One-on-One With Mike Holder

This is the second part of the Q&A with Mike Holder. A longer version of this conversation will appear in the next issue of Go Pokes Magazine.

GP: How are ticket sales going and how do you feel about the pricing, now and in the future, on football tickets?
Holder: Let me say you need to get your tickets now. We still have some good seats available and in a few years that won't be the case, and you don't want to be on the outside looking in at Boone Pickens Stadium because there are going to be some unprecedented things happening. Take advantage of the opportunity and get a great seat.

Challenging our fans is just part of the equation. Bill Byrne (Texas A&M athletic director) hasn't been real popular at Texas A&M, but he's raised ticket prices and generated a lot more revenue and the average fan that is upset about that at Texas A&M needs to go back and look at what it was like before Bill Byrne got there. They won one conference championship (all sports) the first 10 years they were in the Big 12. They won seven this year and I think it is a lot because he has challenged the coaches, the athletes, and the fans to think bigger and do bigger things at Texas A&M.

I'm not saying I'm Bill Byrne or that I can make a difference like that. All I'm telling the fan is that as a coach that is one thing that I learned early on, you need to challenge your athletes. Really the only impact I can have for our athletes and coaches is to try and generate more revenue so we have more resources to provide for what it takes to win. The only place we can get that is from our supporters or from the conference, which is indirect revenue from television and everybody knows what that is. We're going to increase our budget. We're at ninth or tenth in the conference.

I don't know for sure what anybody spends, (but) someone told me that Texas is going to spend $100 million on 20 sports and we're spending $40 million on 18 sports. You have to figure that you are going to do a better job for your athletes with $60 million more. I don't think we need that much more to be competitive with Texas across the board, but we have to go that direction, close that gap and the University of Texas who is at the top of our league. It would be ludicrous to think that we are going to be successful if we don't. I will hope that every fan out there wants to have the best for our athletes and coaches just like Texas . We shouldn't have to take a backseat to anybody. That is my role is to challenge.

GP: A hot topic is the possibility of moving the Texas Tech series in football to Dallas and the Cotton Bowl or to Jerry Jones' new stadium in Arlington. What is the latest on that and explain why it could be a real revenue boost?
Holder: I think there are a lot of positives to playing the game in Dallas. The negative is that you lose a home date, and every other year if it is a conference opponent. That is not good for a lot of reasons. We have never played more than six home games a season. The least we would do for our local merchants and supporters is to play six home games.

They wanted us to play in Dallas this year, the mayor of Dallas did. Texas Tech wanted to play there in a heartbeat. They made a very attractive offer. I said, wait a minute we're not going to play five home games. Mike Gundy said, ‘By the way you know we agreed to go play Georgia in Athens for the first game and all of a sudden you want me to give up another conference game that we're going to play at home and go play it in Dallas . That's not fair.'

We're going to look at playing a game in Dallas either in the Cotton Bowl or the new stadium that Jerry Jones is building. That is going to be the best football stadium in the World, maybe the best stadium in the World period. We do a lot of great recruiting in that market and it would be nice to have a presence there. I think if we do that and Texas A&M is not a part of that equation then I'm trying to figure out how to get in that Dallas market and play a game. I would much rather be in there playing than on the outside looking in.

I'm not sure how this is going to end up. There are going to be some serious discussions in the next two or three months and hopefully, we'll bring it to a conclusion so we can quit talking about it. Let's either decide to play the game and live with the consequences or play our games in Stillwater and go down the road.

GP: We're you surprised about commissioner Kevin Weiberg leaving the Big 12 Conference?
Holder: I thought Kevin did a great job. I liked him. I had a lot of respect for him. I was surprised he took this new job and I think we are going to miss him. Is there somebody out there that can do as good a job as him, probably. I hope we are able to find that individual. That decision will be made by the presidents and I don't know how much influence any of the athletic directors will have, but I would like to see us make a decision sooner rather than later. I think it would be to our advantage to have somebody in place by football season. That said you want to get the right individual. Whatever amount of time the process takes I'm willing to go with it. I just want to see the presidents make a good decision for us.

GP: Are you happy with Oklahoma State being in the Big 12 and what the Big 12 does for Oklahoma State?
Holder: I think we are very fortunate to be in the Big 12. I don't see any negatives to being in the Big 12. I don't see another alternative out there that is remotely attractive. I'm a big proponent of keeping the conference together and growing the Big 12 brand. I'd like to see us become the best conference in America . I don't know how close we are. It is pretty hard to put a number on it as to how good you are, but I think we have a lot of room for improvement.

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