Letter Shows Frank Anderson Gets It

This has been a difficult season for Oklahoma State head baseball coach Frank Anderson. The Cowboys coach, in his seventh season, saw his team's record slip to 27-20 overall and 8-13 in the Big 12 after a 6-0 loss to the Sooners on Sunday afternoon as the Cowboys only mustered five hits and could not score as OU freshman pitcher Jack Mayfield went the distance in his first career start.

The difficult season has brought criticism of Anderson as the Cowboys coach. Despite guiding Oklahoma State to NCAA Regional finals the past four seasons and dealing with scholarship reductions (an average of two full scholarships each season at Oklahoma State) that he had nothing to do with, some fans expect more.

Anderson will tell you he expects more too. What he won't tell you is the kind of story that appeared in The Oklahoman on Sunday morning through a well written and emotional letter from Kim Spady.

The mother of three boys, Spady lost her 11-year-old son Caleb last July to a cancerous brain tumor. We will not reprint the entire letter from Mrs. Spady as that would not be fair to The Oklahoman and there is a link below that you can use to go and read the entire letter. Suffice to say from this portion below that Frank Anderson was very much taken up and impacted by this young man's story and his courageous family.

"Somehow, fairly quickly after Caleb's diagnosis, coach learned about him," wrote Kim Spady.

"Suddenly, packages from OSU baseball began appearing in our mailbox. there was never a note or an indication of who they were from. but they made our son's days.

"Caleb sent the team a photo of himself in his OSU gear and a thank you note, along with a bunch of ‘Pray for Caleb' orange & black wristbands. soon, we began to notice coach and most of the team wearing those wristbands during games. it made us all so excited to see that tribute to Caleb on the field!

"Last year, after the Cowboys won the final game of the bedlam series in OKC, Caleb had the chance to meet Coach Anderson and a few of the players. that solidified a relationship that has blessed our family beyond measure. Coach, even during the busiest times, took time to call Caleb or send him a gift.

"Coach even asked his son, Brett, to get in on the action. Brett sent Caleb an incredible box of A's stuff — including the baseball from his first MLB win.

"After Caleb died on July 21, Coach continued to stay in contact with our family.

"We met with him over spring break, and he told us he has decided to implement the only award given to an OSU baseball player in honor of Caleb. the first Caleb Spady Award will be awarded to an outstanding OSU player next fall. Coach Anderson, having grown to know Caleb and his character, developed a remarkable list of traits that will be exhibited by this player."

After Sunday's loss, I asked Coach Anderson privately about the letter. He said he had not read it and answered my inquiry with the usual Frank Anderson attitude of not seeking credit for what was a truly good deed.

"That is stuff that I am not comfortable talking about," started Anderson. "I love those people and they are inspirational for me more than anybody I know. I am kind of uncomfortable talking about it."

Later off microphone Anderson said he did not pursue that relationship and grow close to the Caleb and his family for any positive attention it might bring. It was something for him from the heart.

I told Coach Anderson I knew that, but I also know that we hear so many negative stories these days about people involved in sports. I just want people to know about the good things that coaches and athletes do. It is important for us to have faith in our sports personalities and to know that as humans they achieve just as high as they do in sports.

This story doesn't make Frank Anderson a better coach. It won't bring Oklahoma State any more baseball victories and it likely won't squash any of the critics that Anderson may have. What it does is show what kind of person he is, and like Mrs. Spady said in her letter, makes me understand that Frank Anderson is the kind of person we want young people to be around.

Click here to read Mrs. Spady's letter in The Oklahoman

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