In a move that I'll admit I've seen rarely, if ever, at Oklahoma State, Cowboys baseball head coach Josh Holliday released an open letter to Oklahoma State fans and alumni entitled simply "Thank You." It is proof that Holliday really understands the importance of communicating with your fans and showing them appreciation for what they do for the program and his players.
If you ever had any doubts about Holliday being a great fit and a tremendous asset to Oklahoma State baseball and the University at large then reading this letter will erase all doubt.
Also, in a move that will make Oklahoma State fans happy it is widely reported that Texas has hired Tulane head coach David Pierce to replace Augie Garrido as Longhorns baseball coach. Not that we thought Holliday would consider leaving Stillwater because right now he seems committed to the hilt to building this program back to the way it was and even better than in his days growing up around it and playing as a Cowboy.
Thank you to our players for bringing us to the final four of the College World Series. In a baseball program as steeped in tradition as Oklahoma State, the 2016 team stands out. Our school has been to the College World Series 20 times, but not since 1993 have we made it to the round of four.
We had our ups and downs this year and most observers left us out of their Omaha projections, but what those observers couldn't measure was how close of a team we were. To be truly special as a team, you have to have players who are so invested in the team that they can't quit, and that's exactly what we had.
Thomas Hatch was an All-American and the Big 12 pitcher of the year. Without him, we would not have made it as far as we did. The standard he set this postseason was unreal – back-to-back scoreless outings against Nebraska and South Carolina followed by a complete game shutout in the College World Series.
Donovan Walton was – in my opinion – one of the most important players in the last 25 years of Oklahoma State baseball – he set the tone for us and spearheaded our core group that also included Conor Costello and Corey Hassel, among others.
We had a number of guys who got drafted and could have gone pro, but instead chose to stay with us, in part to experience a shot at a national championship. I could share stories of every player who made sacrifices to make our team special and I could also share stories about how each and every player did something to get us to Omaha, but I'd rather remember this group through the lens of how they came together as a collective unit and did OSU proud.
What they created was special, because they brought College World Series DNA back to Oklahoma State. They re-established the Omaha standard and in doing so, they infused a whole new level of positive energy into our program, because the College World Series stories that will circulate in our clubhouse won't be told as history, rather, as current events. There are many steps that need to be taken to become an elite program again, and all of us were privileged to watch this group of players take the hardest one before our very eyes. The players are why we are here and what they accomplished should be celebrated.
Thank you also to our fans, to our former players and to everyone who supports us, because what you bring to our program can't be measured. We have fans who spent their hard-earned money and invested precious time and energy to support our team. We value you and we recognize that you are part of what makes Oklahoma State baseball special. We have a core group of fans who sat through blustery weather early in the season and were also with us in Omaha. We celebrate you and honor you because you mean so much to us.
We also value all those who watched us on TV and shared their support on social media. Our team feels that support and we are so, so thankful for you.
I grew up in Stillwater and I know how special Oklahoma State people are. For that reason, it's exciting to me that our team was able to share this ride with you. While all of us are still processing the emotions and working through all that has occurred this past month, one emotion stands out to me – gratitude. Thank you to our players, thank you to our fans and thank you to everyone who supports us.