As the Longhorns awaited the announcement of their regional opponents on the NCAA Selection Show on Monday morning, they were surprised by a special guest.
Matthew McConaughey walked through the doors of Texas’ clubhouse, offering the Longhorns a few words of wisdom as they prepare to host a regional for the first time since 2011.
“It’s go time. You played all season, you won the Big 12 but now you’re in,” McConaughey said. “You’ve got to where you want to go. It’s 0-0 now. It’s a dance, what I do, which is similar to what you guys do, I believe. When you head out there it’s live. Take one, it’s live.”
McConaughey continued, “You’re responsible for turning yourself on. He (head coach David Pierce) can say it, but who’s responsible for turning us on? We are. Now that you’re here, get it on.”
The team took a group photo before settling in for the NCAA selection show, but the players had plenty of time to process their time with the Hollywood star.
“That was interesting because growing up, my mom had the biggest crush on Matthew McConaughey,” junior infielder Masen Hibbeler said. “I immediately texted her and said, ‘You’ll never guess who’s in our locker room.’ She was freaking out.”
For players like Hibbeler, who spent his freshman and sophomore seasons at Odessa Junior College, Monday was a long time coming.
“It’s awesome getting to experience that with all the media in the locker room and Matthew McConaughey there and stuff like that. It’s just surreal looking back at it from where I came from last year to now … I was in summer ball in South Carolina. I watched Texas lose out to Long Beach. I remember watching it, thinking I could be there helping them and that’s where I am now.”
Texas is now just over 24 hours away from its first game of the Austin Regional versus Texas Southern.The Longhorns will look to bounce back from a disappointing outing at the Big 12 tournament in Oklahoma City, but this time Texas will be playing in front of its sold-out home crowd.
“Matthew McConaughey said it, let the game come to us, rather than pressing and trying to do too much,” Hibbeler said. “The atmosphere is going to take care of itself. If we can just play our game we will be just fine.”