STILLWATER — Josh Holliday has been billed as the savior of Oklahoma State baseball before he's even coached a college game.
A lot to put on the shoulders of a first-year head coach still trying to adjust and adapt to his new job description.
“I'm nervous a little bit, to be honest with you,” Holliday said less than two weeks before his debut. “Excited about all the things that we've got …. It's just human nature. You're excited about when you arrive on (your) first job, yet nerve-racking at the same time. You don't want to mess anything up.”
Since his hiring, Holliday's been publicly vocal about his love for the Stillwater community and his alma mater. And that's part of the reason he has put so much pressure on himself to succeed.
“Any time you do something for the first time, there's no question there's those moments of self-doubt,” Holliday said. “But you have to trust your instincts and trust that you're prepared.”
Holliday's coaching debut comes Feb. 15 at New Mexico.
HURSH REVERTING BACK TO FORM
Fifteen months after Tommy John surgery, Jason Hursh feels stronger than ever.
And that's big news for an Oklahoma State team searching for an ace to fill the big shoes of Andrew Heaney.
“It's still early, but I hope (to be the ace),” Hursh said. “I feel really good. Worked really hard to get back and it feels really good.”
Hursh is a flamethrowing right-hander who came to Stillwater two years ago with plenty of expectations. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the sixth round out of high school.
But inconsistency affected his freshman season, and the elbow surgery thwarted his sophomore campaign. However, a strong summer — with reports of him hitting near triple-digits on the radar gun — have helped Hursh regain confidence.
“He's throwing the ball great,” Holliday said. “His off-speed pitches have improved. I really think he's becoming a confident player.”
ROB WALTON'S SON PART OF TEAM
OSU's hiring of Rob Walton as pitching coach was lauded by baseball minds around the country as one of the best (and most underrated) moves of the offseason.
He's a pitching guru and constant professional with big-time head-coaching experience.
But along with his priceless baseball knowledge, Walton brought along another gift for the Cowboys.
His son, Donnie Walton, had been committed to Oral Roberts (where Walton was head coach), but switched to OSU to join his father.
Donnie Walton recently had his knees scoped, but he is expected to recover for the season and potentially start at shortstop.
“He's a gamer,” Holliday said of Donnie. “Nice mindset to have, especially in the middle of the diamond where you have to have that control center, quarterback on the field. He brings a lot of positive intangible items to the club.”