Josh Holliday named OSU baseball coach

BY JOHN HELSLEY, Staff Writer, jhelsley@opubco.com Published: June 8, 2012

“That got me fired up to see how passionate he is about the program,” Saxon said. “I've always been an OSU fan, so it's pretty sweet hearing him talk like that.”

Saxon was one of two players in attendance, along with Trey Whaley, but said teammates were checking in for a report.

“I told them I'd call them back,” Saxon said. “I'm going to tell them I'm pumped up and they need to watch the press conference and hear him talk and hear the things he had to say, because it's good.”

Since leaving OSU when his father's staff was fired in 2003, Holliday has been building a reputation as one of the nation's hot young assistants and top recruiters, working at North Carolina State, Georgia Tech, Arizona State and Vanderbilt, where he spent the past three seasons.OSU insiders said the opening created much interest, with three former Cowboys who are current head coaches involved: Oral Roberts’ Rob Walton, New Mexico State's Rocky Ward and Penn State's Robbie Wine.Still, athletic director Mike Holder went with his own feel, rather than experience.

“You can't see it on a resume,” Holder said. “I think the qualities that it takes to really be a great coach, it's all intangibles. It's not about the Xs and Os and teaching and technique, as much as it is about what kind of person you are, what you stand for, your ability to get young men to buy into a vision and achieve a level they may not think is possible.

“I see those qualities in him. When I talk to him, I get excited, I get fired up. I'm very excited about what kind of head coach he will be. Yeah, it's a big step from being an assistant coach to head coach. But I think he's made of the right stuff.”

Even as Holliday was sent packing from the university in 2003, he said it was always his goal to return.

“I believe it's what I was born to do,” he said. “You can't change who you are. I'm a Cowboy. All I ever knew my whole life was Oklahoma State.

“I learned to hit left-handed because Robin Ventura hit left-handed. I tried to imitate every single batting stance of every single player for 26 years, including when I played. We are who we are.

“In the back of my heart, I thought: ‘You know what, if some day I go out and I better myself and grow and learn and absorb baseball and team building and do all the things that a great coach has to do, some day I can go back there and live out another one of my goals.' Sometimes, things are meant to be.”