'Frank' ly, he's the one

OSU fans can finally let out a sigh of relief. After weeks of searching the country, and at least one refusal later, the OSU athletic director zeroed in on pitching expert Frank Anderson. With his acceptance of the head baseball position comes a lot of decisions...mainly the one Cowboy fans fear. Will he retain Robbie Wine?

By Cedric Golden and Craig Bohls

AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF

Fulfilling a lifelong dream to become a head baseball coach, Texas pitching coach Frank Anderson accepted Oklahoma State's offer to run the Cowboys' tradition-rich program on Monday.

Anderson, 44, leaves the Longhorns after four hugely successful seasons during which he helped mold one of the nation's top pitching staffs and capture one national championship and a College World Series berth this season.

He will succeed Tom Holliday, whose contract was not renewed last month. Holliday served as OSU's head coach for seven years and had a record of 281-150 overall and 111-83 in conference play.

Texas made a competing offer to try to entice Anderson to stay, UT athletic director DeLoss Dodds said.

Anderson agreed to a five-year contract approaching $200,000 a year, one source familiar with the negotiations said.

Anderson declined to comment on Monday, until Oklahoma State calls a press conference in Stillwater to announce the hiring on Wednesday.

Texas Coach Augie Garrido on Monday credited Anderson as a key part in the Longhorns' recent baseball resurgence.

"He's been very integral along with (assistant coach Tommy Harmon) in making this a successful transition," Garrido said. "None of this is done by one person, and that's the truth.

"Frank came into a competitive environment and was asked to develop a Division I pitching staff, and he did that."

Anderson has not named any of his staff members, but could keep Robbie Wine, a highly regarded Cowboys assistant and a former OSU star.

The decision by Anderson leaves Garrido with a key position to fill. During Anderson's stay, Texas' pitching staff compiled an earned run average that ranked in the nation's top five for three consecutive years from 2000 to 2002 and ranked 14th nationally this season.

Garrido said he had not received any résumés from potential pitching coach candidates, but that will change, considering the vacated position is one of the most attractive coaching jobs in the country.

Garrido believes Anderson will be a success in Stillwater.

"They're hiring him to go to the College World Series and win it," Garrido said. "That takes all the ingredients. Frank will get the job done because he's highly competitive and skilled, plus he has a good network of people there that will support him."

Anderson will attempt to regain the luster for a storied OSU program that has made 19 College World Series appearances, fourth behind Texas, Southern Cal and Miami. The Cowboys won their only national title in 1959 but until recently had been a mainstay in Omaha, Neb., appearing in the CWS 11 times since 1980.

OSU is one of only four Big 12 teams to have won CWS titles. Besides the five Longhorn championships, Oklahoma won two in 1994 and 1951 and Missouri won in 1954.

Anderson, who has worked as an assistant coach for four programs since 1983, will inherit a team that finished 34-24 and came within a hair of qualifying as an at-large selection for the 64-team NCAA tournament.

A sixth-place finish during the Big 12 regular season with a 14-13 record and two quick losses in the postseason conference tournament doomed the Cowboys' chances.

OSU beat Texas twice in three games this season, but finished 3-6 against the top three teams in the league.

The Cowboys had the nation's 28th-ranked hitting team with a .320 batting average. They will probably lose ace Scott Baker (10-5), who was a second-round pick of the Minnesota Twins, and heavy-hitting center fielder Jose Virgil, who had a .381 batting average with 11 home runs and 54 RBIs, was a senior.

Returning are Josh Fields, the team's outstanding hitter (.358, 11 homers, 42 RBIs) and football quarterback, and catcher Jason Jaramillo, who hit .385 with nine homers and 42 RBIs. The 2004 club will return the entire outfield and starters at third base, catcher and shortstop, where freshman Chris Gutierrez was a top defensive player.

Anderson wrestled with the decision over remaining as one of Garrido's top two assistants with the hopes of someday succeeding the 64-year-old Garrido, who this season became the all-time winningest coach in Division I history with 1,430 victories.

By leaving and proving his head coaching abilities, Anderson felt he could better position himself for the possibility of someday returning to UT, Dodds said.

"We've had those conversations," Dodds said. "It's something you can't reach out and put a handle on. I told him we've never hired an assistant coach here. That doesn't mean we wouldn't. But I can't tell him this would or wouldn't happen."


GoPokes Top Stories