USA Today Sports

Travis Ford Decision Likely Coming Soon

Mike Holder expected to be deciding the future of the Oklahoma State basketball program and head coach Travis Ford in the next few days.

It's not often that Oklahoma State basketball fans don't have much to look forward to in early March. But that's the case in 2016 as the Cowboys loss to Kansas State in a first-round game of the Big 12 Conference tournament ended their season with a disappointing 12-20 record (only the fourth time in school history they have lost 20 or more games).

But OSU fans are watching what transpires the next few days as athletic director Mike Holder is expected to meet with Travis Ford, possibly as early as today (Saturday), to decide if the Cowboys head coach will remain for the final three years of his 10-year contract. Ford is scheduled to make $2.4 million over the final three years ($7.2 million) of his contract, but there has been speculation in recent weeks that Holder may fire the eighth-year head coach and go another direction.

The Cowboys' 12-20 record is the school's worst since 1986-87 when then first-year head coach Leonard Hamilton's team finished 8-20.

Ford has led the Cowboys to six winning seasons in his eight years as head coach, including five NCAA Tournament appearances. But the Cowboys have only one NCAA Tournament victory (77-75 over Tennessee in 2009, Ford's first season at OSU), since the former Kentucky standout took over the program.

They have lost their first NCAA tourney game each of the past three seasons (to Oregon in 2015 and 2013, and to Gonzaga in 2014).

Injuries hampered Ford's chances for a winning season in 2015-16 as senior Phil Forte, the only returning starter, suffered a season-ending injury in just the third game back in November, and then freshman point guard Jawun Evans was lost for much of Big 12 play after suffering a shoulder injury in early February. Other Cowboys – Leyton Hammonds, Jeffrey Carroll, and Mitchell Solomon – were either ill or injured the last few weeks of the season.

Ford has had little to say about his future, and did not address it after OSU's season-ending loss to Kansas State on Wednesday night in Kansas City.

"Again, I'm more worried about my basketball team right now, more worried about that right now," he said. "There will be a time and place for all that."

So what's next? Holder has a decision to make and it seems like that decision could come sooner rather than later, according to sources.

Cowboys fans will be watching the next few days but it's not to see who and where the Cowboys will be playing in the NCAA Tournament. Instead their focus will be on Holder's decision.


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