SBD/August 27, 2013/Colleges

Cowboy Up: Bold Moves By AD Mike Holder Have Transformed Oklahoma State Football

Oklahoma State's deluxe facilities have helped alter its national perception
The "transformation" of the Oklahoma State Univ. football program, from the "deluxe facilities to competitive wages for coaches to the national perception, is remarkable," according to John Klein of the TULSA WORLD. OSU "has money," and, "finally, after so many years of neglect by OSU power brokers, the Cowboys are making it and spending it at a rate that rivals some of the biggest and most lucrative college athletic departments in the country." OSU, with about $87M of athletic department revenues, "would rank second in the Pac-12 or the ACC." OSU ranks "just ahead of schools like Nebraska, North Carolina, Washington and Minnesota." OSU AD Mike Holder said, "Who would have believed that 10 or 15 years ago. Who would have believed we would have Boone Pickens Stadium or the Sherman Smith indoor practice facility. Who would have believed the renovated and improved Gallagher-Iba Arena." Klein noted Holder "wasn't very popular a few years ago." He made "tough decisions, demanded more from alums who wanted more on the field, and transformed" the football program. Holder: "[OSU booster] Boone Pickens was afraid his huge gifts would discourage people from giving. What it did was encourage people to give more because they saw what was possible." But Klein notes the change "has not come without some ruffling of the feathers among the old guard at OSU." There was "much resistance in some circles to the push for increased ticket prices and athletic department giving." In addition to an expanded football program, a new tennis facility and track "will soon be completed in the athletic village." There also will be a "new baseball stadium along with improvements for soccer and equestrian fields" (TULSA WORLD, 8/26).
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