In a statement released by Oklahoma State University Athletic Director Harry Birdwell, the end has come for one of OSU's head coaches.
Tom Holliday has been the leader of the Cowboy baseball program since Gary Ward departed at the end of the 1996 season, and served as an assistant for the previous 19 years. He learned today that his contract with the school will not be renewed.
"This is one of the most difficult professional decisions I have had to make," Birdwell said. "I have always been fond of Tom and his entire family and they have been fixtures at OSU for many years. I feel, however, it is time to move the program in a different direction and that requires a change of leadership."
This year marked the third time in four years the Cowboys have missed qualifying for the NCAA regionals, and according to Birdwell, that is unacceptable for a winning program like OSU's.
Holliday recieved a "reprimand" last June for the brash reputation he had for handling the media. It was concluded in that meeting that Birdwell and Holliday would meet again upon the end of the 2003 season to evaluate his on and off the field tactics.
"Coach Holliday made some personal changes over the past year that were significant. Unfortunately, the on-field performance was not what we had hoped for. It is time to regroup and move the program toward a greater national prominence," Birdwell said.
Holliday's contract was set to expire on June 30, and the athletic department said it will begin a national search for a replacement immediately.
Calls to Holliday's attorney had not been returned at the time of this publication.
Editor's note: We will update with more information as we obtain it.
(The following was received Saturday evening)
For Immediate Release
The past 26 years of my life have been filled with wonderful memories, friendships and successes. Being a part of trips to the college series, 16 conference championships, the opportunity to coach and develop numerous young people and raise a family has been a labor of love and something I will always cherish.
While I'm dissapointed that I won't return, I greatly appreciate the tremendous effort of my players and coaches. This 2003 team was an absolute joy to coach. I will continue to support all of the players we recruited over the past 26 years. I wish only the best for these young people and their futures.
I am proud of the success of my players both on and off the field, as we have achieved excellence in the classroom. The players managed to do this while competing at the highest level in what I consider to be the best league in the country, the Big 12.
I look forward to continuing my coaching career at another great university that will allow me the opportunity to help young players reach their dreams.
During the past 26 years, we have encountered so many wonderful people. This loyal group of supportive Cowboys fans has continued to support us through thick and thin. These are the people who even to this day, continue to stand behind us. I find great comfort in knowing that we have been blessed with such loyal and caring friends. That is what life is about. If a man's wealth is determined by his family and true friends, I am a richly blessed man.