Having completed the search for Oklahoma State's next baseball coach, the focus shifts to the sometimes difficult transition.
Former Texas pitching coach Frank Anderson was officially named the next leader for OSU baseball at a press conference Wednesday morning.
Due to the many quality candidates involved in the search and Anderson's position in the driver's seat, OSU athletic director Harry Birdwell said, "The Oklahoma State baseball tradition is quite alive and well."
Evidence of that life showed strongly in the demeanor of the players as well.
"The wait hasn't been the easiest thing to do," said OSU pitcher Daniel Rew. "Of course, I'm not the most patient person, but all in all it takes time to get the right person in there, and I think they did a good job of it, and I'm just excited for the new year."
Before the new season can begin, Anderson must fill his coaching roster, one that might see longtime hitting coach Robbie Wine in the mix.
"I talked to (Anderson) last night, a little bit today, and shoot, he's going through all these interviews right now and I doubt he has me on his mind," Wine said. "I just hope he feels that is one of the first things he needs to do. I don't know anything right now that is etched in stone as far as my job security goes. It is Frank's decision, and I will understand whatever he chooses. It is a tough position to put a guy in, but it has to be done one way or another."
Retaining the OSU hitting maestro and teaming him up with a new pitching ally has to be an equation any athletic program would want to showcase.
"I hope I am a part of it, because I think it is a very good combination," Wine said. "Frank and I could really make some things happen. We'll find out later today I guess."
Wine spent many years from his position as the OSU hitting coach trying to outdo the pitching staffs Anderson assembled at Texas and Texas Tech.
"When you go out on the field and you compete, you go out and you look at who you are going up against and there's been times where I am actually out recruiting hitters knowing the style of pitchers that Frank Anderson produces," Wine said. "That is a huge compliment to him, and tells you right there how much I think of his coaching ability."
Anderson called the assistant coaching positions an "ongoing" issue and stated he felt like it was something that needed to be resolved immediately. He said he will visit with the current staff one-on-one, and go from there.
"I think it's going to be a good transition," Anderson said. "I want to get a support staff around me, guys that are excited and enthusiastic about going out there and being at practice every day and supporting the kids."
Anderson said his main goal for the upcoming season is to "shore up the pitching staff." His four-straight Big 12 leading pitching staffs leave little doubt that his task can be accomplished.
Improvement in the pitching staff won't be the sole product of recruitment either. Anderson said his top priority will be to take care of the athletes already on the roster.
"His pitching background is unbelievable with the players he's handled and the ERA's they've put up every year," Rew said. "I'm just excited to get out there and let him evaluate myself, and I look forward to learning from him and going in the direction that most of his pitchers go."
The other looming question mark in the transition stands as the largest – facility improvements.
Both Birdwell and Anderson said they have discussed it, but no plans have been made to improve the facilities. Anderson said it will be a gradual process, but it will be evaluated soon.
Anderson's overall descision to come to the Cowboy program wasn't an easy one, and Birdwell said if it had been a simple choice, then Anderson wasn't the guy he was looking for.
"Competing on a national stage is a lot of fun," Anderson said. "It is the ultimate thing you get to do as a player and a coach and that's something else I thought was a possibility at Oklahoma State and one of the reasons why I decided this way.
"In my mind there are probably 40-50 schools that compete for the national championship each year and this is one of them and that's important to me."
Despite the recent decline in the OSU win column, Anderson said he could see the heart in each of the players, which was another issue tugging at him to make the move.
"I like the kids, I always like to watch and see how kids handle things in good times and in bad – it shows a lot of character and that was a factor."
As far as the change within the program goes, Wine may have lost one of his mentors in former coach Tom Holliday, but he is excited about where the OSU baseball program is headed, whether he is fortunate enough to be a part of it nor not.
"I think it was obvious that we needed some kind of a change and Frank Anderson's been one of the guys that I look across the field and think he is one of the top coaches in the country everytime we've played them and he he's proven it."
Matt Palmer can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com