewood. I don’t like it.
BYU’s men’s and women’s track teams have split up and competed in various meets this and last week. Here are some stories from BYU on various results:
- Four wins in Arizona event (BYU Sports)
- Wins in high jump, hurdles at USU (BYU Sports)
- Pole vaulters shine in Arkansas (BYU Sports)
From the archives
From the Twitterverse
"I was blown away by his humanity and humility, You don't see that a lot from a big-time football coach. He led me down the path of what LaVell Edwards meant to BYU. I came in thinking he was really authentic, and nothing swayed me from that."-@BerryTramel on meeting Kalani. pic.twitter.com/kOCw66LfqW— Benjamin Criddle (@CriddleBenjamin) April 11, 2022
Jaren Hall has the lowest career INT percentage in BYU history. pic.twitter.com/xZ4CLK7isl— CougarStats (@CougarStats) April 6, 2022
- Why Big 12 must get it right with new commish (Deseret News)
- How WR Brayden Cosper keeps coming back (Deseret News)
- Gideon George declares for NBA draft (Deseret News)
- Hall explains best part of being BYU QB (KSL Sports)
Comments from Deseret News readers
Good people in all walks of life resign from their employment abruptly for personal reasons. Some want to reduce stress, others want to spend more time with family, some might have an elderly parent or a son or daughter that needs major care, some have terminal illnesses, etc. The point here is, the coach has decided to step down without explanation or justification to the public — it happens regularly. It’s so sad to see him bashed and ridiculed for one reason alone — he was a BYU coach — and no one here knows the circumstances surrounding his personal decision. In addition, no one here knows the conversations he had with BYU admin. Regardless of the ‘why’ in this case (or any other case), no one deserves to be publicly tried, castigated and thrown under the bus for simply making a personal decision that they thought best for themselves and their family.
There are a very small number of things that could cause this that wouldn’t be an issue at other universities.
The reality is that most of the time when I’ve been privy to something like this it’s not some big sexy scandal, it’s usually a very sad situation in which the family needs time and protection.
There was a potentially major story at one of the local universities about a month ago, while a few people criticized the papers for not giving attention to the story, they failed to see the request of privacy from the people involved.
In most cases these are simply tragic results of one thing or another, and most schools would have a similar process.
The one exception is that certain schools hold up standards to a higher degree, in which cases everyone knows that some consequences are different as well. But for me it still comes down to tragedy in the personal life of another individual. I don’t think that anybody needs to be forced to keep the specific rules BYU has, but if they choose to then they should be well aware of the consequences of those choices. Unfortunate as they may be.
April 13-14 | TBA | Track & field | Bryan Clay Invitational | Azusa, California
April 13 | Men’s golf | Western Intercollegiate | Santa Cruz, California
April 14 | 1 p.m. | Men’s tennis | Pepperdine | Provo
April 14 | 4 p.m. | Softball | Idaho State | Pocatello, Idaho
April 14 | 6:35 p.m. | Baseball | Nebraska | Lincoln, Nebraska
April 14-16 | TBA | Track & field | Mt. SAC Relays | Los Angeles
April 15 | 2 p.m. | Baseball | Nebraska | Lincoln, Nebraska
April 16 | 5:30 p.m.| Baseball | Nebraska | Lincoln, Nebraska
April 16 | 11:05 a.m. | Baseball | Nebraska | Lincoln, Nebraska