"Is there any better word in the English language than sellout?"
That was the first response from Oklahoma State athletic director and OSU Vice-President for Athletics Mike Holder when we asked him about the Cowboys basketball team and their accomplishments both on and off the court. Off the court, new head coach Brad Underwood and his team have brought Cowboy fans back to Gallagher-Iba Arena in droves.
There was the sellout in the Big 12 opener against West Virginia. But that had unusual circumstances with the football team in San Antonio the night before playing in the Alamo Bowl, the athletic department sold family packs for $20 and made a huge push to get people in the building. Since that game the Arkansas and Oklahoma games have sold out. The game on Saturday with Texas Tech has sold over 11,000 tickets and next week's regular season finale against Kansas is sold out.
"Maybe champion," Holder added in his thinking of a better word than sellout. "That might be be the only better word than sellout. It's gratifying that people are coming back. It was starting to get a little lonely in here. It is gratifying that are fans are back and supporting this team. It is good to see that the passion is there."
Holder acknowledges that three or four sellouts is more than one would have expected in drawing Oklahoma State fans back to the once and now again approaching the rowdiest arena in the country.
"When the team started out 0-6, you had to wonder if they were going to win a game, but the way they've been playing now it is hard to believe they lost the first six (conference) games," Holder said. "When you've got Jawun Evans and the way some of these other players have improved their games, this is a really good team."
As an athletic director there are a lot of concerns, but when you have a program that is winning, a program that people are buying tickets to come see, then it is a lot easier to sit in your seat, kick back, and enjoy the show.
Saturday against Texas Tech, Underwood's Cowboys can win their 10th game in the last 11, they can win their 20th game this season, and clinch no worse than a 9-9 finish in Big 12 play.