STILLWATER — Lack of victories didn't cost Sean Sutton his job. Lack of leadership did. That's what can be culled from a strange but predictable Tuesday on the Oklahoma State University campus, when OSU fired a favorite son as basketball coach. OSU athletic director Mike Holder removed Sean not so much because of two straight mediocre seasons, but because Holder didn't believe things would improve. Holder won't say that straight up and didn't Tuesday at a press conference in Gallagher-Iba Arena. But Sean's shortcomings as a head coach went far past a 39-29 overall record and no NCAA Tournament appearances. Two years is not enough time to give a coach to win. But it is enough time for a boss to judge whether a coach can get the job done. "For whatever reason, it wasn't working,” Holder said. Holder declined to address specifics on why he and Sean "mutually agreed” that a coaching change was necessary. "That's between Sean and I,” Holder said. "I'm not a micromanager. I'm not going to tell a guy how to run his program.” But Holder has had "many” conversations with Sean. "He knew what the expectations were.” And didn't meet them. OSU hoops have not run smoothly even off the court since Sean took over. Three player arrests between May and July last year. An unstable coaching staff: Jimmy Williams was fired last year to make way for Corey Williams, a former OSU teammate of Sean's, but Corey Williams stayed only a month before leaving for a job at Florida State. And in February, Sean swapped the duties of assistant coach Kyle Keller and director of basketball operations Mike Hatch. The departure of Corey Williams was most telling. He had talked of how working at OSU was a dream, then bolted a few weeks into the job. Sean's work ethic also has been a concern, as a variety of sources have questioned his frequent absences from Gallagher-Iba Arena. Of course, win enough games, and no one cares about any of that. But lose enough, and your boss will wonder how things will get better. Forget the idea that this is some kind of Holder versus Eddie Sutton grudge match. I assume there's something to their spat, and Holder might be a strange bird to be sitting in the AD's chair, but make no mistake. Holder wants to win. And he loves OSU. I believe Holder when he said it was "tough day to be a Cowboy” and "there's no joy in Stillwater today.” I believe him when he says he had many sleepless nights wrestling with this the past few weeks. Holder believed a change was needed but had trouble pulling the trigger. He made this decision because he thinks it's best for Cowboy hoops, and he's not alone. I talked to new OSU President Burns Hargis, who was in Dallas, and while he agreed that it was a sad day for State, he also stood by Holder. "The kind of management I try to do is you let your managers manage,” Hargis said. "If they go in the direction you think is dead wrong, you need to deal with that.” Hargis didn't step in. "This situation seemed to be what it was,” Hargis said. "Obviously, I supported Mike. We both realized it just wasn't working and decided to go our separate ways. "The issue of wins and losses really didn't enter into it.” There you have it. I'm a big fan of Sean Sutton the person and was pulling hard for Sean Sutton the coach. But it wasn't working. And Mike Holder didn't believe it ever would.