Holder Named Athletic Director

Mike Holder, who has coached the OSU men's golf program to eight national championships in the past 32 years, was named Friday morning as the school's new athletic director. Holder, 57, was officially hired to the newly created position of Vice President for Athletic Programs and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics by the OSU Board of Regents Friday morning in Miami, Okla.

Holder succeeds Harry Birdwell, whose resignation became effective Sept. 1.

"Why would I want to try this job on?" Holder asked when he was introduced as Oklahoma State's new athletic director on Friday. "I guess there's only one reason – I want to see how good we can be."

"I always tell my players that the opponent is not the guy you're playing against. It's not the golf course. I think in all athletics, and in life, the opponent is yourself," said Holder, who has been at OSU since arriving in Stillwater as a student-athlete in 1966. "The challenge is to find out how good you can be. How big are you dreams? How high can you reach? What's possible? That's why I want to take this job. I want to find out just how good we can be."

"We are delighted to have Mike Holder take the reins throughout OSU athletics," OSU System CEO and President David Schmidly said in a news release from the school. "He has a true passion for OSU and is committed to graduating student-athletes, strengthening our athletic budget and improving our national ranking in every sport.

"He has built a quality golf program based on sound fiscal practices and first-rate facilities. And now Mike will be able to extend his leadership and apply his successful approaches on a broader scale to our entire athletic department," Schmidly continued. "I am also confident Mike will contribute a great deal to the life of OSU and this community as a member of our executive leadership team."

Holder said, "Our number one challenge is reducing our athletic debt while continuing to build the quality facilities we need to recruit and compete at the highest level in both men's and women's sports. We will continue to work hard to help our student-athletes excel in the classroom and in their sports. I look forward to working with our entire athletic department team, the executive leadership team, faculty and students to help OSU be the very best."

Holder's vision and fund-raising abilities led to the completion of Karsten Creek Golf Club, home of both the Cowboy and Cowgirl golf teams. The course opened in May of 1994 and has drawn rave reviews since. In 1997, an indoor practice facility was constructed and is reserved for use by the Cowboy golf team. The Karsten Creek Clubhouse and Boone Pickens Lodge were both completed at a cost of $4.5 million in June of 2001. Karsten Creek was the host site for the 2003 NCAA National Championships.

Holder has been the OSU golf coach the past 32 years, leading the Cowboys to eight national championships. Holder's first national championship with the Cowboys came in 1976 and was followed by titles in 1978, 1980, 1983, 1987, 1991, 1995 and 2000. Five Cowboys have won the NCAA individual title under Holder's guidance – David Edwards (1978), Scott Verplank (‘86), Brian Watts (‘87), E.J. Pfister (‘88) and Charles Howell (2000).

During his tenure three Cowboy golfers have been honored with the Ben Hogan Award, based on both academic and athletic excellence. Winners of the Ben Hogan Award from OSU have been Kevin Wentworth (1990), Trip Kuehne (1995) and Hunter Mahan (2003).

Holder has coached more than 105 All-Americans, including 47 first-team selections, and has numerous former Cowboys playing on the PGA Tour, overseas and on mini-tours throughout the United States. Among the former Cowboys coached by Holder who are playing on the PGA Tour this season are Charles Howell, Jeff Maggert, Hunter Mahan, Bob May, Bob Tway, Bo Van Pelt, Scott Verplank and Brian Watts.

Holder also holds his players to a higher standard in the classroom. Only 14 times since 1984 has a collegiate golfer been named a first-team athletic All-American and an academic All-American in the same season – nine of those 14 players have been from Oklahoma State. Holder has had 20 Academic All-American selections they began honoring them in 1984. He also has had countless Big 12 and Big Eight honorees.

Holder is just one of five coaches – from any sport – to ever win national championships in four different decades.

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