John Klein: OSU's facilities part of Holder's grand vision
BY JOHN KLEIN Senior Sports Columnist
Sunday, June 26, 2011
6/26/11 at 5:35 AM
Go to John Klein's Blog Original Print Headline: Facilities part of a grand vision
KARSTEN CREEK, the dream of former Oklahoma State golf coach Mike Holder, foreshadowed the type of building boom that has transformed OSU's athletic department into a modern miracle.
From Gallagher Hall and Lewis Field to Gallagher-Iba Arena and Boone Pickens Stadium is a transition that nearly defies description or logic.
Of course, so does Karsten Creek, a world-class golf course and teaching facility that was carved out of heavily wooded hills west of Stillwater.
Holder, now OSU's athletic director, dreams big. He doesn't look at Oklahoma State and wonder how to get the Cowboys what they need. He looks at OSU and wonders how he can create the grandest possible venues and resources to create an incubator for championships.
"We want every sport here at OSU to have the same thing as the golf team," Holder said. "We want them to have the best of everything. We want them to have every opportunity to succeed.
"We want to eliminate every obstacle to winning championships and to have expectations to win championships."
Love him or hate him, and there doesn't seem to be much middle ground with him, Holder has gone about the herculean task of transforming OSU's athletic department into a national-championship level powerhouse in a variety of sports.
Oklahoma State won its 50th national championship (cross country) during the past school year. The Cowboys also finished third in men's golf, fourth in wrestling, fourth in equestrian, fifth in women's soccer, seventh in softball and were 13th in the final AP football poll.
The announcement last week that construction will begin on the Sherman E. Smith Training Center is just the latest of an athletic overhaul at OSU that is stunning to say the least.
The new indoor practice facility is being constructed along with three new football practice fields just north of Boone Pickens Stadium.
It will give OSU football facilities to rival any in the nation.
That's quite a change from the old so-called "rustoleum stadium" that was a liability for OSU football for decades.
"There's no question that the Sherman Smith Training Center will now give football everything they need," Holder said. "Football and basketball will now have all of the facilities they need to compete at the highest levels."
That's the Holder way. It may not be popular with a folks who believe OSU could do things cheaper and with less luxury.
But Holder has infused OSU boosters, and especially millionaires and billionaires, with a new spirit that believes if you are going to build it, then you should build it better than anybody.
That's what happened at Karsten Creek when Holder was golf coach. Now it is happening all over the athletic department. Why build a stadium or practice facility just to have one when you can build the best? There doesn't seem to be any small ideas any longer when it comes to OSU athletics. Bigger, grander and more spectacular seems to be the mantra.
"We have other sports just as needy and we're going to get to all of them just as quick as we can," Holder said.
It has been 10 years since the renovation of Gallagher-Iba Arena was completed.
That project, started and guided by former OSU athletic director Terry Don Phillips, was the first piece of what has become a complex puzzle of facilities to enhance Oklahoma State athletics.
The arena project allowed OSU to update and double the capacity of what many consider one of the top 10 basketball arenas in the country. It gives the Cowboys top-flight facilities for at least three sports (men's and women's basketball and wrestling) along with offices and academic facilities for all athletic programs.
Credit former OSU basketball coach Eddie Sutton and Phillips with having the idea and persistence to make Gallagher-Iba Arena a reality.
Without Phillips' drive to make it happen, and Sutton's basketball success to make it possible, there would have been no renovation.
Instead, Gallagher-Iba Arena was the first facility put in place in what is quickly becoming a phenomenal athletic complex.
"A lot of people, really a great number of people, have made this happen and continue to make this happen," Holder said.
But, in the beginning, it took the vision of Holder to believe it could happen.