Baseball: Anderson Off To OSU

As expected, Longhorn pitching coach <B>Frank Anderson </B>accepted the head coaching gig at Oklahoma State Monday. So, how important was Anderson to the UT program?

Hugely important, if you buy into the notion (as I do) that three things win baseball championships: pitching, pitching and more pitching. Anderson inherited in 2000 a UT pitching staff that had posted three consecutive 5-plus ERA seasons under Augie Garrido's first pitching coach Burt Hooton. The former Tech mound master immediately returned Texas pitching to its former glory, building a staff that turned in a 3.30 ERA and helped the Horns earn their first trip to Omaha in seven seasons. In '01, the Longhorn hurlers lowered their staff ERA to 3.17 before posting a 2.82 in Texas' '02 title season. Huston Street credited Anderson with "saving my season" that same year after the 44 year-old adjusted the All-American’s arm angle to add motion to his fastball. In the just-completed '03 season, UT's overall ERA slipped a bit to 3.50 but that number still put the Horns among the top 20 pitching staffs in the country.

Anderson’s four-year stint on the Forty Acres coincided with Texas’ return to glory (i.e., return to Omaha) as the Horns punched their ticket to the College World Series three of the past four years. Texas, of course, won it all in 2002 and finished No. 4 nationally this season after dropping games to eventual national champion Rice.

"We very much respect the contributions that Frank has made to The University of Texas baseball program as our pitching coach and as a recruiter over the past four seasons," Garrido said. "When you win conference championships, a national title and reach the College World Series in three of the past four years, everyone is rewarded for their work and this is one of Frank's rewards."

Anderson replaces Tom Holliday, whose seven-year tenure came to an end with an otherwise respectable 281-150 mark. But Cowboy fans became restless after watching Big 12 rivals like Texas, Nebraska and Oklahoma advance to the Field of Dreams while the tradition-rich OSU baseball program was relegated to the also-runs.

Oklahoma State is expected to officially announce Anderson’s hiring at a Wednesday press conference while Garrido now begins the search for Anderson’s successor.

"We are sorry to see him go," Garrido said. "This is a great career opportunity for him and we wish Frank and his family well. We will now move as soon as possible to find the best candidate to replace him."

[Clendon Ross contributed to this report.]

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