Holder Talks Cowboys Baseball

Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder was on the Sportstalk with Robert Allen and Friends program on Triple Play Sports on Monday where he discussed a variety of topics, including the firing of Frank Anderson and the process for selecting a new coach for the Cowboys baseball program. Here are a series of question and answers from that interview with Holder.

We had one question here from Mike who is wondering if you could see someone with the last name of Ward or Holliday being the next head baseball coach or if someone with past connections might be desired in that position?
Holder: First, I want to pay homage to Frank Anderson and Coach Evans and Coach Jones. They gave us everything they had. I've got a lot of respect for those guys, and I think they are good baseball people.

Frank Anderson is a good man, a good family man. He has been a loyal soldier for Oklahoma State University and represented us in the right way. He did things the right way, played by the rules, got his kids to go to class, and make good grades and achieve at a high level. I think he put a good product out there on the field.

Unfortunately, for whatever reason and I don't want to go into reasons, he is no longer the baseball coach here. So it is time for us to move on, and we owe it to all of the great players that have played here in the past and the great coaches that we have had to make the best hire that we possibly can and put a great product out there on the field in Reynolds Stadium.

Anyone that played here and has a passion for OSU baseball and is interested, I want to here from them. I have got a lot of input already. I have talked to Gary Ward about it, talked to Robin Ventura (former OSU player and Chicago White Sox manager), talked to John Farrell (former OSU player and coach and current Blue Jays manager), and talked to Robbie Wine (former OSU player and coach and current Penn State coach) about it, not neccessarily as a candidate but I called him out of respect as a former player.

You have to look at the Cowboys here first, anybody that played ball here. I think you have to. If it's ever close (between candidates), I think you are always going to give the edge to someone that played here. I think if you played here you have a different feeling. It means more to you.

It's a special job and there are a lot of names out there. Rob Walton has done a great job at Oral Roberts. Josh Holliday is one of the top assistant coaches at a strong program in Vanderbilt. Rocky Ward has done a great job at New Mexico State and had them in a regional. I hate to just start going through names because then I'm going to leave somebody that I shouldn't out. Anyone that has had any success, then we're interested in them.

You don't have to have played at Oklahoma State or had a connection to the program to be a candidate, but if you have it doesn't hurt you. I'm going to be talking to Coach Ward again. It's amazing what he did here when we were both here coaching at the same time. I was here just a little bit before him and was here his entire tenure, and I loved what happened with Cowboy baseball when he was our coach.

I'm surprised he didn't win multiple national championships, but he got as clsoe as you can without actually getting the job done, seven straight trips to the College World Series and 16 straight Big Eight Championships. Phenominal record and you really can't talk OSU baseball without talking Gary Ward. I am lucky to have him as a friend and someone I can talk to about the job. I value his opinion. I have talked to him a couple of times already and I will be talking to him more going down the road.

Some of these teams, the coaches, either head coaches or assistant coaches that we are interested in are either in regionals and have a chance or have advanced to super regionals. Out of respect to them I don't think it is the right thing to do to be talking about another job when you should be focused on your team and your players. You owe that to them, so I can't give you a timetable or a date when we will get this done. A lot of it will depend on what happens in the NCAA tournament.

You have hired a coach before with a committee of people helping you, and you have done it with some advice from someone in that sport and acted as a committee of one. How do you see the proceedure on this hire?
Holder: I'll say this, we're a team from administration to coaches to players to alumni. This is one big team and we're all in this together. We are all going to make this decision. I'll promise you that I am listening to what people have to say and it means something to me.

At the end of the day, someone is going to have to make the call as to who the next coach is going to be. Ultimately, that may be me, but I promise to everybody out there that it is going to be a group decision. It is not one man out on his own that is going to make a singular call. That is not right at all. I think at the end of the day that we will get the right man, and at the end of the day people will be pleased as to who is going to be leading our program.

Obviously, the candidates for the job are going to want to know that they have the tools they need to succeed. You have to anticipate those discussions will come up.
Holder: I want to assure everybody out there that this University and this athletic department is committed to baseball at the highest level here.

You know a lot of people say we haven't done anything to our facility. Boone Pickens gave $750,000 for that locker room, and we have a nice locker room. He also put up a new outfield fence. We regrated the field and we have a great groundskeeper out there in Todd Tribble, and I think we have the best playing surface in Division I.

Now does that mean that we don't need to address the rest of the facility? No, it doesn't mean that. We will, and our intent is to either renovate Allie P. Reynolds Stadium or build a new stadium. Starting from scratch would probably be my preference because to get that field exactly right it is better to start from a new spot and get all the grating done right instead of piece meal around it.

No one out there needs to question our commitment to baseball, and we have been supporting to baseball with our budget. We don't cut corners and we give them what they need to go out and recruit the best players. We are going to have the equipment that it takes and we are going to travel wherever they need to go and play the best teams. At the end of the day, that is what it takes. Any sport, those are the basic requirements.

Holder also said he could see construction costs coming down, and that would lead to the price on building a new baseball stadium becoming less cost prohibitive. He said he has constantly worked on raising funds for a new baseball stadium, and that he is committed to building facilities that are debt free and don't put a burden on the budget for that particular sport or the overall athletic department.

Asked again at the end when he would anticipate having a baseball coach hired, he refused to give a date saying as long as it takes to get a quality coach in the position. He did stress that hiring a baseball coach is the top priority on his list of things that need to be done. "It's on the front burner," finished up Holder.

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