Holliday glad to be home
BY ERIC BAILEY World Sports Writer
Saturday, June 09, 2012
6/09/12 at 5:50 AM
Related story: John E. Hoover: Holliday returns home to OSU.
STILLWATER - Josh Holliday's first word at his introductory news conference - "Wow" - summed up his feelings after being named Oklahoma State's 15th baseball coach on Friday.
The former OSU baseball standout said it took him only a few seconds to accept the job when offered earlier in the day by athletic director Mike Holder.
"I don't think it's hit me yet," Holliday said. "It's an honor and I'm humbled because I know what it means to lead a program. Especially this one."
Holliday, the 35-year-old son of longtime former Cowboys assistant and head coach Tom Holliday, held an emotional news conference that included several references to Stillwater, where he'd lived for much of his life.
"This is home and always has been," said Holliday, who added he moved to Stillwater when he was 10 months old. "To come back here and put this (OSU shirt) on, it feels like it fits again."
Holliday replaces Frank Anderson, who spent nine seasons as OSU's coach and was dismissed 10 days earlier.
Holliday's hire was on a fast track. The former Vanderbilt assistant said he wasn't contacted by OSU until Tuesday, the day after the Commodores were knocked out of an NCAA regional.
Hiring someone with Oklahoma State ties was important, Holder said.
"It wasn't an essential, but when you get candidates that are close, you are probably going to side with the Cowboy," Holder said. "They understand the culture and can speak with passion about it. It's a much more compelling story about recruiting."
Holliday is the first former OSU player to be named the program's head coach and plans to use that to his advantage.
"Recruiting to Oklahoma State will be recruiting from the heart," he said. "Oklahoma State, to me, changed my life. To talk about that to people will be very easy and something I can do with a tremendous amount of joy."
Holliday, a Stillwater High School graduate, can be found all over OSU's record book. He ranks in the program's top five on career lists for games played, at-bats, runs, hits, doubles and RBIs.
Oufielder Saulyer Saxon was ready to hit the diamond shortly after watching his new coach's news conference.
"Seeing his passion for the program got me fired up," Saxson said.
Added teammate Trey Whaley: "It's huge for the program (that Holliday is a former OSU player) because he knows exactly the situation we'll be in. He knows our thoughts and feelings."
Holliday said the first order of business is getting to know the current team. Then it is rebuilding the tradition that he cut his teeth on, from the days of Pete Incaviglia and Robin Ventura.
"I want to get better every day," Holliday said. "A great fall is a by-product of a great summer, and a great fall leads to a great winter and a great spring.
"I believe in the process. I'm not concerned about the outcome because if you get ahead of yourself, you'll lose the day. I'm going to attack each day."
Holliday played for the Cowboys between 1996-99 and was inducted into the school's Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003.
After two seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays organization, Holliday has been an assistant coach at OSU (2001-03), North Carolina State (2004), Georgia Tech (2005-07), Arizona State (2009) and, most recently, Vanderbilt (2010-12).
"He's the best of the very best," Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin said. "He has rare qualities, is very smart but humble and is a tremendous teacher."
Eric Bailey 918-581-8391
Josh Holliday signs a baseball for Jo Martindale after a news conference at Oklahoma State to introduce him as the school's new baseball coach Friday in Stillwater. NATE BILLINGS/The Oklahoman